Roatan, Honduras: a Zip-line Rush

Julie Royce's picture

Plopped in the Caribbean is a tiny little island, 5 miles by 37.  Roatan calls travelers to its shores to experience snorkeling, diving, deep-sea fishing and a wide array of other nautical adventures. The island thrives on tourism.

 

Roatan, Honduras

Welcomed to Roatan 

 

Port of Roatan

Port of Roatan 

 

Roatan Cemetery

Roatan Cemetery

 

 

     
For me, Roatan remains the highlight of our Central American cruise.  Was it outlandishly beautiful? Yes, but that wasn’t it.  Was the shopping better than anywhere else we stopped?  I wouldn’t know - I didn’t buy a thing. Did we meet locals who left an indelible impression?  The folks we met were as warm as the water, but that wasn’t it either.  I can sum up my Roatan experience as monkeying around and zip-lining.

 

 

View from Halfway up the Mountain on the way to our Zip Line Adventure

View from Halfway up the Mountain on the way to our Zip Line Adventure 

 

 

   
A week before our cruise began, I was headed to San Francisco for the day and said to my husband, “Why don’t you go online and decide what we’ll do in Roatan.”  When I got home that evening he announced he had signed us up for zip-lining. I’m as phobic about heights (actually edges) as I am of drowning, so you might think that a loving husband wouldn’t have set me up for such a challenge.  He knew that on another vacation I got to the top of the playing field at Chichen Itza, looked down, became nearly paralyzed with fear, gave a total stranger my purse so both of my hands were free, and sitting on my butt, inched down one step at a time. Once my spouse signed us up, I had no option but to develop the extra dose of courage that would let me plunge off a platform and glide through the rainforest.
   

 

The brochure referred to zip-lining as “moderately strenuous activity,” and other than that short blurb I had little idea what to expect.  As I later discovered, the exertion part is climbing the hill or mountain.  The jeeps only go so far.  For the remaining climb you rely on your feet.  We arrived at the top, panting and gasping.  Ahead of us was a woman I’ll discreetly call middle-aged (on the assumption you can live to be 120).  She tiptoed to the edge of the platform, and then stepped back again.  She was strapped into her harness tighter than Lady Gaga’s bustiers, but she kept crying, “I can’t just jump into nothing.”

 

On Our Way to Next Zip Line Station

On Our Way to Next Zip Line Station   

 

The guide was encouraging.  I thought the woman was being a real sissy until it was my turn. I put on a stoic face. If I was going to die, I might as well keep the moaning and complaining to myself. I walked to the edge of the first platform and fell into open space.  I was hooked, literally and figuratively.  What a feeling to float over the jungle from one platform to the next.  I’d have gladly spent my remaining vacation days chasing the adrenalin surge.

 

 I Did It! I Did It!  I Did It!

 I Did It! I Did It!  I Did It!

 

 

 

 

But the day wasn’t over; I had one more surprise awaiting me when we arrived back at the bottom of the hill.  Our guide had a pen full of pet monkeys, and they were the friendliest little guys I’d ever seen.  I fed a baby, cuddled a youngster, and embraced a whole family.  I hated to leave them behind, but realized that smuggling one back in my suitcase may land me in serious trouble.  Plus our room was too small for a third body. 

 

 

 

Julie Albrecht Royce, Travel Adventures Editor, is the author of Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast and Traveling Michigan's Thumb, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She writes a monthly column for Wandering Educators.

 

 

Feature photo: Never Felt So Popular

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Bob and Julie Royce.

 

 

 

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