As part of a fun filled vacation to Puerto Vallarta we signed up for an ATV and Zipline tour with Wild Trek Adventures through Puerto Vallarta Tours. We had a blast driving powerful ATVs up the Sierra Madre mountains on a tight twisting dirt road through dense jungle to Rancho Las Vegas for a zipline tour, a good lunch, and several shots of excellent Tequila!
We arrived at Wild Trek Adventures, two minutes from the Puerto Vallarta Airport, and were warmly greeted (even though we were 20 minutes late) by a friendly staff who very efficiently got us outfitted with a helmet, goggles, and a scarf to keep the dust out our ears, mouth, and nose.
We met our two guides, Andy and Ricky who gave us a short driving lesson and some hand signals to remember - slow down, left turn, go to fourth gear, hold on, speed up, etc. The four of us jumped on our two ATVs and set off for an interesting ride down the cobblestone back streets of Puerto Vallarta headed toward a climb up a narrow dirt road up thousands of feet into the the Sierra Madre mountains.
The cobblestone road through town was paved but littered with pot holes we needed to avoid as we passed churches, some plantations, and a good looking golf course. And then the fun started as we hit a narrow bumpy dirt road and started a steeper climb up the mountain road that twisted and turned through the jungle and subtropical rain forest. We were bringing up the rear (slow pokes!) and I quickly realized why we all had scarves - all of us except for the guide in the lead were enveloped in dust as we sped up the mountain. Ricky set a very fast pace and Andy was at the rear of our 4 ATVs to made sure no one fell behind.
After thirty five minutes or so, Ricky pulled over to the side of the road and said dismount and come with me. We had climbed over 4000 feet and stopped for a jaw-dropping panoramic view of Puerto Vallarta and the blue waters of Banderas Bay. What a view - even though it was a little overcast! Five minutes later we were back on the ATVs and winding up the mountain roads through dense jungle, deep valleys, and cascading streams. We drove fast through deep puddles of water on the trail, past ranchers herding cows, and close to steep ravines off one side of the trail. On a couple of occasions the cows were on a narrow section of the road and they looked disgusted with us - crazy gringos on loud noisy machines disturbing their grazing and peace and quiet.
It wasn't long before we arrived at Rancho Las Vegas, brushed off some of the dust, and began our 11 station zipline tour. After getting fitted with gloves, a helmet, and a zipline harness we got in a RZR (a four seat ATV) for a quick couple minute ride to the start of the tour, where we got instructions on how to zip, brake to slow down, and get on and off the zipline.
We walked up a short hill to first zip line named Chico (which means boy in Spanish) to fly across the river on this 164' zipline that is 32' above the ground. Each of the 11 zip lines have names:
All of the ziplines were fun and scenic and they ranged from 164' to 2362' with a couple over 1000'. You flew fast from 32' to 492' above the ground - some seemed a lot farther off the ground than that! We flew across valleys, over the roaring river three times, and through the trees. Except for one, all of the hikes between zip line platforms were a minute or two and a relatively easy walk.
The zip line staff was great - funny, helpful, and out to make sure we had a great time. They always had a smile on their face and were very efficient at minimizing the wait time to get us started on each zip line. A fun zip line tour.
The last zip line (Sobrevivi) took us across the river to Rancho Las Vegas - a really cool setting just above the river and home to a very good restaurant with fresh, pleasant Mexican food including their famous prawns. The four of us enjoyed a margarita and some cold beer plus a huge family platter with chicken and fajita meat with onions and peppers, rice, quesadilla, sausage, beans, dips, flour tortillas, and more. We were all starving but couldn't eat everything that we were served.
After lunch we learned about local Tequila and how it's made and best of all got to sample several different Tequilas - all of which were a pleasant surprise with no burn as it went down and some unique flavors. Of course we made our guides show us how to take shots - they seemed to know what they were doing and enjoyed it, what a tough job! If I didn't have to drive back down that winding dirt road I would have had several more free samples! I wanted to take a few bottles home but my suitcase barely had room for one more sock. If we had more time I would have loved another margarita, a short nap in the hammock, a quick swim in the river, and a walk along its bank.
The drive back was fast, bumpy, scenic, dusty, and fun! What a unique perspective going down the mountain - we got a very different view of the fauna, streams, jungle, and rear end of several cows. We saw ranchers tending their herds, graveyards, a couple churches, local homes, and more.
Bottom line - a fun trip and well worth the money. Our thanks go out to Andy and Ricky for making this a fun and exciting tour.
Return to our Puerto Vallarta Vacation article.