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Zipline in Arenal or Monteverde: Which one is better?

Ziplines in Arenal vs. Monteverde: Which one is better?

You probably reached this post because you are planning your trip to Costa Rica, and you are wondering whether you should zipline in Arenal or Monteverde.

That’s a pretty common question and with good reason, because both places offer a wide variety of zip line experiences. If this is your situation, hang on as in this post, I will shed some light on this topic to help you decide if you should zipline in Arenal or Monteverde.

Before we dive deep into the details, let’s go over the question at hand right away;

Should You Zipline in Arenal or Monteverde? 

As a general rule, you should zipline in Arenal if you are looking for a more laid-back zipline experience. On the other hand, you should zipline in Monteverde if you want a more adventurous zipline experience. Zipline tours in Arenal are more relaxed, shorter, and less physically challenging. While at Monteverde, zipline tour companies have made a conscious effort to build the country’s most extreme, most extensive, and more physically demanding zipline courses.

Keep scrolling for more details on this topic, as I compare side by side Sky Trek Arenal, a zipline tour in the Arenal area, against Sky Trek Monteverde and Selvatura’s Ziplining Tour in Monteverde. 

Sky Trek Arenal Requires a Light Physical Effort 

Sky Trek Arenal is a “Platform to Platform” zipline course that requires minimal walking. As I explained in my article Detailed Review of Sky Trek Arenal, ziplining at Sky Trek Arenal takes between 7.5 and 10 minutes of total walking time. 

Less than 10 minutes of walking in a tour of 2.5 hours are not much at all. And you get plenty of time to recover between each segment where you need to walk. On top of this, pretty much all walking happens on flat grounds, with no steep climb, nor going upstairs. 

Another factor is that Sky Trek Arenal occurs between 500 and 1,000 meters (1,640 and 3,280 feet) above sea level, making it relatively easy to breathe while walking. 

So, Sky Trek Arenal feels pretty easygoing, making it the best option for elder people and families with young kids (five and up) looking for a zipline experience in Costa Rica. Here at MonteTours Costa Rica, we have successfully sent out dozens of seniors above the ages of 65, as well as families with young kids. 

For example, back in 2017, we had a german customer who was 89 years old. She stayed at Hotel El Bosque Monteverde and headed to La Fortuna as her next destination. She had never ziplined and asked us for a recommendation on whether or not she should zip line. She technically met all the requirements. She had no heart problems, no back issues, and was relatively physically fit. 

We booked her for Sky Trek Arenal, and she went there and had a blast. Later, she called us from her hotel in La Fortuna to tell us about her experience and how thankful she got a chance to zipline. 

Here is an online customer review from a senior couple who wrote about their Sky Trek Arenal experience on TripAdvisor: 

While staying in La Fortuna, we decided to go on the Sky Trek, Sky Walk, and zip lines with Sky Adventures Arenal. We are glad we did. We are in our 80’s and were concerned about the safety and our ability to keep up. All the others in the group were 40 years younger. We needn’t have worried. It was easy, safe, and thrilling. Sky Trek Arenal is an attraction you shouldn’t miss.” -John

Just like this couple and our friend from Germany had a blast at Sky Trek Arenal, so can you if you are also senior thinking about ziplining in Costa Rica. Again, the laid-back nature of this zipline tour makes it an excellent option for older people, provided they are in relatively good health. 

Likewise, Sky Trek Arenal is an excellent option for families with young kids. The last time my partner, Fatima, and I went ziplining at Sky Trek Arenal, we took my daughter, Camila, who was eight years old at the time. There was a family from Minnesota in our zipline group that day. They had two kids, a seven-year-old boy, and a five-year-old girl. 

We went first on the group because their kids wanted to see Camila zipline to gain the courage to go by themselves (at Sky Trek Arenal, you can choose if you prefer to send your kids with a tour guide or if they zipline solo). They had initially planned for their boy to go solo and their daughter to zipline with a tour guide. 

However, during the first zip line, a short line to practice and gain confidence, their daughter saw Camila jump in fearless and super excited. So, they decided to give it a try and let their daughter do that zip line alone. She managed it so well and enjoyed it so much that she ended up doing almost the entire zip line course by herself. She only traveled with a tour guide on the last two lines, the largest with 610 meters (2,001 feet) and 750 meters (2,461 feet). 

Another element that makes you feel very safe at Sky Trek Arenal is the staff’s customer service. They care so much for safety (especially for kids) that you will feel very comfortable. If you have young kids, I encourage you to take a quick look at my article Detailed Review of Sky Trek Arenal. Scroll down to see the video of zipline # 7 to see for yourself how gentle the Sky Trek Arenal’s staff is with kids. 

Throughout all the videos I posted on that article, you will hear me thank the staff time and again every time they took care of my daughter. As a parent, you value the safety of your kids as the number 1 top priority. That’s why I keep sending people their way. 

Here is a comment from a parent who felt the same way: 

I will never forget it, and they will probably never forget me, LOL! My kids and I were recently visiting Costa Rica for the first time. We had done some reading beforehand and knew we wanted to try zip lining in Arenal. We have never done anything like it before. I spent some time reading reviews, and we chose Sky Adventures as the place we would go based on all the positive things I read. All I can say is that THANK GOODNESS WE CHOSE THEM! These guys were the BEST! I felt safe, supported, and encouraged. These guys are my heroes, they are unique, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to have this extraordinary experience! THANK YOU!” -Laurie

Now that we have covered Sky Trek Arenal, and when you should consider ziplining there, let’s discuss when you should zipline in Monteverde; 

Ziplining in Monteverde is More Extreme and Physically Demanding

Did you know Monteverde was the first place in the world to establish a zipline tour? Back in the early 1,990s, when tourism was booming in Monteverde, mainly because the world wanted to meet the Monteverde Cloud Forest, a group of entrepreneurs established the first zipline tour in the world. 

As the number of visitors increased, the Original Canopy Tour, the first zipline tour, became obsolete, and new adventure companies developed more adventurous courses. This initial group of entrepreneurs went separate ways and partnered with these adventure companies to create four leading zipline tour companies; 

  • Sky Trek Monteverde by Sky Adventures Costa Rica, who eventually established Sky Trek Arenal, mentioned above. 
  • Selvatura Park, the most comercial adventure park in Monteverde. 
  • 100% Aventura Park, a zipline and hanging bridges theme park in the outskirts of Monteverde. 
  • Monteverde Extremo Park, the most extreme adventure park in Costa Rica, 30 minutes away from Monteverde.

Compared to the zip line experience offered by Sky Trek Arenal, all of the above tour companies provide a more adventurous zipline experience. I placed them in order of least to most extreme above, with Sky Trek Monteverde being the least intense and Monteverde Extremo the most adventurous ziplines. 

For example, in comparison with Sky Trek Arenal, which, as mentioned above, requires no more than 10 minutes of walking time in total, any of the above Monteverde zipline tours will need at least twice as much walking. 

Two more factors make Monteverde ziplines more intense than Arenal’s Sky Trek zip lines; uneven grounds and high elevation. 

Monteverde’s terrain is pretty uneven, with steep climbs all over the place. If you have never been to Monteverde, you will feel like it’s all uphill. Hiking while on a zipline tour will not only be for longer, but it will also be significantly more challenging. 

Aside from the difficulty of the terrain, Monteverde is between 1,400 and 1,800 meters (4,593 and 5,905 feet) above sea level, making it harder to breathe, especially when hiking uphill. 

The last reason that makes Monteverde’s zipline more challenging than Sky Trek Arenal is the non-platform-to-platform ziplining style prominent in Monteverde. Unlike Sky Trek Arenal, where you zip line from platform to platform, at Monteverde, you have to climb stairs to reach most platforms. 

For example, at Selvatura Ziplining Tour, you begin the zipline course by hiking uphill for 10 minutes to reach the first platform. Then, you zipline down the forest from platform 1 to platform 2, at the ground level. Then, you have to hike a few more minutes to reach the base of platform number 3. Once you get there, you have to climb stairs to reach the platform’s edge, where you catch the next zipline. 

So, all zipline tours in Monteverde require a combination of hiking and climbing stairs, making it difficult for people who can’t walk much, including seniors and families with young kids. 

However, on the bright side, Monteverde offers the most adventurous zipline experiences in the country with some crazy long lines. For example, the Superman zipline at the 100% Aventura Canopy Tour, a fantastic 1.6-kilometer (1 mile) zipline. At the 100% Aventura Superman, they attach you to the line to the back of your body so that you can fly like Superman. 

Most zip line tours in Monteverde also offer additional attractions such as the Mega Tarzan Swing and the Extreme Bungee Jump by Monteverde Extremo. Sometimes they include these interests (or a similar version of them) with the zip line tour. Other times, they are sold separately as an extra item. For more detailed information on what each zipline tour includes in Monteverde, visit my article Top 4 Best Zipline Tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica


Given the adventurous and more physically challenging 

nature of zipline tours in Monteverde, ziplining in this region of Costa Rica is for those physically fit looking for a more intense zip line experience. 

Here ends my article, and I hope it helps you decide whether you should zip line in Arenal or Monteverde. 

Are you looking for a more relaxed, easygoing zipline experience? Zipline in Arenal, with a tour company like Sky Trek Arenal.

Are you looking for a more intense zipline experience? Zipline in Monteverde. 

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About the Author

Daniel Lalinde holding a mountain bikeDaniel Lalinde

I am the founder of MonteTours Costa Rica. I live in Monteverde, and I love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time in the outdoors and dining out in Monteverde. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in the area, and there is no park, no coffee shop, and no restaurant we haven’t tried at least once!

We love helping visitors, connecting them with the different tours and activities to have a memorable experience in Monteverde.

If you need help planning things to do in the area, send us a message, and we will happily assist you!