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The Difference Between Zipline Tours And Canopy Tours In Costa Rica

The Difference Between Zipline Tours And Canopy Tours In Costa Rica

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on October 20th, 2017.

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IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZIPLINE TOURS AND CANOPY TOURS IN COSTA RICA?

One of the most common questions we are asked, as well as one of the most common misconceptions travellers have about tours in Costa Rica, surrounds the topic of zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica. Many travellers assume the two are each unique experiences, while others question how the former differs from the latter. The simple response is that there is no difference–zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica are one and the same.

Confusion regarding whether or not there is a difference between zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica stems from the fact that the two terms are used interchangeably by tour operators and travel agencies to describe the same event. If we were to get technical, we would explain the following:

“Ziplining” is the act of gliding along a suspended cable (i.e., the term “ziplining” refers to the activity itself), whereas references to “canopy tours” describe opportunities to participate in the ziplining activity (i.e., the term “canopy tour” refers to a tour experience). To be exact, a traveller who visits Costa Rica might have an interest in ziplining, and as a result, he or she may opt to participate in a canopy tour.

To further add to the ambiguity, many tour operators and travel agencies colloquially refer to “canopy tours” as “zipline tours” given that the tour experience involves ziplining (we like to cover both bases and refer to the experiences as “canopy ziplining tours”. Since both terms are staples throughout Costa Rica travel discourse, it is no wonder why travellers routinely question whether there is is any difference between zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica.

To confirm, for the purpose of reserving a ziplining activity for a Costa Rica vacation, tours advertised as “zipline tours” (including “ziplining tours”) or “canopy tours” (including “canopy ziplining tours”) provide the same experience.

To be fair, in other countries in the world, one might argue that there is a difference between the two; this would be possible because the term “canopy tour” rightly implies that the tour during which the ziplining activity would be experienced would take place in a forested area whereby the tour participant ziplines over the top of the forest’s canopy. Zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica are no different from one another given that the ziplining activity take place over the top of the country’s rainforest canopy, however if this was ever not the case (elsewhere in the world, or in Costa Rica), an argument could be made to suggest that zipline tours and canopy tours are not alike.

HERE’S WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST LIKELY TO INFLUENCE YOUR TRIP

When it comes to zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica, where differences can be noted (and where they should be noted) are in the design and quality of the tours themselves. Although zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica exist in nearly every tourist town, some tour operators provide better opportunities for fun and adrenaline than others (for inspiration, don’t miss our related blog post The Best Zipline In Costa Rica: Comparing 6 Popular Canopy Tours In Arenal And Monteverde). In addition, some areas of the country provide a more enjoyable ziplining experience than others given the lushness of the surrounding forest which offers a more appealing sight, the length and height of the zipline cables which adds to the adrenaline rush, and the overall number of zipline cables and duration of the tour which helps travellers obtain the most bang for their buck. The majority of zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica still utilize the traditional hand-breaking stop system, however there are some that make use of the modern automatic z-breaking system. In addition, while some zipline tours and canopy tours in Costa Rica are promoted and sold on their own, others offer complimentary activities (or in some cases, optional add-on activities) including an aerial tram ride to the top of the rainforest, a visit to a butterfly garden, snake exhibit, or hummingbird garden, a forward-facing superman cable, a rappel course, a tarzan swing, or a vertigo drop, among other extras.

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you participated in a zipline tour or canopy tour in Costa Rica? Which one did you choose and what did you think about the experience?

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