Peru is full of beautiful landscapes, rugged mountains, and sandy beaches. It has everything the nature-lover could ever dream of. The Andes Mountains cascade their way through much of the country’s terrain, and they wowed me most of all during the month we explored Peru. The craggy mountains tower over one another and seem to stretch as far as the eye can see.
The Andes is home to Peru’s Sacred Valley near the city of Cusco. Carved out by the winding Urubamba River and spotted with Incan ruins, this place is as picturesque as it gets. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the valley, and one of them is to fly across it on the Eye of the Jaguar. Sound intimidating? It’s actually a blast!
What is the Eye of the Jaguar? Their website will say that it’s the longest continuous zip line in the world, but that’s outdated. According to Guinness World Records, Costa Rica is now home to the world’s longest. At 8,202 feet long, this beast is appropriately named “El Monstruo”. So even if the Eye of the Jaguar isn’t as impressive as that, it’s quite the thriller. The zip line glides you over 6,988 feet of the Sacred Valley (1.3 miles), where you’re surrounded on all sides by the Andes. When you take off, the cable stretches so far into the distance that the rider eventually disappears out of sight.
How to Book
This crazy zip line is operated and maintained by Pepe and his team, who were so wonderful to book with! They weren’t having a busy day at all, so they offered to take us to a few other local attractions such as the Maras salt mines and the Moray ruins. It was incredibly nice of them to offer, and we did pay extra for it. This saved us a ton of time and money for the day. Not only that, but as we were zip-lining, they took videos of us with their camera to give to us later. The full package and then some, right?
But wait, there’s more! (Said in my best Billy Mays impression…) The team at Eye of the Jaguar has the option on their website to book an ATV tour around the Maras and Moray regions of the valley. You get to hop on a four-wheeler and cruise along the Peruvian countryside, taking it all in as the valley floor guides you and your group.
To save your spot, just go to their website and shoot them an email explaining the day you would like to do the zip line or ride the ATV’s. They usually respond promptly, so they will be able to relay information about prices when you need it. We booked several months in advance, just because that’s how I roll. September is during Peru’s off-season, so it would be ideal to book during that window if you can.
Riding the Zip Line
On the day we booked, we were conveniently picked up at our hotel and taken to the zip line site. As I hopped out of the car and walked to the point where the cable started, the views basically took my breath away. Surrounded by blue skies, distant mountains, and fluffy clouds, the view was way better than I anticipated. That’s Peru for you!
A group took off before us, so we had the chance to see what it would be like when our turn came. Each of the girls were given a brief training on how to position their body and arms so that they had the smoothest and safest ride possible. Before we knew it they were soaring off into the valley at high speeds until they became small specks in the distance. We could hear the cable from where we were standing, and after about a minute we could finally hear each of them slowing down.
I strapped my GoPro to my helmet and got ready to… let Tyler go first. The team strapped him in and gave him the same safety spiel they gave the girls who went before us. 3…2…1… and we have lift off! Tyler lifted his feet from the ground and was literally pushed into the sky. He screamed and stuck his arms out to the side, flying away from me in a burst of pure adrenaline. Then I couldn’t see him anymore, though I could still hear his cable zipping away.
Pepe eventually got the all clear from his team once Tyler made it to the ground and I was put into the harness. I noticed that the cable was at a pretty steep angle as it pointed down into the valley. After making sure my GoPro was on, they pushed me off and I zoomed off the ground and into the air. The brisk wind whipped my hair about my face and I was glad I was wearing a light jacket. The altitude of Cusco made the valley chilly even before I was on the zip line. I made sure to tie most of my hair up too, so as to avoid getting it into contact with the zip line overhead.
Tyler looked like he had fun, so I screamed and spread my arms like he did, free as a bird.
I flew over a herd of grazing sheep and called out to them. They were probably used to it. I could feel the sun shining on my face and the weightlessness of my body. Condors native to the Sacred Valley flew above me. Maybe they’d accept me as one of their own…
Prepare for Landing
After about a minute of flying, the zip line eventually started to level out and I started to slow down. A team of people and Tyler were waiting for me at the end. I spotted a car, a few ATV’s, and a large metal platform with stairs connected to it. A guy on one of the ATV’s drove towards me and grabbed some sort of rope that was hanging from me and helped me slow to a stop as I planted my feet firmly on the platform. After being helped out of my harness, I descended the stairs to join Tyler. Landing was as easy as that!
Nothing about zip-lining is scary to me, and this particular ride had me and Tyler wanting to go on it several more times. But alas, we don’t have all the cash in the world, so once would have to do it for the day. What a rush! I was still feeling the excitement from going so fast and being so high above the ground. That was a great way to start off our day of adventures.
We hopped in the car and were taken to the rest of the sites the team had offered to take us to. It was such a great experience with a really reliable and trustworthy company. So I would definitely do it all again!
Tips for Riding the Eye of the Jaguar
- Bring a jacket
- Wear closed-toe shoes
- Secure your hair and cell phone
- Listen carefully to the safety demonstration, but feel free to go a little wild with your arms and have fun!
- Wear your helmet (duh)
We paid $60 each for the zip line ride and to be taken to Maras and Moray. And they didn’t just drop us off at these interesting sites, they came with us to guide and inform us along the way. They were such a helpful and professional service. So if you find yourself in Cusco, you need to book with them!
Head over to their website to get more information and send them an email a few months in advance to retain your spot. You won’t regret it!
Have you ever been zip-lining? What’s the coolest one you’ve been on? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂