Okay, I will admit it now. I was absolutely terrified.
I was about to zip-line over the jungle near Cancun, repel down the side of a tower, and swim in an underground river cave. It was part of the “Mayan Xtreme” excursion that allows everyday people to be Indiana Jones for a day.
The started first with the zip line. For the initiated, zip lining is a growing trend in adventure tourism that involves participants being secured to a harness that is attached to a wire. In a few seconds, riders descend from one tower to another or to the ground.
For me, the hardest part was the fear as I climbed to the top of the first tower. I held on tight to one of the two harness ropes and closed my eyes for a few seconds when it started. After that first fall, my fear evaporated. The other two taller towers were a piece of cake. I even opted to repeat all three towers again, with my eyes open and I was even high-fiving the tree branches as I went down.
But then, for the next challenge, repelling down the side of a tower. After zip-lining, I was feeling a little cocky. But that tower scared me. It started with a group instruction. We were to lower ourselves from the tower to the ground below using a rope. The reassuring part is that two other safety ropes were being used, so that even if someone passed out, the employees could safely lower the amateur adventurers to the ground.
We were told we would have to first lean backwards over the side of the tower and don’t look down. Then we were to walk down” the three steps on the side of the tower before stepping off and dangling from the tower and lowering ourselves to the ground below. That was very scary at first, but it quickly became very easy. Especially when the guide told me to just put my toes on the top of the edge of the tower and lean back. But I finished ready to scale down the side of Mount Rushmore.
The last challenge in the Mayan Extreme circuit was a swim in an underground fresh water river. One person in my group with was claustrophobic declined but I ventured on despite my own claustrophobia. We swam about 30 yards being careful not to hit our heads on the stalactites above. We emerged on the other side into a large cave. Fortunately, lights were installed all along the way, so we knew where to duck to avoid the stalagmites. The cavern is part of the largest underground river in the world. The water stays at a constant 75 degrees, which seems a little cool at first, but you quickly get used to it.