A Puerto Rican ATV Adventure

blackoutdoors_puertorico

Most folks incorporate some of their favorite activities into bachelor and bachelorette parties to fill the time between all of the partying. So it should be no surprise that I chose to spend some time outdoors during my Bachelor Party Weekend this July in Puerto Rico.

The squad hopped into a crammed 15 passenger van and drove about an hour from Isla Verde to the northern edge of El Yunque National Forest. This area was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria last year, but it's already showing signs of recovery. Swaths of land where trees once stood are now cleared as nature begins to repair itself with new growth.

We arrived at Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park around 4:00 pm, in preparation for our one hour ATV tour, starting at 4:30. In addition to ATV tours, they offer horseback riding, hay rides, and a go-kart track to get your adrenaline pumping. We checked in, filled out waivers, and hung around taking pictures for a while before heading out.

Squad Goals? Squad goals. Bandannas are  always  a good idea for ATV rides.

Squad Goals? Squad goals. Bandannas are always a good idea for ATV rides.

For those of you who've ridden ATVs before, this tour is definitely on the beginner side. The only other excursions I've been on were in the wide open sand dunes outside of Las Vegas. You could pretty much drive as fast as you wanted and venture around a bit - not the case at Carabali. From beginning to end, you ride in a single file line and maybe go 15-20mph max. It makes total sense - the path is a bit rugged and very dusty. This kind of route didn't allow for high speeds or reckless behavior. Our group of 15 was split in 3, so we still had the opportunity to open up the throttle on straightaways. The bursts were short lived but satisfying, nonetheless.

Now that we've got the thrill seeking disclaimer out of the way, we can focus on the natural beauty encountered on the tour. The Carabali ranch is nestled on the flanks of the Sierra de Luqillo Mountains with lush rainforest vegetation all around. The Rio Mameyes and its tributaries wind through the land, adding to the beautiful landscape and making for a few fun crossings. 

Along the route, we made a couple stops, the first being a stunning overlook at the front of the Luquillo Mountains. Here you could really gain an appreciation for the vastness of the land and a taste of what the rainforest might feel like.

Stop 1: Looking south toward the Sierra Luquillo Mountains and El Yunque National Forest

Stop 1: Looking south toward the Sierra Luquillo Mountains and El Yunque National Forest

The next stop was on the banks of the Mameyes River, where we hopped off and got some cool pictures. It was nice to wander away from the group a bit and take in the calmness of the river and the clean mountain air. Part of my affinity towards the outdoors is being able to take in the moments of solitude and peace in the midst of Mother Nature and all of her beauty.

Despite the destruction Puerto Rico experienced with Hurricane Maria, the area still holds a pristine natural feeling. Like the country itself, I felt a spirit of rejuvenation come over myself at the river.

When your tour guide is also a creative, you get panoramas like this -- FUEGO

When your tour guide is also a creative, you get panoramas like this -- FUEGO

Overall, the ATV excursion was exactly what I needed it to be: a chance to relax and admire the land, while still getting a bit of an adrenaline rush. Our experience with the staff, from the attendants who checked us in, to the guides on our tour, was nothing short of excellent. You can tell they give special attention to safety without compromising the experience of their customers. We would highly recommend a trip to Carabali!

Tips:

  • Bring/buy a bandanna and glasses/goggles to keep dust out of your face and eyes
  • For a chance to go swimming, book the two hour tour & bring a swimsuit
  • Book in advance if possible - it will save some time at the check-in
  • Make sure your party brings drivers license/ID to the park
  • Visit http://www.carabalirainforestpark.com/ for more info!