Head for heights | Round Trip

There’s nothing like the thrill of a higher perspective, far above the ground — from ziplining to rock-climbing to floating in a hot-air balloon. Get ready to soar

  • Ziplining, Rockland Estate, Sint Maarten. Photo courtesy Rainforest Adventure St Maarten
  • Hot air ballooning, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Photo by Carlos Gotay / Getty
  • Rock-climbing, Viñales Valley, Cuba. Photo by Aurora Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
  • Microlighting, east coast, Barbados. Photo by Steve Grimshaw courtesy Airsportsbarbados
  • Cliff-diving, Negril, Jamaica. Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Ziplining, Rockland Estate, Sint Maarten

In November 2017, while Sint Maarten was still rebuilding after the infliction of Hurricane Irma, the Dutch territory’s newest tourist attraction managed to open on schedule. In the hills just northwest of Philipsburg, Rockland Estate is a new eco-adventure park, boasting the world’s steepest zipline. Dubbed the Flying Dutchman, dropping 1,050 feet from the tip of Sentry Hill, it’s not for the faint of heart. Visit www.rainforestadventure.com/pages/stmaarten for more information.

Hot air ballooning, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

They say there’s no other sensation like floating above the earth in a hot-air balloon, gently steered by the breeze. And there’s no better place to experience it than the Dominican Republic’s eastern resort town of Punta Cana. The hour-long sunrise ride over canefields and gentle hills offers panoramic views, a bird’s-eye perspective — and ends with a Champagne breakfast, to ease the return to solid ground.

Rock-climbing, Viñales Valley, Cuba

The Viñales Valley in Cuba’s western province of Pinar del Río is famous for its mogotes, sheer-sided limestone hills emerging abruptly from the valley floor like islands. They form a unique ecosystem, home to rare flora and fauna — and they’re a magnet for rock-climbers, drawn to Viñales’s spectacular cliffs and overhangs and equally spectacular views.

Microlighting, east coast, Barbados

It’s like flying in a hang glider with an engine. Microlight aircraft take off and touch down like any other plane, but give you the sensation of soaring like a bird, the wind in your face, the terrestrial world unfolding far below. Airsports Barbados’s dramatic tours depart from Grantley Adams International Airport, heading up the island’s east coast — over cliffs and bays, villages and hills. Don’t forget your camera: you’ll want to preserve the memory of these views for a lifetime. Visit www.facebook.com/airsportsbarbados for more information.

Cliff-diving, Negril, Jamaica

Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, at Jamaica’s western tip, is often ranked one of the world’s best. It’s a favourite of well-heeled jetsetters and spring-breakers alike. When lounging on the beach loses its thrill, they head down to the cliffs of West End, equally famous for sunset-watching and cliff-jumping. Rick’s Café may be the best known spot, with its thirty-five-foot cliff towering above glimmering turquoise water. For some daredevils, that’s not nearly high enough — hence the makeshift diving platform set in a treetop.

MORE LIKE THIS:   Remembering Independence 1962 in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago