In for some adventure high above the rainforest? Then go ziplining. Costa Rica is the ultimate place to explore the rainforest from above. And afterwards, get down and walk on mighty suspension bridges at the same level as those mighty trees. Selvatura park. Good for one fabulous day.
Ziplining in Selvatura Park
I decided this from the start: zipling would definitely be part of our trip to Costa Rica. Ziplining and Costa Rica go hand in hand. So I explored several options, checking various websites to get a view on what is on offer.
First, there is the location. Two locations are top: Monteverde and Arenal. Scrolling through webpages, I learnt that ziplining in Arenal is, in general, more laid back, in Monteverde more adventurous. In Monteverde, the ziplines are longer and a bit more difficult since often you need to walk between the platforms. Further, ziplining in Arenal might have views on the volcano, while Monteverde obviously hasn’t.
Based on this general information, I decided Monteverde would be the best option for us. We were looking for something more adventurous with a variety of ziplines. Since we already had great experiences with volcanoes in Iceland, this wasn’t a must anymore.
And then the search for the best company offering ziplining in Monteverde started. In Monteverde, there are several companies offering ziplining, sometimes combined with exploring the forest through hikes over suspension bridges. There is a lot of information to be found on the websites of the individual companies and some blogs offer even a detailed comparison between companies. The park in which the ziplines are offered vary, as well as the number of ziplines and their length and hight. Sometimes, you fly above secondary rainforest, sometimes above primary. Some parks are more commercial then others, some more suitable for younger children.
So it’s basically up to you what you want out of it. We traveled with four teenagers who looked for a combination of the trill and the best rainforest experience. So we went ziplining in the Selvatura Park. Not only is this park the only one in which you fly over primary and secondary forest, it also allows you to combine the ziplines with exploring the park via various suspension bridges.
Although extremely touristic – there were busloads of tourists and it was queuing to get your gear – we had a fantastic experience.
There are 13 ziplines, ranging in length, good for 3.4 kilometer cables. You start with a short one, followed by a combination of shorter and longer lines. Some lines go from platform to platform, between some others you need to walk a bit up. These walks are not that strenuous, just go in your own pace. Near the end, there is a Tarzan swing, offering you the possibility to swing like tarzan in the rainforest.
The last zip is the longest, more then 1 kilometer long. You fly in tandem high above a sea of green rainforest. Or, alternatively, you can fly in ‘superman’ mode (lying down, face forward as if you were flying), which we didn’t to. The tandem was already magnificent.
The ziplines are handled very professionally with a friendly team ensuring your safety at all times. When entering, you get all your gear and it is checked whether it fits. You also receive a short briefing on braking. On each platform, a crew is handling the safety equipment and makes sure you are secured. As for the breaking system, you are slowed down by the crew member on the platform so you don’t have to break yourself. We went with 4 teenagers and it went perfect.
The whole adventure took about 2 hours. Though there is quite a pace, we didn’t have the feeling to be rushed. There was sufficient time for the hikes between the platforms and, more importantly, to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Suspension bridges in Selvatura Park
In the afternoon, we hiked the 8 suspension bridges, the so-called Selvatura Canopy Walkways Bridges, an experience in itself as well. It’s an easy beautiful circuit hiking trail of 3 kilometers leading you over 8 bridges. The bridges vary in hight and size, up to 170 meter long and 60 meter high. No Indiana Jones bridges however. The bridges are steady and easy to walk on, just as the whole trail which takes about 2 hours.
We indeed took our time since there is so much to see walking above the canopy of the trees, overseeing the Monteverde Cloud Forest: special flowers, small animals, enormous trees, … You walk above the forest and have ample time to stop and take pictures.
Sometimes you can only say one thing: impressive.
Recommendations & price
Should you only have one day in Monteverde, Selvatura has everything to offer. You can combine a great zipline adventure with a mighty walk on the hanging bridges. This gives you a magnificent view on primary and secondary forest. There are also suspension bridges in the Cloud Forest Biological Reserve in Monteverde, but these are much smaller and shorter. The forest in both Selvatura and the Biological Reserve is similar, although the latter is more misty.
Selvatura is pretty expensive though. We choose a Gold Pack, which costs around 95 USD for an adult and 85 USD for a student (12 – 18 years). They even have an all day pack, with a visit to the sloth sanctuary, the butterfly garden and the Reptile and Amphibian exhibition
In for more fantastic things in Costa Rica? Read some more in my blogpost 5 fantastic things to do in Costa Rica.