There are many ways to see St. Thomas: from a boat, from a beach, even from under water.
But now visitors can see the island from above the treetops with Tree Limin Extreme Zipline, the Virgin Islands' newest attraction.
Tree Limin Extreme Zipline offers incomparable views of the Caribbean — Photo courtesy of Tree Limin Extreme Zipline St. ThomasTree Limin, which opened on July 1, 2012, offers visitors the chance to feel the wind in their hair and experience majestic views over the Caribbean while streaking down a series of eight cables that zig-zag down one of the island's highest peaks.
The fun starts at "base camp," which is located opposite the entrance to St. Peter Great House. ACCT-certified guides help groups of 2-10 guests into hardhats and harnesses, then load everyone into a heavy-duty six-wheel drive pinzgauer, which whisks them to the top of the Bradd Morse-designed course (which sits almost 1,500 feet above sea level).
Before setting off on the first zipline, everyone gets a thorough safety briefing with instructions on how to hold on, and how get maximum speed from the ride (knees up, fetal position).
Rope bridge with view over Magens Bay at Tree Limin Extreme Zipline St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Karen ElowittThen each guest climbs to the top of the platform, gets hitched to the cable one by one, and whooosh – they're off. Adrenaline starts pumping. Trees, iguanas and birds zoom by in a matter of seconds – then it's over. Another guide is waiting at the other end to make sure a safe landing happens.
In between rides guests can admire the stunning views over the Caribbean, with Magens Bay in the foreground and St. John, Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the distance.
Some of the platforms are connected by wobbly rope bridges which offer an extra challenge and a little edge of danger - though everyone is fully harnessed and protected at all times. (Tree Limin takes safety very seriously - the ziplines all have a double-cable system with a minimum break strength of 5,000 pounds.)
Streaking through the jungle at Tree Limin Extreme Zipline, St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Karen ElowittThe eighth and final zipline is the only "yo-yo" zip in the Caribbean: instead of a simple point-to-point ride, this type of zipline allows the rider to travel to the far end of the line, pause briefly, then yo-yo back to the middle of the line, where a guide is waiting with a moveable platform to pull him or her down.
All told, the experience takes about two-and-half to three hours.
Tree Limin Extreme Zipline costs costs $99 per person, and groups depart every half hour. Reservations are strongly recommended. Discounts for locals are sometimes offered: call (340) 777-9477 or go to www.ziplinestthomas.com for more information.
Streaking through the jungle at Tree Limin Extreme Zipline, St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt