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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 08:14

Thrills and Chills - Selling Adventure in the Caribbean

Written by  Melanie Reffes

Selling a vacay in the sun is more these days than booking a room on a sandy beach. Getting off the sun lounger to explore the island away from the resort is gaining popularity amongst not only active travelers, but also with those who want more from a holiday than a few extra pounds and another recipe for a rum cocktail. From zip-lining in Jamaica to traversing Aruba on a Harley, the Caribbean is a powerhouse of adrenaline-charged thrills and chills for travelers of all ages and budgets. 

 

Up, Up and Away 

Nothing says adventure faster than zip-lining high above the iconic Pitons in St. Lucia. Just a year old and already a smashing success, Soufriere Hotwire Rides (www.stluciaziplining.com) are the island’s newest zip line experience. Starting from the Morne Coubaril Estate, the one-hour adventure whisks thrill seekers under the Petit Piton for aerial views of the historic town of Soufriere and the Caribbean Sea. Eight zip cables propel travelers through the estate at speeds of up to thirty miles per hour. 

Eco-astute and a whole lotta fun, Mystic Mountain (www.rainforestadventure.com) is the heart and soul of the Jamaican rainforest with bobsled rides, canopy zip lines and infinity edge pool. High above sea level, the popular attraction also invites with a Lookout Tower for panoramic vistas of the island. For the romance crowd, sky-high weddings are taking off with the “I Do at 700 Feet” ceremony that woos daring couples as they get hitched while flying high through the treetops on the Sky Explorer or on the green lawn atop Mystic Mountain. Weddings include photographs of the high-octane ceremony and two witnesses if you forgot to bring them with you or the ones you have are afraid of heights. 

For clients who prefer their thrills with two feet planted on the ground, there’s nowhere else in the Caribbean where you can sip a frosty Heineken while snapping photos of a jumbo jet soaring overhead. At the end of the airport runaway in St. Maarten and next to the perennially popular Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, the Sunset Bar and Grill (www.sunsetsxm.com)is a big hit with aviation fans that come to watch the planes take-off and land from a sandy perch on Maho Beach. Radio transmissions between the control tower and the pilots are broadcast so tourists know exactly when to take photos of the giant planes. “With our unique location, friendly staff and great food, Sunset Bar does its best to capture the true meaning of sea, sand, sun, fun and now airplanes,” said Melissa Peterson, manager. 

Not far from where Columbus landed more than five hundred years ago, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios (www.sunsetresortsjamaica.com) is a watery world of fun with five swimming pools and a gigantic waterslide that is mega-fun for the entire family. All-inclusive with 730 rooms, the iconic resort with the twin lemon yellow towers is also full of thrills for grown-ups with funky seaside bars and a spirited disco that gets down till the wee hours. “This is an authentic Jamaican experience for our guests,“ said Clifton Reader, general manager. “Excitement for the kids is our speciality, relaxation for the adults is our pleasure.” 

Back Roads & Private Isles

For travel through December 16, the aptly named “Two Wheel” package at the Westin Resort in Aruba (www.westinaruba.com) is for adventurers who want to tour the island on the back of a XL1200 Harley motorcycle. Starting at $199 per night, per room, the five-night package tempts with an ocean view room, discounts on Harley memorabilia, rate reductions on bike rentals and food and beverage credits. General Manager Richard Roy joins his biker guests once a month on his XL 1200 Sportster Harley, or bikers can opt for a four-hour guided tour offered daily. For riders who did not pack their own bike, the resort’s HOG, or Harley Owners Group, offers discounts on motorcycle rentals from the Big Twin Aruba Harley-Davidson dealership. “Aruba has a perfect climate year-round to go on a journey on its scenic roads and along its powder white-sandy beaches,“ said Humphrey Hardeveld, owner of Big Twin. “Over the last few years, tourists from all over the world have asked about renting Harleys which triggered us to start this popular rental program.“

Get groovy with the iguanas at the Renaissance Aruba Resort’s private island (www.marriott.com). Aptly called Iguana Beach, the resort shuttles guests to the sandy sliver to kayak, snorkel and yes, cavort with the critters that roam freely and are delighted to be fed by curious tourists. 

 
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