Slowly, the rickety gondola comes to a halt. We step out at an altitude of about 800 meters and walk towards a small platform where you definitely don’t want to fall off. There, we are greeted by two cheerful Costa Ricans. They check our harnesses and attach us to a thick cable that disappears into the green distance. “Adios!” From that moment on, we are ziplining in Costa Rica.
Where Can You Go Ziplining in Costa Rica?
You can go ziplining at many places in Costa Rica. Below is an overview of the most popular zipline providers in Costa Rica.
- Mundo Aventura in Arenal
- Sky Adventures in Arenal
- Canopy Safari near Manuel Antonio National Park
- Titi Canopy Tour near Manuel Antonio National Park
- Extremo Park in Monteverde
- Selvatura Park in Monteverde
- Sky Adventures in Monteverde
Our ziplining adventure takes place at Sky Adventures in Monteverde, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The organization is professional, and we constantly feel safe. The provider also has a park in Arenal, which receives similar positive reviews.
Abundance of Wildlife in the Park
We park our car at the entrance of Sky Adventures, nestled in the middle of a cloud forest. It’s a type of rainforest that is often shrouded in mist due to the high humidity and significant altitude variations.
“Be careful!” someone warns as we try to get out.
A guide points to the coati attempting to enter our car, probably in search of a tasty snack. We haven’t even entered the park yet, and we’ve already encountered our first wild animal. It’s not surprising considering the immense biodiversity found here.
Ascending with the Cable Car
After a brief instruction, we start our first descent. It’s nothing major, just a warm-up. The zipline ends at a cable car, where we hop into a small gondola. Together with a guide, we ascend to an altitude of over 800 meters.
The longer we ride in the gondola, the more breathtaking the view becomes. The hilly nature reserve is incredibly lush, and the sky is relatively clear, allowing us to see far into the distance.
Zooming Down at Lightning Speed
When we catch sight of the second descent, we can’t help but gulp. The cable is so long that we can’t see its end. One by one, we are clipped onto the cable and instructed to assume the charming zipline position. Shoulders back, legs crossed and raised.
With a cheerful “Adios!” we glide swiftly over the treetops. Adrenaline rushes through our bodies, a refreshing breeze against our faces—a delightful sensation. And then it suddenly dawns on us that we should take a moment to look around. With speeds reaching up to 70 kilometers per hour, you reach the end of the zipline much faster than you’d like.
Sometimes you go so fast that you have to brake yourself. If you feel the cable swaying (or spot a panicky Costa Rican gesturing frantically in the distance), you must manually apply the brakes. This is done by moving the handles back and forth, a maneuver practiced extensively beforehand.
The zipline position becomes even more charming as the end comes into sight. You then spread your legs, ensuring they don’t touch the cable during braking. The braking system at the final station can be quite abrupt, causing your legs to shoot up into the air. It’s incredibly thrilling.
Our ziplining adventure in Monteverde begins at an altitude of 800 meters. In total, we conquer 8 ziplines, each with a maximum height difference of 100 meters. The longest zipline stretches an impressive 750 meters, and you can reach speeds of about 70 km/h. The entire ziplining experience lasts approximately 2 hours.
Minimal Walking or Waiting Required
As soon as we come to a stop, we proceed to the next descent. And each time, it’s surprisingly close by. You truly soar from one mountain to another, without having to walk long stretches. This is ideal because the harness and handle (which you carry with you) make movement a bit less fluid.
Moreover, we don’t spend much time waiting, despite being part of a fairly large group. This is probably due to the relatively high number of staff members accompanying us. As a result, there’s no need to wait for everyone to be ready, and we can usually move directly to the next zipline.
Safety is, of course, the most crucial aspect when hanging hundreds of meters above the ground on a cable. We get the impression that the staff members at this park know exactly what they’re doing, so we never feel unsafe.
But equally important, the Costa Ricans are incredibly friendly. And not in an overly exaggerated American way, but genuinely warm. You can see their enjoyment in their work, especially when they effortlessly glide down themselves. It adds an extra layer of fun to the whole experience.
A Spectacular Finale
During the descents, the Sky Adventure guys drop hints several times that they have a “small surprise” in store at the end. The snickering among them reveals that it’s probably not really a small surprise.
Once we’ve completed the final descent, it becomes clear what they’ve been holding back. (Spoilers from this point onward!) We haven’t quite reached the ground yet; instead, we walk across a narrow suspension bridge about twenty meters above the ground. At the end of the bridge hangs only a thick bungee cord.
Strangely enough, we suddenly experience vertigo, even though we hadn’t felt it before. With a wide grin, one of the Costa Ricans asks who wants to jump first. But don’t worry, it’s not mandatory; you can also descend slowly and steadily.
Jumping is terrifying, even though the free fall lasts only a few seconds at most. Yet, it gives an incredible adrenaline rush, and it’s even more satisfying when you find yourself back on the ground. After the bungee cord breaks your fall, you land on a large cushion.
Sky Walk Hanging Bridges: A Delightful Alternative
Ziplining is fantastic, but it doesn’t offer much opportunity to appreciate nature. Sure, you get a stunning view, but you rarely encounter wildlife, and there’s no information provided about the surroundings. That’s where the Sky Walk excursion comes in. It’s offered by the same park, and if you also book the ziplining adventure, you get a discount.
During the Sky Walk, you stroll through the Monteverde Cloud Forest, accompanied by a guide. Along the way, you encounter several impressive hanging bridges. The route spans 2.5 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to complete. The pace is relaxed, allowing you to stop frequently to admire unique plants and animals.
While it’s possible to walk the route without a guide, we strongly recommend against it. Our guide knows exactly where the elusive wildlife hides, creatures we would have never spotted otherwise. With their special binoculars, we get an up-close view of hairy tarantulas, colorful birds, and enormous monkeys.
Our Accommodation in Monteverde
Monteverde is quite touristy, so there are plenty of hotels to choose from. During our stay, we opt for this luxurious tent. It features a separate bathroom, an open-air kitchen with a stocked fridge, and a screened terrace. It’s safe to say we’re experiencing glamping at its finest.
The tent, which also offers Wi-Fi and Netflix, is located just outside the lively town center. Without a car, it may not be the most convenient place to stay. However, if you’re looking for a unique overnight experience in Monteverde, you must make a reservation at Chira Glamping Monteverde. The sunset there is absolutely stunning.