Adventure Tours Costa Rica: Zip lining in Arenal brings out the monkey in the man
LA FORTUNA, Alajuela — The miracle of flight: With a leather glove for a brake, you hook your harness to a 700-meter cable, jump off a platform and fly between two mountains over a stunning river valley.
It never gets old.
I’ve done it in Puerto Jiménez, Montezuma, Rincón de la Vieja and Monteverde, and on Thursday I did it in Arenal. My sons Jordan, 25, and Nathan, 19, and Nathan’s mom, Rhona, were in Costa Rica for a two-week vacation, and I had to take them on a canopy tour somewhere.
I opted for Arenal’s Sky Adventures, known for its cool Sky Tram and the new-fangled handles on its ziplines.
As it turned out, the rain that had fallen constantly since we arrived in Arenal forced the closure of the whitewater tubing on Thursday — the river was too big, too dangerous.
Jordan ended up going kayaking on Lake Arenal, Rhona went on “Sky Trek” and Nathan and I did “Sky Limit” — a challenge course with ziplining, sketchy bridges, crossing ravines on cables, traversing suspended ladders and usually rappelling off waterfalls, though the water was too strong for that too.
The highlight was the Tarzan swing over a 10-meter waterfall — not the most terrifying but the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. You get roped in and you step to the edge of a steel mesh platform, the rope tugging at your harness like it’s going to accidentally pull you off early.
Nathan launches into flight on the waterfall Tarzan swing.
But it pulls you off right on time, and you experience an exhilarating free fall until the rope catches, then you swing in a giant arc into the air, overlooking a second waterfall below.
My personal “Fear Factor” was crossing the bridges. They started us off easy, with walking along a cable with cables for handholds — not too hard and (significantly) not too high above the ground. I started singing the James Bond theme: “Dun-duddle-un-dun-dun-dun, dun-duddle-un-dun-dun-dun, duh-duh-duh-DUH-DUH, duh-duh-duh….” The Sky Tram had reminded me of the scene in “Moonraker” where Jaws attacks James Bond on a cable car over Rio.
The guides at the other end picked up on this and laughed, and then they started doing the “Mission Impossible” theme (“Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, DOO-DOO!”)
Nathan watches Angela bust a move on the high wire. (Courtesy of Stephannie Garro, Sky Adventures)
Soon I found myself facing a terrifying single cable suspended between two trees, this time high above the ground, with nothing to hold onto but one cable. I let Nathan go first, and he amazed me by crossing his right foot over his left and his left over his right to navigate the cable.
Strapping in for the zipline, Nathan looks ready to pilot a jet. (Courtesy of Stephannie Garro, Sky Adventures)
He was a born tightrope walker. The rest of us planted our feet firmly on top of the cable and slid them side to side. Nathan said this was the easiest part for him.
“If I can do this, I’ll never be afraid of anything again,” I said to Nathan, who was behind me now, probably wondering what was taking me so long.
“That’s the spirit,” Nathan said.
Adventure Tours That Bill Beard’s Operates Throughout Costa Rica: LEARN MORE
For single, triple, quad or group rates, contact our agents.
Our Reservation Office Is Located In La Fortuna, Costa Rica In The Shadow Of Arenal Volcano, behind the Catholic Church, Near The World Famous Hot Springs.
For Reservations & Information
Contact Our Office At 877 853-0538 or 954 453-5044 M – Sat., 9 – 9 ET
Sign up for our Latest Newsletter & Adventure Travel Deals
IMPORTANT NOTE – Please be advised that every reasonable effort has been made to keep all prices up to date and free of errors or omissions. Prices and policies from our vendors and the Costa Rican government are subject to change without notice. Invoices will be issued at the time of booking to confirm all final rates and offers.