Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tropical Tuesday: Zip Lining the Dominican Mountains

I wish that I had recapped my Punta Cana trip a little sooner than now, because some of the details are getting a little fuzzy.

While we were away, we knew that we wanted to do a few excursions. I have always wanted to zipline, and luckily, my brother also wanted in on the experience. We chose a destination that was based on safety, but unfortunately, it was over an hour away in the mountains of the DR. We woke up early (no one should ever have to set an alarm on vacation), and quickly ate a tiny breakfast and were in our hotel lobby by 8am.

Our open air (scary) van picked us up right on time, and along with a few other groups, we were off to the mountains! I wish that I had taken a picture of this van, because I thought I would fall out the side at any minute. After a brief (10 minute) ride through the city, we took off on bumpy, uneven roads up the mountain. It was a crazy ride, but I think I can speak for both my brother and I when I say that I learned a TON. Our tour guide in the van taught us all about the history of the small towns we drove through, what kinds of crops they grew, and bragging about how proud these people are of what they have.

The mountain that we zip lined. It is the 3rd highest peak in the country!

Small towns throughout our mountain climb.

Typical homes and restaurants.

When we finally arrived at the (for lack of better word) shack where all of the zip lines started. 
Before getting strapped into our gear, we hit the bathroom where I was greeted by the biggest spider I had ever seen in my life. There was major hair, and theres a good chance that it had more than 8 legs. I have never peed so fast in my entire life.


We got a mini tutorial of the line map, and were strapped in. The whole staff was upbeat, fun, energetic, and entertaining as we all snapped our harnesses and tightened our helmets. They were generous enough to offer a fairly cheap photography service ($8 p/p) which guaranteed 20+ pictures throughout the whole experience. Since I didn't want to risk taking my camera with me, I thought this was a great deal!




It. Was. Hot.
Literally I was sweating just getting into all the gear! We got a short demonstration on how to safely travel from platform to platform, as well as the braking system.


Then, we were off. We didn't waste a single second before getting strapped in and gliding off that platform. The scenery was incredible, and zipping through the mountains was definitely an experience I will never forget. I mentioned to my brother that I wish we had those sketchy cameras that they had on the show Fear Factor (except facing out) so that we could record what we were seeing. The forest was so green and rich. Looking out over the various plantations was just so cool. I seriously can't get over it.





After a few miles of zip lines, and hiking (and sweating...), we were back at the shack ready to shed this equipment and head back to the resort. I was exhausted, thirsty (and looking back shouldn't have even drank the little bit of water that I did that day...), and starving. We hopped back on the bus for the crazy ride down the mountain with our amazing tour guide. The whole ride back he regaled us with stories about his family. We learned all about how each village makes a specific kind of (amazing) chocolate, which we got to taste (and I regret not buying an entire suitcase full), as well as the Mamajuana that the Dominicans use as a remedy for everything.

via

This stuff looked awful, and I was terrified to try it, but everyone else on the bus just loved it. I'm not sure what the spices/tea is on the inside, but the liquid is 1 "finger" honey, 2 "fingers" red wine sangria, and the rest rum. Sounds like a hangover waiting to happen, but apparently they drink this stuff like water. Our tour guide even took orders and picked up some sketchy packages on the side of the road on the way back to the resort. The driver didn't even come to a complete stop when we got there, so I know that there was definitely some weird stuff going on. Nonetheless, I survived and made it back to the resort safely.

Once we returned, we promptly stuffed our faces with food, and headed to the pool for a long nap.
It was quite the day, and I would do it again in a heart beat!