Zip line canopy tours are undoubtedly one of Costa Rica’s best known (and most loved) outdoor adventures. It figures, given the thrilling sport was actually invented here by nature researchers, who wanted to reach the remotest parts of the Costa Rica wilderness back in the 1970s. It also figures that the country that invented it is the very best country that offers it still.
Zip lining has been at the core of Costa Rica’s eco-tourism movement since the early 1990s. The country’s best zip line trails are set in pristine wilderness and, because this is Costa Rica, that precious wilderness is inhabited by some of the most unique and exotic wildlife on earth.
For the intrepid Tarzans and Janes among us, zip lining is an exciting venture: not quite as death-defying as skydiving yet with just as much adrenalin-pumping fun. What’s more, taking a zip-line tour in Costa Rica is always about immersing yourself in exceptional nature and, given the family-friendly nature of the local culture, options abound for adults and children to join in on the fun.
Here are the most AMAZING zip lines you need to discover in Costa Rica:
Diamante Superman – Diamante Eco Adventure Park, Guanacaste
Diamante is the Central America’s (and Costa Rica’s) second-longest dual zip line, which means you can soar like a superhero alongside your partner, friend or intrepid offspring. For almost a whole, seemingly endless mile, you can fly like a toucan, soaking up spectacular views of the Pacific (upside down, if you wish!) the whole way across. The 2-hour course is suitable for anyone over the age of 5 (the minimum weight limit is 60lb) which is fantastic for families with thrill-seeking kids and, of course, anyone who wants bragging rights.
With bilingual expert guides, world-class safety equipment and added COVID-precautions this year, Diamante’s outstanding thrill is bound to get your Costa Rica adventure vacation to a FANTASTIC flying start.
Sky Adventures, Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna
At the crossroads between a semi-active volcano, luscious rainforest and high-altitude cloud-forests, Sky Adventures enjoys the most idyllic setting. This is indeed the poster-child for Costa Rica zip line tours. Sky’s popularity is no big mystery: the convenience of its location, the ease of access and the ridiculously beautiful views, let alone the fact that you’ll be at the doorstep of one of Costa Rica’s top 2 national parks.
Sky is well set up and what we love is the sheer variety of choice – here, you can walk along a trail of suspended bridges, take an open-air gondola ride (the Sky Tram) and enjoy the thrills of a multi-active tour that combines rappelling with bridge swings, a high-rope course, canyoning and much more. The Arenal zip line tour is the return tramway trip and includes half a dozen cables set up over 650’ in the air, reaching speeds of up to 44mph. Children aged 5 and 6 will need to zip line with a guide and older kids (7-10) have the option of riding together if a guide is not available.
This is the best and most convenient choice for families adventuring together in Costa Rica for the first time. There’s an option to ‘bail out’ after the first two zips so if you’re hesitant about trying zip lining, this is a wonderful and safe first-option for you to try.
Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Just next door to Arenal but high amongst the ethereal clouds, Selvatura offers an altogether different sensory overload. This is the kind of place you can spend an entire day exploring. The zipline comprises more than a dozen cables (one that is over half a mile long) and 15 platforms, with a Tarzan Swing that’ll make you wish you hadn’t overindulged at breakfast. Unreal fun! The only zip line to be stationed within the world-famous cloud forest of Monteverde, Selvatura is a nature-lover’s dream. At Selvatura, you’ll get over two miles of fox-flying fun and a canopy walking tour that serves up the best close-up encounters with the unique ecosystem here.
The combination zipline, hike and swing tour at Selvatura is suitable for kids (4+) and adults alike, although weight restrictions apply (as they do on all zip line tours).
El Santuario Canopy Adventure, Manuel Antonio National Park
El Santuario’s dual zip line adventure is the longest in the country (and the whole Central American region) and located merely 20 minutes from Manuel Antonio, that spectacular pocket of wilderness treasure that tumbles into the Pacific, in the province of Puntarenas. The park is one of the best wildlife spotting destination given it’s so small and compact yet even at El Santuario, set across 500 acres of magnificent nature, your animal spotting chances are huge.
The twin zip line tour at El Santuari is phenomenal and staffed by some of the most passionate guides you’ll meet in your entire trip. They take the time needed to get everyone comfortable in their gear, abate their fears and continuously enlighten guests with info on surrounding nature and wildlife. The tour is open for anyone aged 4+, groups tours are possible (what an AMAZING wedding party activity idea!) and return transport is included in a visit.
Pacuare River Zipline, Turrialba
Turrialba is the best whitewater rafting and kayaking base in Costa Rica (and our home!) and it’s here that you can combine the best thrill-seeking adventures the country has to offer, on the shores of the world-famous Pacuare River. This is one of the least known, and most fun, zip line options in Costa Rica because it’s enjoyed in conjunction with world-class rafting. If it’s a multi-sport adventure you’re after then this is the option you shouldn’t miss!
The in-house zip line course at the Pacuare Lodge is wonderful and includes a stunning half-hour hike through the rainforest to reach the starting point. From here, tackle a maze of zip-lines for an hour, all the way back to the front steps of the lodge. This is one of Pacuare’s best hidden secrets and an absolute delight to discover when staying overnight.
If zip lining is a new concept for you, here’s your Complete Guide to Zip Lining in Costa Rica, where we discuss the safety aspects, what you should wear and other things to keep in mind.
The wonderful thing about the zip lining in Costa Rica is that it’s such a popular and iconic activity that for every ‘famous’ course, there are several lesser-known options, located wherever verdant forests grow. And, in Costa Rica, that’s almost the entire country!
Love to give zip lining a go? Then join us! At Costa Rica Rios, we’ve been running award-winning adventure tours in this magical playground for 25 years and have perfected the art of combining the best the country has to offer. We create bespoke itineraries for families, couples and groups of friends who want to share an unforgettable experience, and a jaw-dropping zip line adventure, in the most beautiful country on earth.
Simply contact us to know more.