NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on July 5th, 2017.
Want to know our pick for the BEST ZIPLINE TOUR in Costa Rica?
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Want to know our pick for the BEST ZIPLINE CABLE in Costa Rica?
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Costa Rica offers something for everyone. If we had to make a grade school presentation about it, we’d create a giant flow chart with a permanent marker and a piece of bristol board. We’d draw a box at the top with the word “Costa Rica” written in it and lines would shoot out from all directions towards other boxes listing vacation goals such as “relaxation”, “adventure”, “romance”, and “cultural immersion”. From there we would draw a number of smaller boxes containing names of activities and practices linked to obtaining these goals, including “sunbathing on the beach”, “ziplining through the rainforest”, “dining at a fine restaurant”, and “speaking Spanish with local Costa Ricans”. Sounds simple enough, but anyone who has been to Costa Rica before knows that trip planning is far more demanding and detailed than that.
Take the vacation aim “adventure” for example. If we choose to achieve this by “ziplining through the rainforest” we must add a number of other boxes to our flow chart in order to narrow down the best experience. Once we have decided to zipline, we must then decide where to do it. Canopy Tours are available throughout the entire country, so you’re bound to be pulled in a multitude of directions when researching tour opportunities on the web. Our personal preference is to participate in the activity in either the La Fortuna (Arenal) or Monteverde region (read more about why we think so in our related blog post: Which Costa Rica Zipline Is The Best: Comparing 6 Popular Canopy Tours In Arenal And Monteverde). Assume that you choose to participate in the tour in La Fortuna (Arenal). You add another box to the chart noting the location you have chosen and continue adding boxes from there – one for each factor that comes into play when determining which canopy tour is the best for you. Some of these factors are listed below:
- The number of cables the canopy tour offers
- The cable span (length)
- The minimum age limit required to participate
- Whether or not transportation is included in the tour
- The type of breaking system used
- The duration of the tour
- The type(s) of view(s) offered during the tour
- The proximity of the tour to town
- Special features or items included with the tour
- Other factors that may be important to you…
How many (if not all) of the above factors deserve its own box on your flow chart? If you invest time and energy in your vacation planning you will come to learn that many factors are shared by canopy tour operators and others make particular canopy tours stand out among the rest. Once you identify the features that are the most important to you it will become obvious which canopy tour option will best provide you with the ziplining experience you aim to have. In other words, if you use your flow chart as an unconventional means of brainstorming various options and weeding out the less likely contenders it will lead you to your answer. Your attempt to approach trip planning by thinking outside of the box will provide you with a long trail of solutions and an eventual end consisting of, quite ironically, an answer written inside of a box.
La Fortuna (Arenal) is touristy. There’s no doubt about it, just as there is no questioning that the area offers so much to see and do that even non-touristy travellers don’t miss the opportunity to visit during their trip. As it tends to be the case, along for the ride of commercialism are businesses that care more about cutting themselves a piece of the pie than baking their own innovative and beneficial treats for travellers. As a result, La Fortuna (Arenal) is home to many, many canopy tour options – only a select few we opt to recommend to travellers. One of these recommendations is Arenal Mundo Aventura’s Canopy Ziplining Tour. According to our own interests and preferences (and the specific tour factors that reflect each), our flow chart would read:
Costa Rica ->
Ziplining through the rainforest ->
Ziplining in La Fortuna/Arenal ->
Ziplining that includes transportation to/from the tour site ->
Ziplining that is less than a 15-minute drive from town ->
Ziplining that incorporates a cultural and/or educational component ->
Arenal Mundo Aventura’s Canopy Ziplining Tour
Arenal Mundo Aventura’s Ecological Tropical Park (over 560 hectares of protected land) is conveniently located an approximate 5 minute drive from La Fortuna’s downtown core. Upon arrival at the park, canopy tour participants are briefed with a safety talk and equipment demonstration. The tour officially begins with a ride via tractor (approximately 20 minutes) or horseback (approximately 45 minutes) to the tour starting point. Note: participants select whether they would prefer to start the tour via horseback ride or tractor ride at the time of tour reservation. From the tour starting point, an approximate 30 minute hike into the forest is required to arrive at the first cable. From there, the tour continues through a series of 10 cables offering complimentary bird’s eye and internal rainforest views of La Fortuna’s lush landscape and the stunning Arenal Volcano. For Ricky and I, the highlight of the tour was cable #6. Arenal Mundo Aventura teases its tour participants with a waterfall view early on during the tour only to provide an opportunity to zipline over one of the area’s greatest attractions – the La Fortuna Watefall – more than halfway through the tour experience. It was not only an exhilarating ride flying high above the tree tops but an enlightening one too as the mammoth waterfall gradually revealed itself through the forest and demanded superiority.
Upon completion of the ziplining tour, participants make a stop at the Maleku Indigenous Reserve where they are greeted by friendly members of the Maleku tribe in cultural dress. Capi capi (kapi kapi), “hello” in the Maleku’s native tongue, is welcoming. A brief presentation (lasting approximately 10 minutes) educates foreigners on the Maleku culture. Handmade arts and crafts made from balsa wood and jicara fruit (similar to pumpkin) are available for purchase (if desired – purchase is not mandatory). Upon our most recent visit, Ricky and I bought a carved jicara displaying images of a butterfly, a toucan, and a macaw. During the Maleku presentation we were informed of the meanings of the art’s figures. Specifically, Ricky and I chose our souvenir for what the Maleku culture believes it represents: beauty and the colour of love (the blue morpho butterfly), the tranquilizing power of woman over the aggressive and the protectiveness of man (the toucan), and fidelity (the macaw). Note: if travellers are interested in purchasing souvenirs from the Maleku tribe they can bring cash with them at the start of the canopy tour. If this is not possible, Arenal Mundo Aventura allows travellers to pay for the Maleku souvenirs at their office at the end of the tour (the funds will then be provided to the Maleku tribe via Arenal Mundo Aventura).
In addition to their great canopy tour, Arenal Mundo Aventura also offers travellers horseback riding to the La Fortuna Waterfall, rappeling, birdwatching, a night tour, and an on-site butterfly garden.
Planning to visit La Fortuna (Arenal) and wondering what Arenal Mundo Aventura’s ziplining tour experience has to offer? Check out the videos below to see if their tour is right for you (don’t miss those for cables #6 and #7!). Unable to visit Costa Rica anytime soon? Live vicariously through those who have had the pleasure of doing so. Who knows, perhaps it will inspire you to make the trip to Costa Rica one day!
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you tried Arenal Mundo Aventura’s canopy/ziplining tour in Costa Rica? What did you think?
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a moment to view our gallery photos below from our most recent visit to Arenal Mundo Aventura’s Ecological Park.