Everything You Need to Know About Ziplining in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not remotely lacking in adventurous opportunities. Most of them I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole, because I’m a wuss (a casual walk through the rainforest in the dark? No thanks!). But one of the things I knew we had to try was zip lining in Costa Rica. I’m not sure what I was thinking, because I’m so dang afraid of heights.
But ultimately I knew that if I didn’t do it my husband and my kids would go on and on about how amazing it was. And what am I more afraid of than heights? Feeling left out!
So thanks to FOMO and my attempt at being a cool mom, I did it. And I’m here on the other side to say that it was totally worth it! So read on to see everything we learned about zip lining in Costa Rica!
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Choosing a Tour Company
Because we would be staying near Manuel Antonio National Park, there were 2 main companies that we considered. One was Titi Canopy Tour and the other was Canopy Safari.
Both get amazingly consistent reviews on Trip Advisor which made me feel comfortable with either choice. But we ended up going with Canopy Safari, mostly because they had more reviews and have been in business longer. They also include with their tour a serpentarium, a butterfly garden, transportation, and a buffet breakfast or lunch (depending on your tour time).
Canopy Safari Tours
From beginning to end we were blown away by their customer service, attention to safety, and overall attempt at making this an amazing experience for our entire family.
Your experience starts with being picked up from your area hotel in an air conditioned tour bus which then takes you on a 10-15 minute ride deeper into the rainforest. You then transition to a military style vehicle ride that would have almost been worth the cost of admission by itself.
It felt a little like the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Disney World, without the giraffes and lions.
When we arrived we were offered a snack of fresh fruit and fresh watermelon juice. Then they took us on a 15 minute tour of the serpentarium and butterfly garden. Having been to La Paz Waterfall garden a few days earlier (read about that here), this felt a little underwhelming. But it was a nice way to calm my nerves before the main event.
Once we were all fitted and equipped with our harnesses and helmets it was time to go! And can I just say that I have never felt more attractive than I did in that clunky helmet and muffin top inducing harness? It’s a good look.
What to wear when you go Ziplining
Definitely sneakers. At first I thought wearing hiking sandals might be best in case my feet got wet, but you will want to have your toes covered when you’re coming in for a landing. And if a sandal did happen to fall off, there’s no way you’re getting it back!
As far as clothing goes, we all tried to wear comfortable moisture-wicking clothes. It did rain a little bit at the end so we were glad to be in something quick-drying.
My kids were comfortable in athletic shorts and t-shirts.
I wore what I would wear to work out in. Something stretchy and comfortable that covered most of my legs. You could get away with wearing shorts, but that harness will be pulling in all sorts of places, so you will probably be more comfortable in something a little longer. My husband wore athletic pants but shorts would have been fine too.
What You Should Bring
- Cash – As in american dollars. You’ll need it to purchase the photographs (which I highly recommend) and to tip your guides. They really do make all the difference in your experience and work really hard to make it a memorable time. I believe they split it amongst all the guides and even the kitchen staff so don’t forget to do this.
- Bug Spray- Apply it before putting on your harness. They asked us not to put it on once you’re suited up because it can damage the equipment.
- A change of clothes- Especially in the rainy season. We got drizzled on at the very end and didn’t end up needing to change, but I can see if you got drenched that you would want to change before boarding the bus.
- Backpack– you obviously won’t bring this on the course with you but you’ll need somewhere to stash all of the above items. You are literally in the middle of the jungle so leaving your bag behind is totally safe.
How Much Does Ziplining Cost?
The rate for 2020 at Canopy Safari is $95 per person. The cost includes transportation to and from your hotel, the epic truck ride through the jungle, bilingual tour guides, all equipment, a professional photographer (cost of photos not included), and a buffet breakfast or lunch.
But as you’ll see below this cost us $0 thanks to credit card reward points.
Can you pay with credit card points?
Yes! We were able to book the entire excursion with Chase Ultimate Reward Points. As of today it will cost you 5,666 points per person.
What is the Minimum Age/Weight for Ziplining?
I wasn’t able to find an official posted minimum age or weight requirement, but my 5 year old is a twig (right around 40 lbs.) and they had no problem fitting him securely in a harness. He, along with my 7 year old did have to ride the last zip line with a guide in order to have enough weight to get across.
There is also a 300 lb weight limit for the entire course although they say it is built to accommodate much more and that their harnesses fit anyone with up to a 52 inch waist.
How Much Time Should We Plan For?
From pick up to drop off you’ll want to give yourself about 5 hours.
What if I’m Afraid of Heights?
You mean, like me? (Although I swear I wasn’t at scared as I look!). During the days leading up to it I was so nervous that I would hate every minute and freeze up at every turn. But honestly, the guides were so calm and reassuring and their playfulness and friendly teasing put me at ease. Once you get going and start focusing on the scenery you really do forget that you’re so far off the ground.
My 5 year old was also pretty hesitant at first but as you can see, by the end he was flipping upside down and begging for more.
Is Ziplining Safe?
Yes! The tour guides, while funny and lighthearted, take safety very seriously.
And what I didn’t realize beforehand was that you are ALWAYS connected to a safety line. Maybe that’s obvious but I just had no idea. When you’re standing on a platform you are connected to the line on the tree and you are not unhooked from that until you are hooked to the next zip line.
Trust me, I was watching like a hawk and studying how the whole thing worked. There is very little room left for error and the guides don’t mess around when it comes to keeping you safe.
- Choose the earliest time slot. It is less likely to rain early in the morning, it will be cooler, and you’ll be back at your hotel early in the afternoon.
- Don’t bother bringing your phone on the course. You’ll risk losing it, and the pictures the guides take will be WAY better anyway.
- Just do it. Even if you’re scared! Like I said, this was by far the highlight of our trip for our entire family. I will be sad for you if you miss it!
If you’re considering zip lining with your family and you have any questions about zip lining with kids or what to expect, leave them in the comments below. I’d love to help ease any fears you have and give you more information than you need! Reading about others’ experiences helped a ton when we were making these arrangements so don’t be shy!
Find Out More!!
To read more about how we paid for almost ALL OF THIS TRIP with points and miles read this.
For our full 10 day itinerary you’ll want to read this post.
And if you’re planning a vacation and found this information helpful, would you please, please, please pin this on Pinterest? It helps expand my reach and support this blog! Thanks so much!
How fun! My husband and I zip lined on our honeymoon in Costa Rica and it was amazing! I love that you took your kids!
That’s awesome! Isn’t there just so much to love about that country? If I didn’t have a list a mile long of other places I want to visit I’d be back this summer.