Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) has partnered with Rain Forest Trams Ltd., a local bank and businessmen to develop Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain, a new eco-friendly attraction in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
The facility welcomed its first visitors in a “soft opening” held earlier today. Grand opening festivities are set for late July.
Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica was developed by Mystic Mountain Ltd., a partnership between Rain Forest Trams Ltd and Jamaican businessmen Horace A. Clarke, and O.J. and Michael N. Drakulich, Carnival Corporation & plc, and the Development Bank of Jamaica.
The expansive multi-million-dollar tourism attraction features an exciting and unique Jamaican Bobsled ride through the lush tropical forest, a chairlift journey over the verdant countryside, a zip-line canopy adventure through the treetops, an island culture and heritage center, as well as mountaintop dining and shopping venues.
Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain covers more than 100 acres stretching from the Coast Road entrance near Dunn’s River Falls to more than 700 feet above sea level at the peak of Mystic Mountain. The site supports a diverse ecosystem of natural springs, tropical foliage, native trees and a variety of colorful bird species. Mystic Mountain’s tours and rides have been designed to have minimal environmental impact and physical footprint.
“The Caribbean is vital to the continued growth and success of the North American cruise industry and Carnival Corporation & plc is very pleased to support the development of this spectacular attraction,” said Graham Davis, director of port operations and destination development for Carnival Corporation & plc. “In addition to serving as an example of responsible, sustainable tourism development, the Mystic Mountain complex will have tangible economic benefits, including creating numerous job opportunities for the local community,” he added.
Cruise ship guests and visitors can view and explore the indigenous seaside tropical forest ecosystem via three exhilarating excursions:
Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica
Custom-designed bobsleds celebrating the Jamaican Olympic bobsled teams of the 1980s and ’90s travel on winding, plunging stainless steel rails on a 3,280-foot gravity-driven ride through the forest. The bobsled track was laid to avoid disturbing the natural landscape, curving around ancient trees, hugging majestic cliff faces and limestone outcroppings through narrow chutes of dense forest. Riders control their rate of descent with an in-sled handbrake, allowing for either a leisurely tour through the forest or a pulse-quickening ride. At the end of the ride, the bobsled slides to a graceful stop and is slowly pulled back by cable to the top of the mountain, completing the entire circuit in approximately six minutes.
Rainforest Sky Explorer
Located at the park’s Coast Road entrance, this state-of-the-art chairlift soars above the treetops through the heart of the tropical seaside forest canopy. The ascent on Sky Explorer skims the top of the trees, providing panoramic views of the picturesque coastline and close-up views of tropical treetops on the way to the centerpiece of the attraction, the 700-foot peak of Mystic Mountain. The return ride on Sky Explorer carries riders just below treetop level, but high above the forest floor to provide a sense of immersion in tropical wilds.
Rainforest Zip-Line Tranopy Tour
A series of tree-to-tree platforms sends riders gliding through the coastal forest on this customized zip-line canopy tour. The guided tour covers virgin areas of the mountain, flying through the canopy via a zip line along a series of interconnected tree- and land-based platforms. The tour ends at the mid-station of the Rainforest Sky Explorer chairlift, which returns zip-line riders to the park entrance. At the summit of Mystic Mountain is the Jamaican Railway Station & Mystic Pavilion. Designed by acclaimed Jamaican architect Ann Hodges, the traditional three-story building is a replica of an early 20th-century Jamaican railway station. The site provides views of Jamaica’s north coast and the hills and valleys of St. Ann. The 9,000-square-foot multilevel rail station features a lookout tower with spectacular panoramic views of Ocho Rios and the harbor, a bar and restaurant, retail outlets, and a photo shop while serving as the boarding point for Bobsled Jamaica.
Adjacent to the Rail Station, Mystic Pavilion features displays and memorabilia celebrating Jamaica’s culture, great moments in the country’s sporting events and promotion of environmental awareness and conservation of natural resources.
Endeavoring to maintain the pristine beauty of the Jamaican landscape, Mystic Mountain developers paid close attention to minimizing the environmental impact of the various attractions during construction. The chairlift foundations were installed by helicopter to significantly reduce ground disturbance and eliminate the necessity of building a road to transport equipment. The latest design in chairlift towers — the F tower — also was specifically selected to reduce impact on the forest environment. More than 3,400 feet of bobsled track was hand-carried through the forest and laid hugging natural limestone cliffs through the sloping hilly interior.