The History of Zip Lining

Now mostly enjoyed as an adventure thrill, zip lining was actually an invention of necessity. Using gravity as a power source, workers in remote geographic regions, like China, the Costa Rican rainforest and the Australian Outback, once strung cables between two points to primarily move people and supplies. Oftentimes, zip lines were installed over canyons or rivers where other means of travel were difficult or impossible. The principle is still the same today, although the materials and technology are stronger, safer and just plain better.

Currently, zip lining is also known in various parts of the world as the flying fox, foefie slide, zip wire, aerial runway or aerial rope slide. History shows zip lining referred to by other names, including the flying fox and Tyrolean Crossing.  The term “an inclined strong” was used to describe it in the 1897 H.G. Wells novel “The Invisible Man.” Zip lining is a booming area of adventure tourism activity, especially in Costa Rica, where zip lines have been used since the 1970s. Other destinations for great zip lining include Nicaragua, Jamaica, Alaska, British Columbia, South Africa, Thailand, Israel, Spain and the Czech Republic. More than 700 zip line courses are available around the world.

In terms of specifications and safety, zip lines are designed to bear great loads and are safe when used properly. Platforms on a zip line course can hold at least 40,000 pounds. The half-inch wide, galvanized cables used in zip lines have a break strength greater than 22,000 pounds. The pulleys used to connect riders to the line have a break strength that’s more than 14,000 pounds.

Zip line tours in Costa Rica include views of waterfalls, the Pacuare River and rain forest canopy, Arenal Volcano, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and native wildlife. There are dozens of miles of zip line for adventurers to enjoy.

Contact us to learn more about the zip line options available in Costa Rica.

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