Swinging Through the Jungle

Send clients on a canopy tour through the rainforest

By: Suzie Rodriguez

The canopy guide, finished with her review of safety procedures and equipment, gazed slowly around at our group. “Who’s up first?” she asked. I raised my hand, fueled by a heady mixture of excitement and dread.

I was soon perched at the edge of a wooden platform snuggled high in a giant fig tree. Far below, the lush rainforest was pierced right down the middle by the Great River, which separates Jamaica’s St. James and Hanover parishes. My body, hard-hatted and encased in a multi-strapped harness, was securely clipped to a steel cable running 360 feet across the river to another platform.

Ignoring a momentary tug of fear, I took a deep breath and jumped and found myself cruising through the canopy. Cable speeds can reach 35 miles per hour, and even the longest traverse takes only seconds. For 11 very long seconds I was soaring through the sky.

And then it was time to land. The cable’s angling is designed to slow you down as you approach a stopping point. The guide, who had preceded me, grabbed my harness and pulled me in. One of her assistants unhooked me from the cable. Euphoric but weak-kneed, I stumbled to the rear of the platform and turned to watch the others come soaring in for their own triumphant landings.

When sending adventurous clients to Jamaica, book them on a Canopy Tour. This relatively new activity offers a safe yet thrilling trip through the trees.

The experience, which takes about two hours, consists of nine separate traverses over rainforest and river. Your clients will travel almost a mile on cables, reaching heights of up to 330 feet. Some uphill trail walking is involved, so clients must be in moderately good condition. The terrain is rich with tropical growth and wildlife, although clients will likely hear rather than see the jungle’s inhabitants. Experienced guides supervise each tour and help participants manipulate the high-tech safety traverse system.

No previous experience is needed for this adventure, and children over the age of 10 are welcome. But regardless of age, it’s best to have mosquito repellent on hand while in the jungle.


Jamaica offers many other commissionable outdoor adventures. Prices below include pickup at the client’s hotel:

Horseback Riding: Hooves offers three diverse guided horseback tours (beach, rainforest, and the steeped-
in-history “bush doctor” rides). Guides are well versed on the local fauna, flora, folklore and history.
Ride prices range from $55-$100 per person.
Commission: 20 percent
(Hooves suggest agents take the 20 percent as a deposit when making the booking. The balance will be collected at the stables.)

Offshore Fishing: The Salty Angler offers Jamaica’s only fly and light-tackle catch-and-release fishing. Three boats are fully outfitted for coastal, estuary, lagoon and open water (tarpon, snook, barracuda, bone fish, mahi-mahi and more).
Families and children are welcome. Owner Salty Vic, a transplanted American, will arrange custom trips.
Charter prices range from $325 for a half-day to $425 for a full day. Deep discounts are available for multiple days.
Commission: 20 percent

Downhill Bicycling: Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours takes clients on a thrilling day-long downhill ride. Starting at 5,600 feet up in the Jamaican Blue Mountains, renowned coffee-growing territory, the ride descends through lush mountain greenery and flowers, past waterfalls and over bridges.
A waterfall swim and restaurant lunch are included in the price.
Prices are $93 for adults; $65 for children. Commission: 20 percent


Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours
Chukka runs canopy tours in two different locations in Jamaica one close to Montego Bay and the other near Ocho Rios.

Price for each location: $67 adults, $65 children.
Commission: 20 percent
Commissions not available at hotels where Chukka has long-term contracts, including Sandals, Beaches and Superclubs.