Ocho Rios’ Mystic Mountain Provides a Unique Perspective of Rainforest, Mountains
Remember the 1990s flick Cool Runnings? It retold the unlikely story of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics and became a cult classic that brought a wealth of welcomed attention to island nation. After all, what’s more than fun than the notion of four warm weather-loving Jamaicans competing in the snow of Canada in a classic fish-out-of-water story?
How about flipping the script for your own fun?
Fun, Olympian Style
Instead of Jamaicans traveling abroad to compete in an unfamiliar sport, consider traveling to Jamaica to ride a bobsled down a jungle-covered mountain. It may sound more unlikely than Cool Runnings earning more than 10 times its production budget, but that doesn’t make either one less true.
The Jamaican Bobsled attraction is a unique and eco-friendly way to experience among the best things the island has to offer – namely, its mountainous rainforests that jag straight into the Caribbean. The thrilling rollercoaster-style ride starts at the summit of what is known as Mystic Mountain, a 100-acre park that combines flora, fantasy and fun.
The bobsled ride rushes you down a path that cuts through the rainforest with individually controlled handbrakes allowing riders to determine how fast they go. Higher speeds are better to pump up the heart rate, while slower speeds are best to enjoy the omnipresent jungle.
Ocho Rios from Above
The bobsled ride is only one of the ways Mystic Mountain puts you into the heart of the rainforest experience. Just to get to the bobsled launch point, you have to take a 20-minute Sky Explorer chairlift that both relaxes and takes your breath away.
The slow moving chairlift takes you from the bottom of a mountain to its peak – 70 stories up – while giving you an above-the-tree-canopy look at the lush jungle below. To the north is the aquamarine beauty of the Caribbean; while to the south you can observe the Blue Mountains stretching beyond what the eye can see. Once you near the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to look over at Ocho Rios, including Moon Palace Jamaica Grande and the Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal far down below.
The Sky Explorer was designed to give riders a view above the canopy on the ascent, while the return trip puts you in the thick of the forest. It’s a close up look at raw nature – pay attention and you’ll see some spider webs large enough to make Peter Parker jealous. Fortunately, for Palace Resorts guests, they can use their Resort Credits for the Sky Explorer chairlift.
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and Getting Wet at the Top
Once at the top, you can relax with a walk through history pavilion – learn more about the bobsled team and Jamaica in general – or by grabbing a bite or drink at a mountaintop restaurant with a view that rivals any in Jamaica. If you are still thirsting for more eco-adventures, however, the options are plentiful.
Another rush of adrenaline will overtake you if you choose to strap up and onto the Canopy Zip Line Tour and on its 12 zip lines from two separate courses. Good luck enjoying the scenery as you zoom down the mountain over the bobsled ride, creeks, and other natural wonders.
All the activity could require some serious cooling down and though you might take a leisurely dip in the infinity edge pool, you’re just as likely to get more thrills rushing down the Mystic Waterslide.
Nature All Around
Once you’ve satiated your extreme sport hankering, the natural wonder and serenity of the Blue Mountains is likely to take over. The entire breadth of the surroundings is observable from the lookout tower. A nature trail and guide will let you explore the rainforest in a more conventional way, but what you’ll see –including a unique hummingbird garden – is anything but ordinary.