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WHERE ARE THE BEST ZIP LINES IN MONTEVERDE?

a person jumping in the air

Skytrek (Zip Lines) at Sky Adventures

There are four main ziplining parks in Monteverde, and understanding the differences between these adventure parks will help you decide which zip line tour is best for you…

Customers have asked me this question thousands of times and on this post, I will share all the insight I have gathered over the years, so you can determine which ziplining tour suits you best

This information will hopefully save you a lot of time in research, browsing multiple websites and reading countless (and sometimes mixed) customer reviews, so let’s dive in:

  • What is a Ziplining Tour in Costa Rica?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • The 5 Ziplining Parks in Monteverde
  • How to Book Your Ziplining Adventure

 

What is a Ziplining Tour in Costa Rica?

Ecotourism has always played an important role in Costa Rica but as it grew and evolved, it became apparent that another aspect of tourism began to take the center stage. Visitors to Costa Rica didn’t just want to see tropical wildlife, they also wanted to go on horseback rides, hike through rainforest, and do other exciting activities in beautiful surroundings. Adventure tourism was what people wanted and there was one exhilarating activity in particular at the heart of it all: ziplining through the canopy of tropical forest, and this gave birth to the first ziplining tour in the world which was developed in the Monteverde cloud forest about 30 years ago.

But what exactly is a zipline tour? In short, a zipline tour involves putting on a harness, hardhat, and gloves before zipping down a series of cables. Some cables can be quite long, and others quite high, some in the Superman mode, others in the form of a Tarzan swing or a Rappel cable. And most of them tend to pass through the upper levels of the Monteverde cloud forest. And although it’s not the greatest way to see wildlife, flying down a zipline is certainly one of the most unique, memorable, and exciting things a person can do when visiting the country. In fact, quite a few people mention ziplining being a major highlight of their trip to Costa Rica.

Since this exciting, popular activity got its start in Monteverde Costa Rica, it should come as no surprise that there are several zipline operators in the area. The four top zipline operators in Monteverde all offer exciting zipline experiences high above the forest floor. And after the tour, they all offer the chance to purchase photos or a movie of the zipline experience. But they also differ in a couple of ways, and we hope that the below information will help you decide which one is best for you, but first we will walk you through the most frequently asked questions we have received about zip lines over the last couple of years.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I Zipline in Arenal or Monteverde?

Costa Rica has ziplining tours all over the country, and the best ones are located in Arenal (La Fortuna) and Monteverde.

And the reality is that both locations are great for ziplining and they feature some of the best adventure parks in the country but if I had to choose, I would definitely recommend Monteverde.

There is a couple of reasons for this. First, Monteverde was the first place (in the world) to introduce a ziplining canopy tour, and with the years and the gathering of user feedback, the parks have gotten much better.

The second reason is that the weather is much more favorable for ziplining in Monteverde. Arenal (La Fortuna) is too humid and at times it can also get too hot, which would not be a problem is you were flying down zip lines all the time but the issue is that a significant part of the tour is spent on the platforms where you wait for your turn to go, while on the other side, the cool weather of Monteverde feels very refreshing, even as you wait for your turn to go down the zipline.  

The last reason is that there are a lot more mosquitoes in Arenal due to the humid conditions… I remember the last time I went to Sky Adventures Arenal, I really had an unpleasant time with this. Being a Costa Rican and having travelled most of our coasts, I like to think that I handle myself pretty well when it comes down to dealing with mosquitoes bites, but this last ziplining episode was different. I felt so frustrated being there on the platform with nowhere to move around while being bitten time and again, countless times… Not cool. The waiting time felt forever and I remember how I was counting the platforms to finish… Somehow, I do not recall having such a bad experience the previous two times I went ziplining there but this one was not fun… That was about 3 years ago and I am not planning on doing that again… Especially considering that quite the opposite happens in Monteverde… 

You see, the higher elevation in Monteverde and its cooler weather provide a vantage point in that most mosquitoes just can’t live at those altitudes and under those weather conditions, so you will typically feel pretty free of mosquitoes in this area, including the cloud forests and tropical forests where ziplines are based…

So in conclusion, my vote goes to Monteverde and I recommend you do your ziplines there if you can… Arenal (La Fortuna) has many other attractions you can enjoy (which I will cover in another post -I go there frequently because my mom lives there and my daughter loves the place), but when it comes to ziplining tours, choose Monteverde.

  • Are ziplines dangerous? Is it safe to zipline in Monteverde?

When people ask if ziplines are safe, the short answer is yes, ziplines are generally pretty safe in Monteverde.

After that question is out of the way, the questions that follow usually go like this…

  • Are they fast? Yes 🙂
  • Are they scary? Some of them 🙂
  • Can zip lines break? Can they snap? Very unlikely! Otherwise they would probably not be any ziplining adventure parks in the country…

As with any adventure tour, there are always risks involved but considering the data that the tour operators share with us annually, the conclusion is that zip lines are generally very safe in Monteverde Costa Rica. While there have been a few accidents over the years, they have usually come as a result of not following the instructions (i.e. not applying breaks when the tour guide indicates). The number of incidents has not been statistically significant and the resulting impact has fortunately not been severe.

Obviously, we can’t guarantee that all will go well but judging by the overwhelming number of tours without issues, the data suggests that as long as you pay attention to your tour guide at the start of the tour during the briefing, as well as during the actual tour, you should be fine.

So in conclusion, ziplines are safe as long as you follow the instructions from your tour guide and if you are worried about having to manually break, as you will discover below, Sky Adventures Monteverde features an automatic break system that will let you enjoy the adventure with no worries in mind, and we will go in more detail on this when we compare the ziplining parks in the next section. 

  • Is there a weight limit for ziplining in Monteverde?

Yes and no. There is a limit but it’s not related to weight. Zip lines are metal cables that can hold up to 2,300 kilos (5,000 pounds). However when it comes to ziplining tours, there another factor that plays a key role on whether or not you will be able to do this activity; the seize around your waist and tights.

There is a security harness needs to go around your waist and tights and it has limit of around 115 cm and 79 cm respectively (45 and 31 inches).

If you can fit tightly based on the above seize limits, we would highly recommend that you skip zip lines. You might technically fit, but the harness will feel way too tight and this will feel awfully uncomfortable because a significant portion of your overall weight will be carried by this piece of equipment due to how weight is distributed in reference to your center of gravity as you are gliding town the zip lines.

  • Can I zipline while pregnant?

No, definitely no. At least not in Monteverde Costa Rica… But the good news is that most zip line parks in the area have other attractions that can keep you busy while your significant other goes zip lining. You could for example go on a Treetop Canopy Walk, visit a Butterfly Garden.

  • How old do you have to be to zipline in Monteverde?

The parks in Monteverde do not have an age minimum for kids to do zip lines. However, they do need to be at least 120cm tall (4 feet tall) and we typically recommend that they are at least 5 years old. We also do not recommend to take your kids younger than 10 to the Monteverde Extremo Park, since as you will learn below, this is the most extreme zip line in the area, so it might be a bit too much for them.

When kids come to zip line to Monteverde adventure parks, the tour guide will usually give you two options. Your children can either zip line with you (both of you will have the security harnesses and all the usual safety equipment, but instead of sending them alone, you go in pairs with your kids) or with a tour guide. This is handled case by case, but you shouldn’t worry about this, tour guides come across these situations daily.

  • What’s the best time of day to zipline in Monteverde?

We recommend that you try to go early in the morning. Most ziplining adventure parks have 3 to 4 schedules for zip line tours. The first tour is usually around 8 am, the second tour at mid morning, then another at mid day and a final one at around 2 pm. For precise times, keep scrolling down to see all the different options available at each park.

If you can, try to do the first tour. This is usually the least busy time (even though it might seem crazy busy during peak season!) and so you will have even more attention from your tour guides and overall just a better experience!

The busiest one is the mid morning tour. Try to avoid this one unless your schedule really forces you to go at this time. There will be lots of people and so the adrenaline and the adventure can be a bit diminished as a result.

 

The 5 Ziplining Adventure Parks in Monteverde

  • Sky Adventures Monteverde

The Sky Adventures Monteverde Park has been offering a zipline tour through the canopy of mature cloud forest for many years. After a scenic gondola ride to the first platform, participants zip down ten cables through a beautiful tropical forest with immense trees. The surroundings make this one of the more natural and secluded zipline courses. Braking with the pulley rather than gloved hands and no walking between platforms also make this one of the easier zipline courses but that doesn’t take away from the adventure. An optional Tarzan swing is included and participants have the choice of ending the zipline course with a bungee jump or a controlled rappel to the ground. The lack of walking, tram ride, and other factors make this a good choice for folks looking for a more natural, easy going adventure.

Quick Summary – Sky Adventures Monteverde:
• 10 lines of 100 meter (300 feet) to 750 meter (2,460 feet) lengths.
• Tram ride with fantastic views.
• No walking, ziplining from platform to platform.
• Brake with pulley, not hands.
• Optional Tarzan swing.
• On site restaurant.
• Can be combined with canopy walkway bridges and tree climbing.
• More expensive than other zipline options.

 

  • Selvatura Park

A kid wearing a zipline hat

A large private park with wide canopy walkways, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and other options, Selvatura also offers an extensive zipline course. Since this site is a popular attraction with one group taking the zipline tour after another and cables passing over the canopy bridges, the experience can give some folks a bit of an amusement park feeling. That said, the majority of people are very much pleased with the professional, friendly staff and overall experience.

The zipline course includes thirteen cables, one of which is a kilometer in length (!), fifteen platforms, an optional Tarzan swing and little to no walking. It’s a long, exciting course that is easy to do. Since Selvatura also offers other less adventurous activities, this is a good choice for families who need a combination of adventure and relaxation.

Quick Summary – Selvatura Park:
• 13 lines, one of which is one kilometer, 15 platforms, one Tarzan Swing. Total of 3.4 kilometers (2.2 miles) of cables.
• No walking, ziplining from platform to platform.
• Brake with gloved hands if needed.
• Optional Tarzan swing.
• Can upgrade to do the final line in Superman mode (lying down, facing forward as if you were flying).
• On site restaurant.
• Can be combined with canopy walkway bridges, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and other animal exhibits.

 

  • 100% Aventura Park

This adventure park is a bit more rustic and natural than some other places but it means that you might see more animals even during their zipline course. Although all zipline courses are thrilling to one degree or another, the one at 100% Aventura is often described as being intense and a notch up from some of the other options. Participants zip on ten lines through the tropical forest, one of which is said to be the longest zipline in Costa Rica. The course also includes walking on a hammock bridge, a Tarzan swing, two lines that can be done in Superman mode, and a hike before the final line. Given the adventurous and a bit more strenuous nature of this course, this one is better for folks who are more physically fit and in search of a more thrilling zipline experience.

Quick Summary – 100% Aventura:
• Ten lines, one of which is 1,590 meters (5,220 feet)!
• Hammock bridge.
• Brake with gloved hands if needed.
• Optional, big Tarzan swing.
• Two lines can be done in Superman mode.
• A hike before the final line.
• No restaurant.
• Hummingbird feeding area.
• Can be combined with canopy walkway bridges and ATV rides.

 

  • Monteverde Extremo Park

Located a short drive north of Santa Elena, true to its name, this adventure park is for adrenaline seekers and folks in search of a longer zipline adventure. The zipline course at Monteverde Extremo has a fantastic view and is an epic 4,330 meters (2.69 miles) in length (the longest in the country!) and includes 16 lines, two of which can be done in Superman mode. One of the Superman lines is an exciting 1030 meters (3,380 feet) and the other actually goes through a tunnel for 190 meters (623 feet). Flying like Superman through a tunnel is impressive but it might be eclipsed by the 90 meter (295 foot) Tarzan swing that swings out 149 meters (490 feet) higher than the ground! Since there is also quite a bit of hiking up stairs, this is a zipline tour for the physically fit who are looking for the most extreme adrenaline rush.

Quick Summary – Monteverde Extremo:
• 16 lines, 4,330 meters (2.69 miles), longest zipline course in Costa Rica.
• Optional, huge Tarzan swing.
• Brake with gloved hands if needed.
• Two lines can be done in Superman mode one of which goes through a tunnel.
• Superman lines can also be done as a separate tour.
• Good deal of walking.
• Restaurant.
• Can be combined with bungee jumping, horseback and dune buggy rides.

 

Conclusion: 

You’ve made it this far! Well done!

So, as you noticed, there isn’t a definitive answer to the question “which ziplines are the best in Monteverde?”… A better question would be “which ziplines suit me best?” and the answer will depend on the kind of experience are you looking for…?

• A balance between adventure and relaxation? Selvatura Park.
• A more natural, easy-going ride? Sky Adventures.
• A bit more of adventure and hiking? 100% Aventura.
• The most extreme ziplining tour? Monteverde Extremo.

Which one resonates more with you?