The attraction: Zip-line tours are one of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions for visitors to this gorgeous and green Central American country. For anyone not familiar with the activity, a zip-line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable mounted on an incline. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable, by holding on or attaching to the freely moving pulley. For a more non-technical description, one travels through the treetops of rainforests at breakneck speeds, high above where mere mortals walk the land.
The pros: Although I have never gone bungee jumping or jumped out of an airplane, I found my zip-lining experience pretty daring and adventurous. If you’re ever looking for an adrenaline experience while on vacation in the Switzerland of Latin America, I highly recommend zip lining. The ethereal beauty of being in the clouds, in a sanctuary of tree tops amongst birds and other animals in their natural habitats is amazing. It’s almost as if you leave behind the tourist development on the ground and high above you descend into natural wonder, how the country would have looked for centuries. I haven’t gone zip-lining since, although it’s an experience I would do again in a heartbeat if I had the chance. (Note: I’m trying to get D to do it when we’re vacationing in Hawaii later this year, although I have been met with fierce resistance on this).
The con: I can genuinely say there is only one con and it’s somewhat minor. Because you travel at such fast speeds, you can’t really take photographs. You may hear the wondrous call of a toucan off in the distance but due to all of your reflexes being otherwise engaged when braking before you run into a tree, picture taking is just not optimal. But this shouldn’t deter you from doing one of the most invigorating experiences ever because such things called “canopy walks” are also offered. (You walk through a series of hanging bridges in the tree tops. They are not as high up as the zip-lines but since you’re walking you can obviously snap a photo or two without posing immediate danger to yourself.)
Conclusion: I’ll admit, I was absolutely petrified before I embarked on my first ride on the cable. Between the height and speed of the cables, in addition to being told by your guide that if you don’t brake properly, you could potentially die, I wanted to abstain. But once I was harnessed in and pushed off the platform by the guide, all fears I had immediately evaporated and I became free as a bird. Go on one; you won’t regret it.