Detailed Review of Sky Trek Arenal
Detailed Review of Sky Trek Arenal (Pros and Cons)
After I wrote the article “Detailed Review of Sky Trek Monteverde,” people started to ask me for a review of Sky Trek Arenal, mainly because they wanted to know whether they should zipline in Arenal or Monteverde.
So I decided to go on a trip to Sky Trek Arenal with my partner, Fatima, and my eight-year-old, Camila. I had been to Sky Trek Arenal back in 2016, but the experience was different because I went as part of a tour group rather than with my family.
In this post, I will share a complete perspective of the pros and cons of the Sky Trek Arenal zipline tour.
I will explain who is the right candidate to go on the Sky Trek Arenal ziplining tour based on its difficulty level, its safety measures, and what the trip includes with the price.
Let’s start with the critical takeaways before we dive deep:
Sky Trek Arenal Key Takeaways:
- Sky Trek Arenal is the best zip line tour in Arenal for families with young children.
- Sky Trek Arenal features the fastest zip line in the country, which goes up to 80 km/h – 50 mi/h.
- Sky Trek Arenal is an easygoing “platform to platform” zipline that requires no walking.
- Sky Trek Arenal includes a 20-minute Gondola Ride, a visit to Arenal’s hand lookout, and seven zip lines.
- Sky Trek Arenal is the most expensive zipline course in Costa Rica ($84 for adults, $58 for kids).
Sky Trek Arenal Summary Table
Keep scrolling for more details.
Who Should Visit Sky Trek Arenal?
Anyone can do Sky Trek Trek as long as they are at least 120 cm tall (3.9 feet), have no history of severe back or heart problems, or are in pregnancy. However, this tour is especially recommended for families with young kids (preferably five and up) because it features the only zipline course in the country that requires no walking.
Zipline From Platform to Platform at Sky Trek Arenal
Sky Trek Arenal requires minimal walking. I have been doing zip lines around the country for the last decade. Other zip line courses like Selvatura’s Ziplining Tour in Monteverde and Sky Trek Monteverde require minimal walking. None can beat the easygoing path at Sky Trek Arenal.
At Sky Trek Arenal, you walk for less than 10 minutes in the entire tour, which lasts about 2 hours. This tour is the real “no walking” zip line experience. You first walk from the main reception area where you check-in to where you get the safety instructions and the equipment (approximately 2 minutes). Then, you rest while you learn the teachings.
Next, you walk again to the Gondola (30 seconds). Then you take the Gondola ride to reach the Arenal’s hand lookout at the park’s top. The ride on the Gondola is fantastic. You go through the forest and get the best views of the Arenal surroundings, including the volcano and the lake.
Once you reach the end of the Gondola ride, you will get to a vast and flat platform. A few points look at Arenal’s lake, Arenal’s volcano, and Arenal’s Cerro Chato are available on this platform. Visiting those lookouts takes a walking distance of a few seconds between each station (so you walk for 2 minutes tops). You will wait for your zip line assigned group here while the Gondola. There are three Gondolas, and each one carries six people. Depending on the size of your given group, you might need to spend 20 to 30 minutes on this platform. Time goes by fast, though. The views are so astonishing you will not notice when the time to start zip lining is up.
Then, you will start the zipline course (which I will cover in greater detail below), going from one platform to the next via ziplines, not walking (the only zipline tour I have experienced like this, and I have been to many courses around the country).
Once you reach the last platform, you will need to climb down approximately 50 stairs (another 2 minutes) before getting back to reception to end the tour.
So the total walking time is 7.5 to 10 minutes throughout the entire 2-hour course, which is excellent for small kids. KIDS WANT TO HAVE FUN, as I mentioned in my detailed review of Selvatura’s zipline tour in Monteverde. They don’t walk to walk around carrying a heavy pulley in their arms. At Selvatura, we walked a total of 20 minutes, and we had to climb stairs on almost all the platforms. Hiking this much at the high altitude of Monteverde can be a bit overwhelming for kids. It’s not dramatic. But certainly not as fun as when they don’t have to walk, just zipline.
Sky Trek Arenal Zipline Course Map
Sky Trek Arenal Zipline Step-by-Step Course Description
At Sky Trek Arenal, you begin by grabbing the equipment and getting the instructions. Then you jump in the Gondola (Sky Tram Arenal) to reach the Arenal’s hand. Then you go through each of the seven zip lines. Below is a detailed description of each step, along with a video.
Equipment Room at Sky Trek Arenal
The tour starts at the Equipment Room, where the staff provides you with a Helmet and a Harness to begin your adventure. If you would like to rent a GoPro (which I recommend), you need to let them know at this point.
Briefing and Instructions at Sky Trek Arenal
Then you go outside, where a tour guide will play a recording and mimic the instructions you need to follow. There are three basic steps; how to break, how to position your body, and what to do if you get stuck.
How to brake: You will lose your legs in “V” shape and will swing your body from left to right, staying 1 or 2 seconds, apply pressure with your body to each direction. Braking is unnecessary unless the guide at the arrival platform shakes your cable, signaling that you are coming in too fast. I will talk more about braking soon.
How to position your body: You need to spread your legs in a “V” shape when reaching the end of the zip line. This way, when the automatic brake stops you at the end, you will keep your body in balance. Opening your legs will also prevent you from beating your feet against the cable when reaching the braking gadget. You will see this in the first person and third person in each zip line video below. Don’t worry about this. It’s easy.
What to do if you get stuck: You can “stuck” on a zip line if you do not carry enough speed to reach the end. So, during the instructions, the guide will show you how to crawl to the end of the line by pulling yourself using the zipline. I will talk more about getting stuck later in this post. Don’t worry about this either.
Sky Tram Arenal (Gondola Ride) at Sky Trek Arenal
Sky Trek Arenal includes a 20-minute beautiful ride on a Gondola named “Sky Tram Arenal.” The Gondola will take you from the reception areas deep into the forest. The ride is 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) ascending 400 meters (1,312 feet) to reach the park’s top.
Arenal’s Hand at Sky Trek Arenal
After the Gondola ride, you reach a beautiful platform with panoramic views and the famous Arenal’s hand.
Zip Line #1 at Sky Trek Arenal is to Practice
The first zip line is for testing and demonstration purposes, it’s relatively small, but it’s suitable for its purpose.
Zip Line #2 at Sky Trek Arenal: The Highest Zip Line in Costa Rica
The second zip line is the highest one from the ground level in the country. Wow. That one feels so amazing. It’s high up there.
Zip Line #3 at Sky Trek Arenal: “El Pilon”
The third line is called “El Pilon.” Its name comes after a 300-year-old three tree named “Pilon” at the end of the zip line. Tour guides crack a joke saying that “Pilon” will catch you on the other side. They mean that if you don’t apply enough brakes before reaching the end of the line, you will crash against this tree.
Speaking of brakes, unlike other zipline tour companies like Extremo and Aventura, you don’t need to worry about how braking works at Sky Trek Arenal. Braking here is effortless, and if you can’t make you on your own, a tour guide will stop you with a braking system towards the end of each line. If you want to see how this braking system works, watch the videos below.
Going back to the Pilon joke, it’s important to mention that Sky Trek Arenal has been the safest zipline tour in La Fortuna and Arenal region ever since they opened their doors to the public back in 1997. So, Pilon hasn’t caught anyone yet, and more than likely, it never will. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth a thousand pictures, so watch the below videos and see yourself how safe zip lining is at Sky Trek Arenal.
Zip Line #4 at Sky Trek Arenal: Speedy Gonzales
Line number 4 is called Speedy Gonzales. Named after the animated cartoon character in the Looney Tunes, Speedy Gonzales is the second-fastest zip line in the country. You can reach speeds of up to 75 km / h ( 46.6 mi / h). You will recharge on nature’s adrenaline high on this zip line.
Zip Line #5 at Sky Trek Arenal: The Second-Longest Zip Line
Line number 5 is the second-longest zip line in Sky Trek Arenal. That one is not as steep as the previous line. Thus it will not go as fast. But it is indeed very long, and the views are amazing.
You will notice that there are two parallel lines on this platform. The reason for this is that depending on the weather condition (i.e., if it’s too windy), there are changes you might get “stuck” in the middle of the line, and you might not reach the end. If you apply brakes early on, you can also get stuck, so they will not have enough inertia to keep going until the end. So, the group will use the second line if someone gets stuck on the first one.
Getting stuck happens on rare occasions, but it does happen. And when it does, there are two ways to reach the end of the zip line. One way is to pull yourself with your hands by turning around (i.e., facing the platform from where you jumped off), grabbing the zip line, and stretching and pulling your body until you reach the next platform (can be a bit tough, but doable for most people). If you cannot make it yourself, the other way is to ask for help, and a tour guide will go pick you up.
Zip Line #6 at Sky Trek Arenal: The Fastest Zip Line in Costa Rica
Line number 6 is the most extensive zip line at Sky Trek Arenal, an impressive 750-meter (2,460 feet) zip line overlooking Arenal’s lake and the volcano.
Zipline number six, called “Big Daddy” by the locals, is fantastic. It’s the fastest zip line in Costa Rica, reaching an impressive speed of 80 km / h (50 mi / h).
Besides being the largest, the fastest, and the most scenic zip line at Sky Trek Arenal, “Big Daddy” also goes through the forest at one point. That was one of the highlights of my trip. Going through the woods so fast felt like going into a tunnel at max speed.
This zip line alone is worth the trip to Arenal, and it should be on your Costa Rica bucket list.
Zip Line #7 at Sky Trek Arenal: Pretty Short Zip Line
The last zip line is relatively short; merely a zip line put in place to get back to the reception area. As mentioned above, you climb down about 50 stairs before doing this last zip line, and then you get back to reception. Here is pretty much where the tour ends.
Once you get back to reception, the staff will remove your harness and helmet. The team will then show you the pictures they took during your trip. If you like the photos, you can purchase them there, and they will email them to you right away. I highly recommend that you buy the pictures. This trip will be a highlight of your trip to Costa Rica, so you might as well carry those memories with you.
In this last video, I let my daughter Camila go first. I wanted to reinforce my point around security and how well the staff treats kids, so I let her and Fatima go first to record how gentle the team is when sending people down the zip lines. I will talk a bit more about this in the next section.
Sky Trek Arenal is the Safest Zipline Tour in Arenal
Sky Trek Arenal takes safety extremely seriously. They have a “Safety First” policy in the DNA of their entire company, both at Arenal and in Monteverde.
The brake system at Sky Trek Arenal is different from the traditional zip line brake system used by the other companies in the region, where you have to stop yourself by grabbing the zip line with a leather glove, which can potentially lead to injuries.
Sky Trek Arenal is also highly focused on your experience. They are the most customer-centric adventure company in the country, with 25 years in the industry and superb customer service protocols. You will be in good hands, especially if you take kids with you. The staff treats kids so gentle you will never thank them enough.
Sky Trek Arenal Cons:
Now that we have discussed the benefits of Sky Trek Arenal, let’s take some time to review the cons; it’s expensive and commercial.
Sky Trek Arenal is Pricey
Without a doubt, price is the number one disadvantage at Sky Trek Arenal compared to all other ziplining tours in the area.
Sky Trek Arenal is $84 for adults and $58 for kids, almost twice as much as other zip line tours in Arenal and La Fortuna. However, there is no way you can compare Sky Trek Arenal with the rest. They don’t have any competition. Sky Trek Arenal is much more extensive, much more fun, much safer, has better views, and we can go on and on. After we ended the tour, I did not see anyone dissatisfied in our group. Everyone was so excited and thankful that the price we paid seemed like a minor thing.
Still, if Sky Trek Arenal is beyond your planned budget, I would recommend that you zip line in Monteverde. That is about 3.5 hours away from Arenal, but most people who visit Arenal also visit Monteverde, so it might already be in your plans to go there. Monteverde features the most extreme zip lines in the country, and the prices are lower than Sky Trek Arenal. The average zip line tour in Monteverde is $50 for adults and $30 for kids.
Sky Trek Arenal is Pretty Commercial
Sky Adventures is the most established tourism adventure company in Costa Rica. It has three parks, two luxury hotels, and a wide array of activities. As such, it’s trendy.
Sky Trek Arenal can get extremely busy, especially during the high tourism season from December through April, where the park gets up to 1,000 visitors per day.
Sky Trek Arenal (the zipline tour alone) can get up to 600 people per day, so you need to make reservations ahead of time, and you also need to be patient as your group can get pretty significant, so waiting times can be an issue.
However, the views at the park are so astonishing that waiting for your turn might not be such a big deal. It sure wasn’t for my family and me. We had a blast, made some friends along the way, and just enjoyed every moment, but I prefer to give you a heads-up, just in case.
Here ends my review on Sky Trek Arenal. I hope this review was helpful and if so, please share it with other fellow travelers who might need this information.
Is Sky Trek Arenal For You?
As mentioned above, Sky Trek Arenal can get very busy, and you will want to make reservations ahead of time. If you consider that Sky Trek Monteverde is your best choice, you can use this link to check real-time availability, book, and get instant confirmation.
About the Author
I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. 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!