How does speed boating over the ocean, singing along to the blasting music while on an adventurous 4×4 off-road expedition, riding mules up a mountain, going on zip-line after zip-line over the jungle below, rappelling down a waterfall, and sliding down the longest slide in Mexico sound? Six hours of pure action and adventure had us scrambling to sign up.
If you’re going to Puerto Vallarta anytime soon (which is totally and completely beg you to do so), signing up for a couple tours through Vallarta Adventures will be entirely worth your time and money. We did the “Outdoor Adventure” last week and it couldn’t have been a better experience! Because we booked online here, we got 15% off the original $109 USD price of this tour and it ended up costing us each around $92 USD- which is ahhhmazing for not only how much you get to experience, but the incredible customer service and tour guides of this company.
We left from Maritime Terminal Marina on a speed boat and cruised across the ocean to the island where all of our adventures took place. After docking on the beautiful water and finally shutting my jaw from the awe-inspiring beauty of the place (see photo above), our group headed up to the 4×4 Mercedes Benz Unibogs and off-road experience that awaited us. We successfully fit 15 people in the back of this things and sang our way through the winding dirt roads to the Vallarta Adventures camp. After a short briefing, all fifteen of us changed into the rash guards we were given, put on our tough bandanas, topped off with a glamorous helmet and strapped on our zip-line and rappelling equipment.
My heart broke when they informed us that we were unable to take our Go-Pros, phones, and other cameras, but I guess it made the experience better. What was our first activity on the island? Mule rides! The tour guides joked that they would match us each up with a mule based on similar size and personality. Because I’m only 5’4″, my mule was kind of dinky, but as our journey went on, I found similarities in our personality as well. Aside from very often stopping on the side of the trail to munch on leafy snacks and slowing down to almost stagnant speeds when we had to go up hills, whenever a bigger or faster mule tried to pass us, she would start running and get in their way! Who do these mules think they are to try to pass us, right? She did her best the whole trip and I was proud of her for completing the expedition. Get this though… the mule in the front of our line got spooked by a bird in the leaves, bucked the guy riding him off his back, and start running off– which of course made all of the other mules scared and start running back to the way we came and from this small stampede of frightened mules, I thought we were all goners. Luckily my little mule listened to me when I pulled on her reigns and I didn’t die. Phew.
WOOO-HOOO, zip-line time! When we went to Las Grutas de Tolantongo back in January, we had the sweet opportunity to zip-line and the first couple of zip-lines here in Puerto Vallarta were just like those from before. However, as the tour went on the zip-line experience got even cooler. There was one zip-line where you got to go upside down and another one where you rode a “surf board” with a friend as you zoomed across the cable. There were about seven or eight cables throughout the tour and all of them were so exhilarating.
After a few zip-lines, we got to the waterfalls where rappelling took place. For me this was the scariest and most difficult part of the tour. The bottoms of my shoes kept slipping and I swayed back and forth desperately grasping the chord I was holding so I wouldn’t face plant into the side of the wet rock. After what seemed like forever, I ever-so graciously made my landing into the freezing cold water and moved along to the next section in my soaking wet converse.
Just when I thought the rappelling was over, we hiked some rocks and crossed a few shaky bridges to get to the “rappelling free fall”. For a moment I thought this sounded worse than the waterfall rappelling but then I realized there was no rock for me to smack into so I decided I’d like this one better. Picture a platform in the air with a long pair of cables dangling straight down to the Earth below. Luckily my cables were close enough to the tour guide that allowed him to pull me to dry safety on a rock after I got toward the bottom. Some of my friends weren’t so lucky on the other set of cables, as their tour guide dropped them straight into the freezing water following their descent.
Following zip-lines and rappelling was finally the slide. The longest water slide in Mexico waited for us above as we all replaced our zip-line and rappelling equipment with elbow pads and helmets (why?!?! do I need elbow pads and a helmet to go down this thing?!). It’s go-time. I sat on a mat, tucked it in between my legs, and allowed gravity to take me. This was one of those slides that I have always tried to completely avoid at water parks– the kind where you can barely breathe and open your eyes without getting water sprayed into your lungs and eye balls. I’d still say it was fun and I’d probably go again if I had the chance. At the end, there were fruit platters and juice jugs for our snacking pleasure.
The five tour guides and our group walked back to base camp to retrieve our items, change out of our wet clothes and sopping tennis shoes and stopped by the photo center to take a look back on the adventures we just took part in. What a trip! Thank God there was free chips and salsa available while we waited for our 4×4 to take us on another off-road journey back to our boat because after that tour, our stomachs were practically eating themselves.
This “Outdoor Adventure” is the #1 Tour in Mexico and featured on The Travel Channel and all for good reason!
My few tips if you go on this tour:
- Wear water shoes (Or Chacos/Tevas). I brought my Chacos but was stupid and didn’t use them for the actual tour and therefore got my white converse soaking wet…. then changed into the Chacos after the tour. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but learn from this mistake that shouldn’t have even been a mistake in the first place.
- Wear your swim suit for the tour and bring clothes to change into after. You’ll get a rash guard to put over your swim suit when the tour begins.
- Budget for buying pictures. Because you can’t take a phone or camera, you can’t capture and save any of these sweet memories on your own! Since it”s a tour, it’s obviously going to be overpriced but worth it because you get to keep these pictures forever.
After the exciting 4×4 vehicle took us back to the dock, our group boarded the speedboat and we were all whisked away back to Puerto Vallarta!