Treetops of the Sierra Madre
Treetop flyer in Mexico's Sierra Madre
USUALLY ASSOCIATED with margaritas and high-rise hotels, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, has taken ecotourism to new heights with a canopy tour in the nearby Sierra Madre. Offered by Vallarta Adventure, the new tour is just 45 minutes from town and explores the hidden world of the Sierra Madre from platforms 60 feet up in capomo treeshome to green guacamayas, trogons, jaguarundis, and multicolored skinks. Safely harnessed like rappelling rock climbers, travelers zip on cables up to 450 feet long from platform to platform on this 90-minute tour. The cost is $65 and includes a guided forest hike, a shuttle to and from Puerto Vallarta, and snacks. Call Vallarta Adventure at 011-52-322-29-712-12, or visit www.vallarta-adventures.com.
IN DECEMBER 2000, construction began on a 3,000-mile trail system that may take more than a decade to complete but will ultimately zigzag the entire 2,650-mile length of Chile. About 500 miles or longer than the Appalachian Trail, the Sendero de Chile will start in the town of Visviri, on the border with Bolivia and Peru; pass through coastal deserts, Andean mountains, and temperate rainforests; and finish on Cape Horn. So far, only a dozen or so miles have been constructedbut who needs quantity when you've got quality? One of the completed if disjointed stretches starts in Parque National Puyehue in the south-central Lake District and cuts through evergreen forests and volcanic craters. Eventually trekkers and mountain bikers will be able to stay in primitive shelters along the trail, but for now, it's Bring Your Own Tent. Visit www.senderodechile.cl.
This month, Berkeley-based Wilderness Travel is offering a ten-day exploratory trek on Réunion, a 969-square-mile dot in the Indian Ocean, 425 miles east of Madagascar. A local guide will lead you through tamarind-forested gorges cascading with water and across the black-lava moonscapes of the 8,686-foot Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Traverse the rocky amphitheater of the Cirque de Salazie, a collapsed dormant volcano, and stay in rustic trekking lodges. The trip begins and ends on the beach, with an optional scuba-diving extension to Mauritius. Land cost: from $2,790. Dates: August 30-September 8. Call Wilderness Travel 800-368-2794, or visit www.wildernesstravel.com.