Travel & Places Mexico

Rollercoaster Zip-Line at Hidden Worlds, Tulum

Hidden Worlds, an adventure park near Tulum, on the Yucatan Peninsula, is a terrific day out for the family that has always peddled in soft adventure experiences like gentle "sky-cycling" through the jungle and zip-lining into crystal-clear cenotes. That is, until the park introduced a new feature in April 2010 called “The Avatar,” billed as the world’s first rollercoaster zip-line.

My feeling, on being encouraged to try the ride out, was that there’s a good reason no one has ever come up with a rollercoaster zip-line before: it’s insane.

In the interests of research, however, I strapped on a helmet and a harness and walked to the top of a small wooden tower, mouth dry and heart hammering. (Did I mention I really dislike rollercoasters?)

I was instructed to hold onto a bar attached to the cable, which I could see swooped off worryingly out of sight after a precipitous dip towards the forest floor. The guide gave me a little push and off I went, straight downhill, gathering speed and…OK, screaming…as the cable plunged me mercilessly up and down. It was very much like being on a rollercoaster, only without the security of a seat.

I had just enough presence of mind to lift my legs up, as I’d been instructed, before coming to another downhill stretch that appeared to be encased in black plastic squirted with jets of water. Abruptly, the jungle disappeared and I was inside a waterslide. Seconds later, I shot out – yes, still screaming – into a huge cavern filled with water, still tearing along the cable, until I landed with a huge splash in the cenote below.

That’s the Avatar Rollercoaster Zipline. The entire experience lasts probably 40 seconds but the combination of exhilaration and terror certainly makes it feel longer.  How on earth did I get talked into going back for a second try?

Hidden Worlds website

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