// © 2014 Phillip Novoa
What do Kanye West, Tom Cruise and I have in common? We all ziplined at Mi Chaparrita in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
I can’t speak for my celebrity amigos, but I have ziplined a number of times throughout the Caribbean, and the experience in Riviera Nayarit was my favorite for several reasons. The ziplines themselves are varied enough to keep the experience challenging. If participants have the nerve, they can even zipline upside down. Visitors are encouraged to try new things, such as kicking off of a tree trunk in order to go into an exhilarating spin that lasts the length of the line. According to the staff, Tom Cruise was a real daredevil on the ziplines — executing moves worthy of one of his “Mission Impossible” stunts.
Another positive factor at Mi Chaparrita is one you can’t buy or install: the sense of humor of the staff. They are personable and entertaining, and they keep the mood light.
Mi Chaparrita also offers ATV excursions from a starting point in the surf town of Sayulita, only a quick ride from the company’s ziplining base in the hills above the town. The prospect of roaring through the woods on an ATV was a bit daunting, so I kept things simple by opting for an automatic transmission instead of a manual.
After a brief introduction to the ATV’s brakes, throttle and gears, we were off through the streets of Sayulita, maneuvering past pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. We left the street for an off-road trail and were soon motoring through a boulder-strewn stream bed. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, although I reminded myself that this is what travel is all about — new challenges and experiences.
Luckily, I was directly behind our tour leader’s vehicle the whole time so I was able to see how he picked his route past one rough patch after another. I strongly recommend this position in the pack for novices.
Midway through the ride, we were rewarded with a break to enjoy a spectacular view from a bluff overlooking the ocean. This was a great opportunity to pose on our ATVs with our kerchiefs over our faces, like modern-day banditos.
We finished the excursion with a ride down to the beach and a bumpy ride back to town, which had me balancing precariously on two wheels at one point.
I recommend doing these activities before lunch — after the adrenaline rush of ziplining and charging around on an ATV, travelers will most likely be in the mood for an ice-cold cerveza at one of Sayulita’s beachfront restaurants.