Canopy tours are high-octane thrill rides during which you "fly" from treetop to treetop, securely fastened to a zip line. Despite the inherent danger of dangling from a cable hundreds of feet off the ground, the operators we list have excellent safety records. If you're brave, bring your camera to take photos while zipping along; just be sure the neck strap is long enough to leave your hands free (some tours may not allow photography because they provide their own photos—at a price).
Check with each operator regarding maximum weight (usually 250 pounds) and minimum ages for kids. Don't take a tour when rain threatens. A thunderstorm isn't the time to hang out near trees attached to metal cables, and rain makes the activity scary to say the least. During the rainy season, you can usually count on generally sunny weather in the mornings and early afternoons.
Canopy El Edén. The daily trips to the spirited Mismaloya River and an adjacent restaurant are 3½-hour adventures ($81) that depart from the downtown office. You zip along 10 lines through the trees and above the river. To take full advantage of the lovely setting and good restaurant, take the first tour (departures are weekdays at 9, 10, 11, noon, 1:30, and 2:30—sometimes less frequently in low season), and bring your swimsuit. The schedule includes about an hour to spend at the river, spa, or restaurant. If you wish to stay longer and there's room, you can return to Vallarta with a later group; otherwise take a taxi or ask the restaurant staff for a lift to the highway, where buses frequently pass. Office: Plaza Romy, Calle I. Vallarta 228, Interior 1, Zona Romántica, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 48380. 322/222–2516. www.canopyeleden.com.
Canopy Tour de Los Veranos. Los Veranos was the first canopy tour company to establish itself here and has extended the number of services it offers, now including ATV and city tours as combos. After the descent you may want to enjoy its restaurant, sip some tequila or go on a fantastic nature hike. Canopy tours start at 67 USD (web) and the post tour trek along Freddy's trail is free. Office:, Calle Francisca Rodríguez 336, Zona Romántica, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 48380. 322/223–0504; 619/955-6993 from U.S.; 877/563-4113 Toll free US and Canada. www.canopytours-vallarta.com..
Rancho Mi Chaparrita. On his family ranch, Luis Verdin runs a 13-zip-line tour ($79) and horseback riding trips ($30 per hour), or combine the two, accessing the ranch on Señor Verdin's lively, healthy horses via the beach and backcountry for a complete adventure (100 USD). The company rents boogie boards, surfboards, and paddleboards, gives surfing lessons, offers snorkeling, sportfishing and whale- or wildlife-watching excursions around the Marietas Islands. Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez 14, Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, Nayarit, 63732. 329/291–3112. www.michaparrita.com.
Vallarta Adventures. Possibly Vallarta's most famous and popular adventure tour operator, Vallarta Adventures has something exciting for everyone: adrenalin pumping canopy tours in the jungle, spectacular whale watching in winter, romantic sunset sailing tours for adults, themed dinner shows for families, and many more. Safety is taken very seriously, and all tours are guided in English and Spanish (when necessary) by a very friendly and entertaining staff. Av. Las Palmas, 39, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, 63735. 322/297–1212 in Nuevo Vallarta; 322/221–1477 in Marina Vallarta; 888/526–2238 from U.S. and Canada. www.vallarta-adventures.com.