Flying High with the Original Canopy Tour
My First Zipline Adventure
Ever wanted to swing through the forest, hopping from tree to tree like an over sized flying squirrel? Zip lining is probably the closest you’ll get to that feeling. The Original Canopy Tour boasts itself to be the original company to offer zipline tours and have been thrilling people for almost 20 years. I had my choice of quite a few outfits while in Costa Rica but I figured, when in doubt, go with the originals!
I was picked up at my eco lodge in Santa Elena bright an early and put into in a group with two other Canadians and three Brazilians, who’d also been part of my rafting group in La Fortuna a few days before. There’s definitely a tourist circuit in Costa Rica and it’s not uncommon to bump into the same people from town to town. Our guides were fearless and very friendly, always making little jokes here and there, maybe to calm the nerves of our group of first time fliers. They were also fully trained and bilingual (English and Spanish). In fact, as an English speaker with very poor Spanish I had no trouble getting around the country. Most everyone in the service industry seems to be bilingual to some extent.
After suiting up in our helmets, harnesses and leather enforced work gloves our group trekked into the forest to the “warm up” area, consisting of a giant Tarzan swing. What a great way to get used to the feeling of being suspended from the harness and up in the air. I wish I’d had one of these in my backyard growing up!
Then it was on to the main event: our first line – a fairly short and shallow one to get us going. Hold on to the harness, use your other hand to brake when they tell you. Easy peasy. I was a bit too aggressive with my braking and stopped short of the platform. I had to spin around and pull myself the rest of the way while the guide chuckled and snapped photos. Cheeky bugger. With each new line there was that moment of nervousness right before I stepped off the ledge that, each time, was replaced with a feeling of wonder and freedom as I soared through the treetops.
An optional sidetrack on this tour was a rappel down to the forest floor from the platform of “Scary Tree” and then a climb back up. I was there to soak up every bit of experience that I could so I didn’t hesitate. One guide asked me how fast I wanted to descend and told me that the guy already on the ground would control my speed. Brushing off the little Spanish I knew I said, “Despacio, por favor” expecting a leisurely descent while I marvelled at the lush greenery. Holy jumping catfish with pants, was I wrong! As soon as I said “Estoy lista!” I dropped what felt like a hundred feet before I was slowed down to that nice leisurely pace. All part of their plan because they surprised the girl who went behind me as well. They had it under control the entire time but it certainly got my adrenaline up for the ensuing climb. It’s not every day that you get to scamper up the inside of a strangler tree.
Check out that ladder, keeping in mind that this platform is 90m off the ground! I was harnessed and clipped on but my hands still shook rung after slow rung. I didn’t dare look down. I felt triumphant when I finally planted two feet back on the platform. I turned around and our guide was showing off, speeding up while chatting on his cell phone. Cheeky bugger.
The 2nd last line is 800 meters long and opens up into a valley with huge panoramic views. Completely amazing. Our guide took this video for me since I needed both hands on my crossing.
This tour was a ton of fun and I would recommend the Original Canopy Tour but don’t go expecting anything resembling an educational experience. This is all about the rush.
Have you done a zip line tour before? Where were you? Love it or hate it?
- Company: The Original Canopy Tour
- Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica – hotel pick-up available
- Length: 2.5 hours + transport
- Cost: $45 charge per adult / $35 per student (12 years and older) / $25 per child (under 12 years)
- Gear required: Sneakers, comfortable clothes, mosquito repellant
- Restrictions: Must be at least 5 years old. Must weigh less than 265lbs.
Be sure not to go ziplining without travel insurance. In case an injury means you need to cancel all or part of your trip, travel insurance will help you when you need it most. I recommend World Nomads as travel insurance for ziplining in Costa Rica.