Just a moment ago, my heart was racing. Now, my palms are sweating. Am I in love? I may be. The exhilaration takes over as I feel like I am flying through the air. Wait! I am.

There’s nothing between me and the ground nearly 800 feet below. The wind in my face awakens my spirit. I let out a whoop. I can barely hear myself above the whizzing and whirring of the cable and pulley just inches from my ear.
I feel a tug, not at my heart strings, but on the rope and blocking system that slows me down. It ends. Bravado has replaced my initial fear. I am now a veteran at zip lining.

This is only the first of eight towers that I must hike to get to the famed “The Beast.” I am at Toro Verde or “Green Bull’ an action park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

After each ride from the tall pylons, I get much more comfortable. The guides clip me into the carabiners.

Guide at Toro Verde

The guide at Toro Verde clips in a flier to the zip line.

I get a little push and lurch forward along with my stomach as I leave the perch. I put my trust in the guides. I trust them with my life, period.  They are hulking twenty-somethings who clip on and clip off with nonchalance as they prepare us for our rides.  They use the cable system for their daily commute above the jungle. No cars, no traffic, no worries.

I think that by time the guides fasten me to “The Beast,” I’ll be an old pro at this.

Author harnessed up

Author suits up for his turn on the zip lines at Toro Verde

Earlier, when I arrived, I was fitted with a sturdy harness with all the clips, carabiners, straps, bells and whistles one would want in a safety net. My nervousness mounted while an aide tugged, pulled, and tested. “Check it again,” I hear a voice in my head say.  I didn’t need to say it aloud.

Rider in Harness

A flier in her harness all ready to ride “The Beast” at Toro Verde

Clinking and clanking I follow the line of other clinkers as we make our way down the narrow trail. Brilliantly colored local flowers border the trail. Bees and hummingbirds flit about. The air is warm and sweet-smelling.  The hike, by design, helps relieve my anxiety and tension in my muscles.

So now I’m here—

“The Beast” or “La Bestia” – is 843 feet high, almost a mile long at 4,745 feet, and reaches speeds up to 65 mph.

Seven trips later and I’m thinking I’ve got this. Or do I? They change it up. The previous runs had me sitting. Now, they want me prone. Superman position, facing down, arms back with strict instructions to keep the arms tucked. I hold on to the strap located at my butt. Failure to do so would slow me down, and I would not reach the landing platform.  I would have to muscle my way hand-over-hand the rest of the distance.

Higher, faster, longer, and now, face down. I feel like a penguin, with my arms tucked tightly to my side and my feet together.  But penguins are flightless. Not so I. Away I go with the whirring of the wheel bearings. The ground flashes underneath me, the sensation of speed is invigorating. I strain to keep my head up and looking out straight.  In this heads-up position, I take in the grand view of the Puerto Rican countryside. I also get to see my landing zone loom larger and larger with each passing second.  Then I feel the thump as the apparatus slows me to a halt. I’ve kept my arms in and I reach the terminal without additional effort being required. Some of the lighter-weight fliers aren’t so lucky. The guide speedily clips in and hand-over-hand deftly reaches the stranded patron. He returns, rescue in tow, to the security of the platform.

Since my visit, Toro Verde has installed an even higher, faster, longer attraction christened “The Monster.” It is self-proclaimed “the longest zip line in the universe,” with a 2.5km (2530m, 8300ft, 1.57mi) cable, equivalent to 28 football fields. I’ll have to make my travel arrangements.

Hiking to the towers

A group of fliers make their way on the trail to the zip line towers at Toro Verde.


Orocovis is located smack-dab in the middle of the island. It is a verdant, hilly geography.  The roads to Orocovis are few, but direct.  The drive winds its way through charming island towns. I am treated to a pretty mix of local homes, farms, and tropical flora.

Orocovis1CapturePR map

Map of Puerto Rico showing route to Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis.

If You Go

Toro Verde The Green Bull

Toro Verde, The Green Bull greets visitors at the park entrance.

Travel

To Puerto Rico
Flights from NY are about $300
Flights from LAX are about $500

To Toro Verde Adventure park
Located about 40 miles from San Juan, the trip takes about 1.5 hours each way.
Transportation to Toro Verde is a separate fee and can be arranged through hotel concierges.
Taxi fees will cost between $75 and $105. Taxis can take up to 5 passengers, so you may want to ride share to bring your individual cost down. Remember to tip, 15% is typical.

Via Excursion

Arrangements can be made for an all-inclusive trip including transportation, box lunch, and the zip line at Toro Verde.
Try Expedia, or Rico Sun Tours, or my personal Favorite http://www.tourismfamily.com/ run by Angel Diaz


What to expect

Heat & Sun

As I stated in the opening it can get unpleasantly hot in a very short time.  You’ll need to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and use some of that water on your neck with a bandana to stay cool.  Learn the signs of heat exhaustion.
Use plenty of sun screen. But, you should already know that if you’re vacationing in Puerto Rico.

Bring or buy (there is a concession/cafeteria at Toro Verde)
Plenty of water – 2-4 liters, bring one with you on the hike
Food – bring a box lunch or purchase snack quality food at the concessions stand.

Queue
Get there early.
Plan to be there 45 minutes or 1 hour before the experience.
The lines may get long and you may have an extended wait.
Use the bathroom before you get harnessed.  For some, if the wait is long, you may need to use the restroom before the hike starts.  If you do, make sure your harness is checked again by the guide.
There are no facilities along the trail.

Cost
Price range from $65 -$135 depending on which ride you choose.
It includes the harness and all safety gear (gloves, goggles, etc.)
Transportation to Toro Verde is a separate fee and may be arranged through hotel concierges.
Taxi fees will cost between $75 and $105. Taxis can take up to 5 passengers, so you may want to ride share to bring your individual cost down. Remember to tip, 15% is typical.

Cameras, cellphones, personal totes.
You will not be able to bring dangly things.
If it dangles, leave it behind. Lockers are provided.
DSLRs are big, unwieldy, expensive, and may become a safety hazard if it smacks you in the face. They are usually not allowed.
Small cameras and phones may be tucked in a pocket, or strapped to your wrist…if you drop it, you’ve lost it to the jungle. You usually don’t have use of your hands to take photos during the flight anyway, you’ll be busy hanging on. It is common to take photos at each of the platforms. Videos are particularly exciting.

CONTACT

Bo. Gato, Road 155, Km. 33
Orocovis, Puerto Rico

+787.867.7020
+787.867.6606

reservaciones@toroverdepr.com