Ziplining in Costa Rica | What to Know Before your Canopy Tour

Costa Rica is an adventure seeker’s playground. The country is world-renowned for its adrenaline-pumping zip-lining courses, particularly in the dense rainforests surrounding the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde region.

A popular activity in Costa Rica, ziplining allows you the unique opportunity to soar through the lush rainforests of this beautiful country.

With its diverse ecosystems and abundance of wildlife, Costa Rica offers numerous options for ziplining tours that cater to thrill-seekers of all levels. However, before embarking on your high-flying journey, there are a few essential things you should know to ensure an unforgettable experience.

Ziplining in Costa Rica
Ziplining in Costa Rica high above the rainforest canopy

This guide covers the top ziplining destinations in Costa Rica and provides you with valuable information to make the most out of your upcoming tour.

If you are considering ziplining in Costa Rica, here are a few things you should know before you book your tour.

About ziplining in Costa Rica

The Arenal rainforest
The Arenal rainforest and the view from one of the ziplining platforms during our tour.

Costa Rica is a country made up of rainforests. In fact, 90 percent of the native animals in Costa Rica and 50 percent of the plant species native to the country live in the canopies, or upper levels of the rainforest. For this reason, the best way to see Costa Rica and experience its incredible ecosystem is from above!

Zip lining in Costa Rica dates back to the late 1970s, when it was primarily used as a means of exploration by researchers in the jungle. However, canopy tours are now a huge tourist draw for thrill-seekers in Costa Rica.

COMPARE ALL ADRENALINE-PUMPING ZIPLINING TOURS IN COSTA RICA AND BOOK A TOUR HERE.

Our personal experience zip lining in Costa Rica

Couple traveling together in Arenal Rainforest
Geared up and ready to zip line in Costa Rica

We visited Costa Rica when our daughter was just a baby. Despite being a thrill-seeking destination, Costa Rica is also a great destination for families.

Although we were traveling with an infant, our daughter was able to stay with grandparents, who were along for the adventure, while we went zip lining in Costa Rica – a bonus to planning a multigenerational vacation!

We zip lined at Sky Adventures in the Arenal Rainforest, just outside of La Fortuna, one of the best destinations to visit in Central America. It was such an incredible experience, and the views were unmatched!

You feel like you’re flying high above the ground, buzzing through the trees, and reaching speeds of about 30-40 miles per hour. Zip lining in Costa Rica is exhilarating, but honestly not as scary as you may think.

In our small zip lining group, we had children as young as six years old as well as older people, and all of them loved it. The system they use in Costa Rica is very safe and the guides are there to assist.

The Costa Rica zip-lining guides are also very friendly and funny which makes the experience even better, particularly for those who are apprehensive or scared going into the canopy tour.

VISITING THE ARENAL AREA? BOOK YOUR ZIPLINING CANOPY TOUR HERE.

Is ziplining in Costa Rica safe?

Costa Rica zip line tour at Sky Adventures in Arenal Rainforest
One of our guides preparing us to zip line.

Short answer: yes. Zip lining in Costa Rica is extremely safe.

Regardless of where you go, you’ll find knowledgeable and funny guides there to assist you with your harness, slow you down or stop you if you go too fast, and make you feel comfortable before you zip off into the clouds.

Prior to embarking on the zip lining course, you will go through a brief training session to make sure you understand and are willing to comply with their safety rules. Additionally, aside from the zip lining harness, you are required to wear a helmet and gloves.

You are not allowed to take your hands off the handles to take a mid-air photo. This is not the case in some of the other countries in which we have zip lined, so we felt like zip lining in Costa Rica was much safer than many other places around the world.

Bottom line, Costa Rica takes zip lining safety seriously.

Costa Rica ziplining age limitations

one of the landing platforms at Sky Adventures ziplining tour in Costa Rica
While there are guides to help you slow down if needed, participants need to be old enough to follow basic instructions to slow themselves down when they reach the landing platforms.

Ziplining in Costa Rica is not an activity you can do with children under the age of five or six, depending on the tour operator.

So, if you are visiting Costa Rica with kids, please know very young children will not be able to participate, for obvious reasons. While many zip lining tours in Costa Rica require very little levels of physical fitness, the ability to hold on to the handles and follow basic instructions is a must.

Kids ages six and older can participate and will likely have a blast zip lining in Costa Rica, at least at most of the canopy tours!

For safety purposes, young children will likely be harnessed in and required to zip line with one of the experienced guides at most canopy tours. Some of the more strenuous or extreme canopy tours in Costa Rica may even have a higher age limit for participants.

Fitness or physical limitations

The aerial tram that took us up into the canopy to begin the ziplining tour.
The aerial tram that took us up into the canopy to begin the ziplining tour.

Almost anyone of any fitness level can participate in a Costa Rica zip line adventure. You’ll be secured into a harness attached to a sturdy steel cable.

The most strenuous part of any canopy tour may actually be reaching the canopy. However, many of the Costa Rica ziplining tours have an aerial tram that takes you up to the treetops, so very little stair-climbing is required.

While we cannot speak for every zip lining tour in Costa Rica, the Sky Adventures zip line course that we did was not at all strenuous. In fact, there were very few stairs to climb, and most of the stairs were actually going down, not up.

People of most fitness levels can do this activity. Although it is important to note, zip lining in Costa Rica is not a handicap accessible experience, unfortunately.

What to wear when zip lining in Costa Rica

We would recommend wearing clothes you do not mind getting dirty. Additionally, long pants, and closed-toed shoes are a must. During the rainy season in Costa Rica, which falls between May and mid-November, zip line courses are still open and operating.

Although, they will stop the course if it is pouring rain and lightning, under most circumstances, a light rain will not result in a canceling or postponement of your activities. So be prepared and dress accordingly.

How scary is ziplining in Costa Rica?

About to zip line in Costa Rica
Getting secured to the zipline.

The question we get asked the most about ziplining in Costa Rica is whether it is scary. While this is certainly an activity for the adventurous, we would not necessarily deem it “scary”.

Even my father, who is afraid of heights, loved ziplining in Costa Rica.

You may feel nervous when you approach the first platform to zip off into the clouds, but after just one zip line, you will quickly get over your fears or nerves, and be ready for more!

The best places to zipline in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has practically become synonymous with zip lining. Here are the top rated zipline and canopy tours in Costa Rica.

Sky Adventures Zip lining in Arenal

final zipline at Sky Adventures Costa Rica ziplining
The shortest and final zipline on the Sky Adventures Costa Rica ziplining tour.

Once you start the zip line course at Sky Adventures, there is no turning back. There are approximately 7 different zip lines that will zig-zag back and forth across the Costa Rican rain forest, keeping you mostly above the canopy of the trees the entire time.

Ultimately, the course returns you to the starting point. It takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete the course depending on the size of the group accompanying you in your time slot.

There is a stopping point halfway through where you can use the restroom, get a drink, and take a few photos. As you are approaching this platform, a professional photographer will also take your photo.

You can view and purchase that picture immediately afterward. You can also combine your zip lining tour with a hanging bridge tour which is equally as fun, and perhaps even more beautiful!

Zip lining in Monteverde

a map of the monteverde area showing where the ziplining operator is located
Location of the mega-mux adventure.

Monteverde is home to the longest zip line in Costa Rica. To experience the 5,220 foot-long zipline, you’ll need to book through Aventura Canopy Tour in Monteverde.

While this is the most popular zip line in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, it isn’t the only one.

For true thrill-seekers, the mega-mix adventure in Monteverde is sure to give you a dose of excitement and fun with activities beyond just zip lining.

Led by an experienced guide, you can test your balance during a high ropes course with 17 challenging elements, including logs, poles, and other structures suspended in air. The experience includes 8 zip line cables with panoramic mountain views. Followed by a rappel and a Tarzan swing through the jungle.

It ends with a Superman-style zip line that will have you flying through the air on your stomach for 2460 feet (750 meters) over the treetops.

Manuel Antonio Canopy Tour

Located in the southwestern region of Costa Rica near Manuel Antonio National Park, this canopy tour takes you from the jungle floor to the treetops along a series of 20 platforms and 10 zip lines.

At the end of the tour, you have the choice between one final zip line cable or rappelling and Tarzan swing. This is great for those who are in a party of mixed abilities and comfort levels.

For those who are a bit timid, they can conclude by taking the last zip line. And for those seeking a final dose of adrenaline, they can embrace their inner Tarzan or Jane and swing to the end.

This Costa Rica zip line tour includes a meal and drinks for the price.

Zip lining in Guanacaste

Guanacaste is known more for their beaches and all-inclusive resorts. While they do have some jungle-areas and at least one beautiful waterfall, the region is not really covered in dense rainforests like other parts of Costa Rica.

However, if vacationing in Guanacaste, you can take a half-day adventure that will take you to the nearest dry forest for a canopy zip line tour in Guanacaste.

It requires a short drive, but this guided zip line tour will take you through one of Costa Rica’s tropical dry forests, where you will be surrounded by high trees and nature.

The area is home to a lot of howler monkeys who you may spot during the canopy tour.

Zip lining near Jaco

map showing where the ziplining tour is near Jaco Costa Rica

One of the best zip lining tours in Costa Rica, the canopy tour near Jaco includes a bonus waterfall view from the aerial tram.

You’ll get a great look at a cascading 40-foot waterfall, as well as panoramic views of the ocean as you ride the Pacific RainForest Aerial Tram to begin your zip lining canopy tour.

The hour-long tram ascends to the top of the mountain where you will then soar down on a steel cable zip line.

This is one of the few zip lines in Costa Rica that do not require you to hold onto the cable, as it has a controlled braking system that lets you go hands free! The canopy tour includes 10 zip lines and 15 tree platforms.

Zip lining near Limon

map showing where the ziplining course is near Puerto Limon Costa Rica

For those visiting Costa Rica on a cruise that ports in Puerto Limon, this zip lining tour is for you.

A tour guide will pick you up from the pier and take you to a jungle biological reserve. With 9 zip-line cables and 12 platforms, you’ll soar through the air nearly 300 feet above the ground.

The tour also includes a 1-hour boat ride through the Tortuguero Canals. Known as Costa Rica’s Amazon, the Tortuguero Canal region is rich with exotic flowers and other plants.

You also may spot wildlife including howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, iguanas and even crocodiles.

Looking for more information on things to do and places to stay in Costa Rica? Check out our guide and itinerary for visiting Costa Rica with kids.

Do you have a question or comment about ziplining in Costa Rica? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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This guide to the best ziplining in Costa Rica and what to know before you go was first written in 2016 but was most recently updated in May 2024 for accuracy and current tour information.

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6 comments on “Ziplining in Costa Rica | What to Know Before your Canopy Tour”

Hi Melissa!

At what age would you be comfortable taking your daughter ziplining? My children are 6, 9 and 11. I’m nervous doing it myself and worries about my children but don’t want to deprive them of this experience. Any reassurance would be welcome. Also when you say use the restroom is it an actual restroom or just going in nature?

Thank you,

Katie

We have a six-year-old, and I would feel comfortable taking her ziplining. Kids that young have to ride with one of the tour guides. I’d have your oldest two go first, followed by your 6-year-old with the guide, and then you. It felt very safe to us. And regarding the restrooms, there are nice indoor restrooms where we went ziplining.

If there was a weight limit, it was fairly high. On our ziplining tour, there were definitely some people who were around 300 pounds who were able to do the course just fine.

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