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Jane in ziplining gear

Me Tarzan Not Jane: How to Zip-it in Costa Rica!

By Jane McLellan

Last updated: 1st September 2011

I experienced one of Costa Rica’s most adrenaline-inducing activities when I took a canopy tour from Monteverde. Zip-lining involves sliding from tree platform to tree platform, whilst being attached in a harness on a thick wire cable. It was terrifyingly thrilling and one of the best adventure activities that I’ve done in a long time!

We were picked up from our hostel and taken by minibus a few kilometres outside Santa Elena before getting kitted out in a harness, special gloves and hard hat. I looked like a builder! Anyway, after a little bit of training we were shown to our first zipline. There were thirteen ziplines hanging hundreds of feet up in the air, amid the canopy layers. As I climbed the steps, my heart was pumping. The instructors were really friendly and they did an excellent job of calming me down,
but I wasn’t very good on the first three lines. I kept panicking and braking when I shouldn’t and I nearly got stranded in the middle. At one point I was spinning around and I looked like an idiot dangling in the air. However after three goes, I quickly got the hang of it and absolutely loved it. My legs were shaking after each go, but I still kept on going for more.

The last line is a whopping 1km long! We had to do this one as a tandem because we needed the extra weight to get us to

We were then invited to participate on one final swing – the Tarzan swing. I was still buzzing from the last zipline, so I decided to go for it. This one was different in that my harness was attached to a long rope and I had to bend my knees and fall off a high wooden platform. I dropped eight metres before I started to swing high into the trees. I did feel like Tarzan and, apparently, I made a lot of noise like him too!

Jane going down a zip line

It was incredible, I just wanted to do it again and again, but sadly it was time to go back to the hostel. It took me a couple of hours to calm down from all the excitement! the end of the line, so I teamed up with an American guy called Paul. I had the easy part which just involved holding on, which I did very tightly. Apparently, to start with, we reached 50km per hour. I was screaming really loudly, but I soon noticed the view and started to calm down. We were literally flying above the forest canopy, zooming along so fast – it was exhilarating! When we reached the end we could not stop giggling and I had to hold on to the platform side because I was shaking so much from the adrenaline.

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