It’s lush in the mountain village of Kakopetria. The trees provide a dense canopy, the river flows through the village year round providing a cooling, calming vibe. The view across mountains and quaint old village houses has been described as one of the most scenic in Cyprus. And it’s a view that must surely be better from the top of the ropes course at the recently opened Marina’s Adventure Park.
At least, I assume it is. The park itself opened at the end of June offering a series of challenges to those not held back by a fear of heights. It starts gently with some planks that swing quite freely in the wind and more fiercely once the person in front has navigated them. Strapped on with a wire cable, it is of course impossible to fall off but after managing the planks, the second obstacle is a net, which seemed to billow towards me with no chance of clinging to it for protection. Two months after facing my fears, it was at this point I decided the best option was to break the rules and reverse quickly to the start. I was not to get a glimpse of that view.
Fortunately, I was accompanied by four preteen boys – the perfect market for the park’s current set up. Imported from Holland and set up by trained experts from there, the course is cyclical in nature and currently offers courses over two levels, in addition to a lower level for younger children. Belted up and wearing safety helmets, it was time for them to throw caution to the wind and charge off without me around the 3m high circuit, which has ten challenges including a zip wire. These include platforms spaced just far enough apart to not comfortably reach, looped ropes and swinging wooden poles.
Once round it was on to the second circuit at a height of 7m above ground which included activities designed to be a bit more challenging; swinging spiderman style from one platform to the next, scrambling over wooden beams and navigating a net that was large enough for feet to easily slip through. There are two more levels to follow which should be in place by the end of the summer that will offer increasingly difficult challenges and should prove testing to older children (and braver adults). They will all lead off a central tower from where staff can watch those on the activities and should anyone need rescuing move in with a series of ropes (fortunately I had backtracked before this was necessary).
It seemed it was possible to get round this course countless times without getting worn out and at times so fast it was impossible to take photographs; try to turn the camera around the other way for a wider shot and you could well have missed a child! Payment of one, two or three levels allows people to go round as often as they like for a period of two hours. Not sure how many times we made it round, I gave up counting once I got dizzy!
Weary of going up and down, it was time to go round and round again, this time on child sized quad bikes capable of a maximum speed of 15km/hr – fast enough to feel like you are flying but slow enough for parents to rest assured (as they are quite small parents are not allowed on). A small circuit allows rider to pit their skills against one another for a change of pace, while a series of picnic tables in the shade next to the river allow the more weary to do the same.
In addition to the higher sections of the ropes course, the park will also be extended with an archery section by sometime next year in addition to a camping area by next summer. But for now it’s time for one last dash around the current obstacles, and co-ordinated swinging on the zip lines.
Marina’s Adventure Park
Ayiou Nikolaou, Kakopetria (follow the signs as soon as you enter the village). For two hours: 2-7yr olds on the low level €7.50; level 1 €15, level 1 and 2 €25