Ty Sawyer  /  CT&L
By
updated 7/20/2006 2:48:17 PM ET 2006-07-20T18:48:17

I arrived at the Loterie Farm parking lot at the same time as a bus full of cruise-shippers, all of us bound for the same exciting excursion, the Fly Zone. I’d never been on a zip-line course, but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be soaring around the forest canopy in a huge flock, so I ran ahead and asked to go first. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Along with the others — a range of shapes and sizes, and from ’tweeners to the solidly middle-aged — I was introduced to the gear: a harness and the metal bits that attach it to overhead cables. Before I knew what was up, I was at the head of the line, launching myself from a platform 20 feet above the ground and zooming — wheeeeee — from one tree to another.

A real rush!

But the fun and games had only just begun. The Fly Zone’s spider’s web of cables strung through the forest is interspersed with rope bridges and ladders,

creating an obstacle course that could challenge anyone’s inner jungle commando. My desire to go first now meant that I had the group’s undivided attention as I attempted — and at first failed — to swiftly and gracefully execute some tricky snap-click-snap maneuvers to unhook from one run and onto the next. And seldom have I felt so utterly spastic as when I was on the rope ladder, where I had to step from one tree to another across a set of independently dangling swings. Bobbing awkwardly with my legs

randomly splitting and splaying, I wondered, Did I sign up for Fear Factor? And, Will I have to eat live lizards?

Once I got the hang of it, though, I relaxed, enjoying the rides and appreciating the scenery below and all around me — the course runs through a tropical forest, the last remaining one on St. Martin. When all was said and done, I was an enthusiastic new convert to the joys of dangling from wires and whooshing between trees like a grotesquely overgrown Peter Pan.

Afterward, I stopped for lunch at Loterie Farm’s Hidden Forest Café and promptly eradicated any slimming effect of the strenuous zip-line workout by having the fillet of beef tenderloin topped with portobello mushrooms served on a tower of garlic mashed potatoes drizzled in cognac cream sauce. Good thing I didn’t eat before tackling the Fly Zone; everybody knows pigs can’t fly.

Loterie Farm (011-590-87-86-16; loteriefarm.com) is on the road up to Colombier/Pic Paradis, north of Marigot on the French side of St. Martin. Open from

9-ish to 4:30-ish daily, closed Monday. Fly Zone: $37. Children under four feet tall can do Ti Tarzan: $24 (adults may accompany). Hidden Forest Café (main courses from $12 to $32): Lunch (noon to 3 p.m.) and dinner (6 to 9 p.m.) served Tuesday through Saturday; Sunday (noon to 6 p.m.)

Caribbean Travel & Life is the magazine for anyone in search of the perfect tropical getaway. Each issue presents expert insider’s advice on where to find the Caribbean’s best beaches and attractions, its finest resorts and spas, liveliest beach bars and activities, and its friendliest people.

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