Pay a visit to this small Caribbean island and you will be sure to be amazed. St. Martin is a Caribbean island whose administrative bodies have split the sun-soaked area right down the middle. The northern side of the island is owned by the French and is called St.-Martin. Meanwhile, the
southern side is Dutch owned and operated and officially known as Sint Maarten. This gives vacationers the unique ability to pass through two different European territories as they traverse the Caribbean island. I was able to spend time on both sides of the island, but today I will be highlighting Sint
Maarten’s latest and greatest attraction, the Rockland Estate. Originally planned to open in the summer of 2018, its grand opening was pushed back to November 24th, 2018 due to the damage it sustained during Hurricane Irma. Over a month later, the eco-friendly adventure park is thriving with adventure. Included in this one-of-a-kind adventure park is the world’s steepest zip line tour, canopy tours, inner tubing courses, a restaurant, and a museum. So here is my rundown on the world record-holding attractions at the Rockland Estate and highlight some of my favorite experiences.
Adventure Park Zipline and the History of Rockland Estate
The Rockland Estate operates as a part of the Rainforest Adventures conglomerate which has locations in Costa Rica, Jamaica, and St. Lucia to name a few. Their Sint Maarten location is situated in the center of the island. The property was once an old plantation built in the 1700s, but it has now been repurposed to serve as a hub of adrenaline and picturesque views! What is great about the Rockland Estate is that it is an adventure park that preserves the native ecosystem while ensuring the sustainability of the estate’s physical and intangible attributes. The zipline filled park has managed to eke out a living without disturbing the precious wildlife around it making it a fun and safe activity for all parties involved. This commitment to preservation is a part of the Rainforest Adventures business model. It creates unique and memorable experiences that inspire a sustainable use of the environment and an appreciation of the local culture that positively impacts the local communities.
World’s Steepest Zipline, The Flying Dutchman
Rockland Estates’ claim to fame is the Flying Dutchman, the world steepest zip line. This zipline adventure drops 1,050 feet in elevation across 2,800 feet of cable. People riding the zipline can reach a top speed of 56 mph over the tropical forest’s canopy. Despite this, participants in this zipline tour can rest easy knowing that this main park attraction is safe due to the extensive work put into the Flying Dutchman’s infrastructure. Care for it customers is paramount to the park owners. This is evident from the quick recovery by the adventure park after the beating the zip line took during this past hurricane season. In addition, the views atop the Flying Dutchman are absolutely incredible! The island of St Maarten/St Martin is small enough that from the top of the zipline platform you can see the entire island. I highly recommend taking this zipline tour to anyone that gets the chance. The base price for the Flying Dutchman experience starts at $99. But that is not all on offer at the Rockland Estate. A number of other attractions can be found here and they are all worth a visit. Combinations of the various experiences at Rockland Estate can be had and prices will never rise above $139.
Zipline and Canopy Tours
Besides the record-setting Flying Dutchman, the adventure park features other sky-bound experiences like the Soualiga Sky Explorer, a four-person chairlift, and the Sentry Hill zipline. The Sky Explorer is a canopy tour of the Rockland Estate that allows you to take a moment to slow down and enjoy the great scenery as the chair climbs above the island whose ride spans almost 3,000 feet. A panoramic view of the island awaits you at the top. The base price for the Sky explorer starts at $52. The Sentry Hill zip line is a 500-meter, four-span line traverses the mountain ridge. This allows you to have the perfect combination of hiking and ziplining while you move around the park. Visitors can enjoy the thrills of a traditional zip line that drops in
elevation evenly and slowly unlike the quick descent of the Flying Dutchman.
Other Rockland Estate Attractions
Once you have exhausted your zipline and canopy tour options in the air, it is time to take to the ground for the inner tubing course. Located at the mid-way point of the Soualiga Sky Explorer, the Schooner is an inner tube course on a specially designed 657-foot track of curves and straightaways. Here guests can surf down the mountain in large 40” inner tubes that guide them through the underbrush of the tropical landscape.
A combined experience of the Sentry Hill zip line and the Schooner ride will cost you $99. Once you are finished with your adventure activities, you can learn about the Rockland Estate’s unique history in the plantation house turned museum. The Emilio Wilson Museum tells the powerful story Trace Wilson who was born into slavery on the property in 1818 and her direct descendant Emilio Wilson. You will see depictions of what life was like on a plantation and learn about the customs, traditions, lifestyle, and stories that earned Sint Maarten the nickname ‘The Friendly Island.’ Finally, if you are starving after a long day in the adventure park, you can fill up at Emilio’s Restaurant. This establishment’s cuisine offers a classic Caribbean dinner with a new age twist.
Visiting Sint Maarten
The best part about this zip line and canopy tour adventure park is that all of its activities are cruise friendly. If you have time constraints to your visit to St. Martin then this experience can still be had. The Rockland Estate tours can all be squeezed into a three-hour time frame. This means if you get off the boat in the morning you can be back by lunchtime. A wild ride of an experience, Rainforest Adventures’ Rockland Estate is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise where more passive adventurers can still enjoy themselves. I stayed at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on the Dutch side of the island when I visited St. Martin. I had a chance to stay in one of their new and improved upgraded studio apartments with a full kitchen, living area, and bedroom that was beachfront. And not to mention the eco-friendly adventure park was only a 10-minute drive away. Overall the world’s steepest zip line was worth a ride and I think memories for years to come can be made at the Rockland Estate.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purposes of review by Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and its PR agency. While it has not influenced my review, PointsandTravel.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. All Photos were taken by the author/or were given permission from the photographer. Affiliate links may be located in this article.
About Dr. Cacinda Maloney
A value-luxury adventure traveler at heart, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her experiences as someone who has traveled every six weeks of her life for the last 20 plus years. Being a travel writer, blogger and social media influencer, she now travels more than that! She is Phoenix, Arizona based, but maintains an apartment in Santiago, Chile. She is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), Media Kitty and the International Food, Wine and Travelers Association (IFWTWA). Read more...