Costa Rica boasts some of the best zip-lining in all of Central America
Ziplining through the treetops gives thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies of all ages opportunities to experience Costa Rica’s forest canopies in a guided, supervised and safe way. Most experienced Z-liners agree that the cloud forest in and around Monteverde and Arenal is one of the best places for adventure and landscape.
The area is famous for its biodiversity: more than 100 mammal species and 400 bird species, as well as approximately 2,500 plant species, thousands of insect species and more orchids than anywhere else in the world. Zip-lining through the cloud forest canopy provides visitors with a unique view of the forest and its inhabitants.
A recent article Travel + Leisure article named Sky Trek in Arenal, Monteverde Extremo, Montezuma Waterfall Canopy Tour, Corcovado Canopy Tour, and Witches Rock Canopy Tour as 5 of the best in Costa Rica for thrills and chills.
Sky Trek in Arenal
Sky Trek’s 2.5-hour tour circuit has 7 cables; the longest is 760 meters and the highest is 200 meters off the ground. Also included is an open-air tram ride up to the mountain-top observation area and the tour’s launch point. The lines stretch across canyons and through the trees, taking Z-liners down the mountain to their starting point.
Monteverde Extremo Park
From a starting point of nearly 1,400 feet and 14 platforms, “Extremo” is the word. The 2.5-hour tour mixes natural beauty with an indescribable adrenaline rush; 4 of the cables are almost half-a-mile long. At the end of the zip-line tour, visitors who didn’t get a big enough buzz can try the free Tarzan swing. Other options include a separate Superman zip-line—long and fast, as well as a mid-cable bungee jump option.
Montezuma Waterfall Canopy Tour
Sun Trails operates this tour takes in 2 waterfalls on the southeastern coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. The tour has 9 cables connecting 13 platforms high above the forest floor. During the tour, Z-liners can literally jump into the pools at the base of the famous waterfalls. Transportation from area hotels is extra or go by water taxi (1 hr. from Jacó Beach).
While the first 3 tours feature the cloud forests of Monteverde and Arenal, the Corcovado and Witches Rock tours showcase distinctly different bio-zones: rainforests and dry tropical forests.
Corcovado Canopy Tour
This tour opens Costa Rica’s crowning ecological glory, Corcovado National Park, for observation from a different perspective. One of the most biologically diverse places on earth, the variety of plant and animal life is like nowhere else—one of the last wild places on earth. The tour has a minimum of 2 people and maximum of 8. The $115 per person fee includes guide, lunch, park entry fee and transportation. Corcovado is the largest park in Costa Rica and protects about a third of the Osa Peninsula.
Witches Rock Canopy Tour
This tour on the Papagayo Peninsula takes Z-liners through Guanacaste’s dry tropical forest canopy and includes scenic views of landscape akin to the savannahs of Africa and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The original tour (1.5 hours has 24 platforms, 11 cables (100 – 450 meters), 3 suspension bridges, and 3 climbing trees. There are also 5 exit routes for those who become fainthearted mid-tour. A newer and shorter zip-line and rappelling tour allows youngsters and oldsters to enjoy zip-lining on a smaller scale. The hour-long tour ends with an optional rappel from the last platform.
To be sure, there are plenty of canopy tours throughout Costa Rica, where recreational zip-lining was invented by Donald Perry while he was a graduate student working in the country’s forests. In and around Jacó, as well as Manuel Antonio National Park and the Central Valley, there’s a wide choice of canopy tour operators. Costa Rica Canopy & Aerial Tram, near Jacó, offers thrills a plenty for Z-liners, as well as a Tranopy (open-air tram) for the less adventurous. Naturalist guides point out canopy residents along the way.
Costa Rican Trails has a combo canopy-canyoning tour near Turrialba that includes rappelling on four waterfalls, ziplining through the canopy, and a 132-foot hanging bridge for an unforgettable adrenaline rush.
Regardless of where in Costa Rica you choose to visit, your team at Small Distinctive Hotels of Costa Rica and your hotel staff are local experts and can help you choose and book the zip-line tour that’s perfect for everyone in the group. Nearly every tour operator provides shuttle service from area hotels or hotel staff can arrange transportation for you.