Hola amigos! Cómo estás? I knew you’d be back.
As most of you know, over Christmas I spent 7 wonderful days at the all-inclusive Riu Palace Costa Rica where I soaked up as much sun as I possibly could, sipped on some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, and made my way through the Cloud Forest in Monteverde where I fraternized with butterflies and sang with the hummingbirds. Well, there was one other thing we did that I think (considering it was probably the funnest thing we did outside of sipping on dirty monkeys and watching our tan deepen) may be useful for travelers headed South; we zip-lined.
The history of Zip Lining
According to USA Today travel tips, zip-lining in Costa Rica started with a pair of graduate students named John Williams and Donald Perry, both rock-climbing enthusiasts seeking a better view of their botanical and entomological subjects. In order to shorten the distance between them, William and Perry clipped themselves to a line and created the world’s first first zip line.
Up up… and away!
Knowing that we wanted to zip line since before arriving in-country, we arranged an excursion through our hotel that was operated by Sunwing Vacations. That being said, for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the tour. The good news is that no matter where you’re located in Costa Rica, you’ll find somewhere to zip line. In fact, many people choose to combine a visit to the Cloud Forest in Monteverde with zip lining in the region! There are so many forest and jungles scattered through the country, that you’re bound to find something that’s right for you.
After arriving to the zip line park which consisted of 11 ropes to zip from, the first thing we had to do was strap ourselves in. Our gear was hard core – so we liked to believe – and included a diaper like harness, protective gloves and an oh-so flattering helmet.
After getting decked out in the proper gear, we made way to the first platform. If you’re at all afraid of heights, like me, I suggest you just don’t look down. The platforms are pretty high and I found the waiting part to be the most frightening of all. When you set out to zip line, they give you a few instructions so you don’t fall to your death or get mangled by your zip line. Basically, the rules were:
– Always keep your hands in front of your zip line so you don’t slice off your fingers.
– Always keep at least one hand on the wire so you can control the speed and avoid smacking into the tree at the end of the rope.
– Always be sure you’re hooked to something whilst standing on the platform so you don’t plummet to your death, hundreds of feet below.
Our instructors were big jokers and thought it would be funny to shake the line as we flew, wobble the bridges (like the one pictured below) as we crossed and pretend to push us off the platforms before take-off. At first I wanted to murder them, but I eventually I loosened up and just enjoyed the ride!
Throughout our tour of the ropes, we tried out a bunch of different manoeuvers like flying upside down (talk about a head rush) and the superman, where you literally make yourself horizontal and wrap your legs around the person standing up. While both were pretty awesome, my favourite was the regular old front-facing zip line, where you could take in your surroundings and be one with the forest!
On a final note, one of the neat things about zip lining through the jungle is the possibility to see critters hiding in their natural habitat. While you’re zipping through the trees, don’t forget to look up to see just who – or what – is watching you!