Ziplines and ATVs: Our Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

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In this review of Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende (SMA), I’m going to describe some risky behavior, but don’t worry. What looks rather dangerous was actually a fairly safe set of thrills. Out of all the things to do in San Miguel de Allende with kids, this may be some of the most thrilling. If you’re in central Mexico with children who love excitement, then read on.

Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

You’ll find the Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende center on the outskirts of — you guessed it — San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. While their kiddy-castle-like office may be small, they deal in big thrills.

  • Want to fly above a 150-meter canyon hanging by a wire?
  • Keen to rip through some dirt and mud on a four-wheeler?
  • Care to see central Mexico from a hot air balloon?

Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende has what you’re looking for. We had an opportunity to work with them and review their services and gratefully enjoyed our day out on their zipline and ATV tours.

It was pretty amazing.

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Location – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

Parque de Aventura SMA is about 15 minutes outside of downtown San Miguel de Allende. Some taxi drivers may be unfamiliar with it. If that’s the case, and you don’t speak Spanish, then call their office and they’ll direct the driver.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Yunuen, one of the guides at Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende.

She walked us through our itinerary for the day and gave us the appropriate forms and waivers to sign. After that, Yunuen and other staff got us ready.

Prepping for Ziplining – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

What is ziplining? Why try ziplining in San Miguel de Allende? Is ziplining in Mexico safe? What ziplining gear do you need?

Let’s tackle these questions one at a time.

What is Ziplining? Ziplining is an adrenaline-pumping activity for thrill seekers.  Using high-tension cable, you whizz over across great distances on a heavy-gauge wire. Gravity and your own weight create the speed. Some ziplines, like the one we did in Chiang Mai, Thailand, go from tree to tree. Others loom over lakes or gorges.

Why Try Ziplining in San Miguel de Allende? We recommend ziplining in San Miguel de Allende because it’s easy to access from the city and the landscape you’re soaring over is stunning.

Is Ziplining in Mexico Safe? Ziplining in Mexico and elsewhere is super safe with the right company and the right guides. The staff at Parque de Aventura SMA were fun and professional.

What Ziplining Gear Do You Need? You should be given a helmet and a rock climbing harness. No, you won’t be rock climbing (although we love rock climbing, too). But the harness here keeps you secure and fastened to wires that are anchored into the rocks or trees on each side. You also wear big leather gloves for braking and keeping your hands safe.

Reaching the Zipline – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

Once we’re suited up and had helmets secured, we jumped into the back of a truck and headed down a rocky road for about ten minutes towards a nearby gorge.

The truck can’t drive all the way to the edge of the gorge. Instead, we jumped out of the truck bed and walked another five minutes to the first zip line. We visited San Miguel de Allende during the rainy season, so things were lush and green. Some places were quite muddy as well, so your shoes might squish in some if you visit between June through September. In contrast, if you visit during the dry season, this emerald gorge will be dry and yellow.

As we walked, I counted at least five guides. In addition to the guides, our group consisted of our family, a Mexican couple from Cancun, and three Americans from Portland, Oregon. One of Americans was a girl who was afraid of heights. Her fear became more and more apparent as we approached the edge of the gorge and the first zipline.

Ready, Set, GO! – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

Before anyone crossed the gorge, the staff double checked everyone’s helmets and harnesses. Then Gustavo, the team leader, walked our group through the safety procedures.

We were all wearing thick leather gloves. These would also serve as our brakes, slowing us down slightly before we reached the other side of the gorge. Once our harnesses were securely fastened to the wire across the crevasse, we placed our right hand behind our head and our left hand holding the rope directly below the cable. This allowed us a little control on facing forward if we wished.

As we whizzed down the wire to the other side, one of the guides would use hand signals to tell us if we needed to slow down. If we did, then we pressed our right hand flatly on the wire like a brake (the opposite for lefties).

Some people didn’t need to brake at all. In fact, on one zipline Keiko and our daughter both slowed to a point where they had to pull themselves the last few meters in. It happens. If someone stops further out, which happened only once to our boy, a guide swiftly darts out to pull them in.

We’ve been rock climbing and ziplining in Thailand, but ziplining with Parque de Aventura SMA was an entirely new level. For one, our Thailand ziplining experience was in the forest and wasn’t nearly as high. In contrast, ziplining in San Miguel de Allende means sailing over small canyons. At one point, your feet are dangling 150 meters above the ground! No safety net here.

Fear and Fearlessness – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

The bridge terrified one girl in our group. This ziplining trip was certainly not her idea, but the staff did a great job of walking her through it. Once when she was really scared, they gently calmed her until she went for it. She glowed with pride afterward. The Mexican couple in our group also showed signs of acrophobia, but they ziplined together. This seemed to help.

All of them seemed genuinely shocked by our kids. Not only were they the youngest in the group, but they seemed fearless. Our girl was volunteering to jump first, and our boy was asking the guides “Can I hang upside down from this one?”

After a few more ziplines, we arrived at a wobbly suspension bridge. Intentionally wobbly it seems. Interestingly enough, I found it to be the scariest of all. In other words, this wobbly bridge gave me wobbly knees. This was also the most difficult challenge for the acrophobic in our group. They only made it across in baby steps, with Parque de Aventura SMA staff coaxing them along.

Not my kids. As soon as they heard that we could hang off the edge they went for it. I tried it too, but not for nearly as long as the boy did. Yes, I was attached to the bridge by ropes an thick metal carabiners, and yes I was secure, but I’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom too many times. My heart fluttered while my kids giggled.

We’ve been canyoning off 10-story waterfalls in Spain and we had just rappelled off a cliff just a few days before, but heights like this get to me.

Tarantula!  – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

A few more ziplines later, and we started walking back to the truck. Along the path, we saw this creature.

Yes, that’s a tarantula. Don’t worry, these aren’t really dangerous. This one was just a baby. Even at their largest, they don’t pose much of a threat to humans. Unless that is, you intentionally taunt them and then try to grab them.

ATV Tour – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

Back at HQ of Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende, we said goodbye to the other members of our group and said hello to our near four-wheeled friends. For the second half of our day, we would ride ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) through downtown San Miguel de Allende and beyond.

Yunuen and another guide spent about ten minutes with us teaching us how to drive an ATV. We practiced turning, reversing, and braking on the property of Parque de Aventura SMA before riding into town.

Then we were off! There were three ATVs in total. One for our guides, one for Keiko and one for me, with the kids on the back. We drove from Parque de Aventura into the heart of San Miguel de Allende. Most of the city roads are made of rough cobblestones. In a car, this makes for a slow, bumpy and loud ride. But on an ATV you just glide over it all. Now I understand why I see so many of them around town.

Driving ATV in Mexico – Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

This was an hour or two before sunset and the light of the golden hour was spectacular. I wish I had more pics of this time to show you, but I was driving!

The traffic in San Miguel de Allende is quite slow and tame. Even so, the guides played it super cautious as we navigated the streets. They always stayed close and never gunned ahead, always checking to see if we were right behind them. Every time a car or motorcycle got between us, they immediately pulled over to close the gap.

Once on the other side of the city, the guides turned onto an empty road heading out of town. If the kids wanted to try driving the ATV, they said, now was the time.

Let the Kids Drive

The kids were beyond excited. They’ve ridden motorcycles in VietnamTaiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. But someone else was always doing the driving.

Now they were about to drive ATV’s in Mexico, and they were thrilled! Keiko and I sat behind them as we rolled out of town and onto rockier rural roads to arrive at the sandy banks of a reservoir. Here we allowed them to open it up a bit, and give the ATV some gas. They squealed with delight as the tires kicked up mud and splashed through puddles.

I thought the guides would allow them to ride for about five minutes. Instead, they zipped around for 15 minutes or more.

The Original Chapel of San Miguel de Allende

Eventually, we ended up at a small, ancient-looking church near a cornfield. This was where San Miguel de Allende began, the guides told us. After a short and fascinating history lesson about the church and the people of the area, we hopped back on and turned toward town. Keiko and I returned to the driver’s seats and the kids to the back seat again.

Instead of driving all the way back to the headquarters of Parque de Aventura SMA, the guides asked if we’d like to be dropped off. We said sure and gave them the address of our Airbnb rental. Then we drove the ATV’s right to the front door.

There we saw several other guides from Parque de Aventura SMA waiting to drive our ATVs back to their headquarters. If this was not offered, then we would have needed to take a taxi 20 minutes back into town. This easily saved is half an hour and taxi fare.

Conclusion: Parque de Aventura San Miguel de Allende Review

We loved our day with Parque de Aventura SMA, and so did the kids. It was the first time for them to zipline over such high canyons. And they’ll always remember their first time to drive such a cool set of wheels by themselves. It was an extremely thrilling day, but I also felt like we were safe and being taken care of at all time.

Still unsure if it’s your thing? Read what others have to say about Parque de Aventura San Miguell de Allende.

Have you gone ziplining in Mexico? Have you ridden ATVs in San Miguel de Allende? What was your experience like?

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Disclosure: Our experience was sponsored by Parque de Aventura SMA, but all opinions in this review are my own and we would recommend their ziplining and ATV tours regardless. 

Comments

  1. Hi Jason,

    What an incredibly fun post.

    I have faced tarantulas like that, 8 inch long centipedes and scorpions – all of which I had to wrangle and evict from the house, in Thailand – yet that wobbly bridge would scare the bejesus out of me too. I am with ya.

    Your kids are fearless to dive into those situations like that. God bless them.

    I’d rather fight and kick poisonous insects out of homes.

    Gorgeous views though. Marked down for when we visit San Miguel de Allende.

    Thanks for sharing Jason.

    Ryan

  2. Nice pictures captured and nice article shared its very interesting and informative i really enjoyed it thanks for it.

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