Living like a circus performer… zip-lining in Costa Rica

Posted by

The circus as a kid was something that was just magical. The combination of wild animals, lights, and the fantastic acrobats..who didn’t want to be one of those trapeze artists?

It is apparent that the world is becoming more aware of the adventure component of travel whether one goes snorkeling, SCUBA diving, or takes to the mountains for hiking or camping. I must say that many of my travels have been adventures. If you are a true follower, you should already know of the camels, mosquitoes, brothels, scaling coliseum walls, and the like, but I can’t say that I have had much experience in being a circus performer or that is until last May in San Jose, Costa Rica (By the way, if you would like to read the archives for those stories, you will get to know Ms. Traveling Pants even better.)

While in San Jose, I had the opportunity to go zip-lining. For those of you unfamiliar with it, a metal cable is strung between two trees (see above picture). The participants are harnessed in by their legs, groin, and waist while wearing protective gloves and helmet. Once prepared, you climb up various ladders to a platform in a tree where you are clamped onto the line and let loose to quickly zip from one tree to the other, trying to steer your way to the next landing platform.

ZipLiningCanopyCostaRica2.2009Everything sounds fun and exciting that is until you are about to get into the harness and live this adventure tourism trek yourself. So first, I don’t know about you, but when I watch circus performers today, harnesses are not part of the attire. They probably do not necessarily need them anymore because they are so skilled, but also because the attire for safety is NOT flattering. Imagine having tight belts at all the WRONG places. For my female readers, what woman wants more attention to the hips, butt, and belly? So, yes, it is rather unflattering for woman, but men also have it rough for both appearances and well let’s just say the ride as well. There is no “hiding your equipment” when going zip-lining. The harnesses are set up just so that yes the size of the thighs and butt are accentuated for women , but for men the harness is the “Great Divide.” (I will not post a picture I will let you put two and two together.)

To start any zip-lining experience you must climb. Typically, through a series of cable ladders you will arrive to your first take-off platform. When I arrived at my first platform, I was shaking; however, I have to admit some of the best moments of many of my travels have been frightening and the stories worth telling.

The first zip was scary, rather uncontrolled, and off target, but, by the second, the adrenaline kicked it. For zip #2, we needed to climb even higher to get momentum, but it was becoming more and more worth it. For the next and most difficult zip, we needed to cross a very unstable rope bridge and then climb even higher to zip across a large lake. Just to give you an accurate picture, the park was the size of Central Park in New York with a 100 meter plus zip crossing the lake from one tree to the other. Yes, it was a challenge and as an added prank, the excursion had placed a large mat, which was tied to the massive tree trunk awaiting us on the other side. If my memory serves me right, there was also a bull’s eye outlined.

Needless to say, I loved the experience and was shaking for probably 30 minutes afterwards. The feeling of conquering a fear or doing something that stretches your limits is a great high. I want to go again. This time I want to do it amongst the true rain forest in a more remote area that they call the Cloud Forest. I will be going in May again this year. I promise I will take documentation that a harness and helmet are not my best look.

1 Comment

  1. Riding a zip line is good excitement! Throw in the attractiveness of Maui in addition to riding a zip line in Maui is surely an event you’ll remember the rest of one’s life. There are plenty of zip lines within Maui and a lot might be booked days/weeks beforehand. Showing up in Maui and marching right down to a nearby activities center ?s going to be frustrating – all ziplines usually are booked for the next week or so. Visit Maui in January to March, prime time in Maui, and zip lines tend to be scheduled when you arrive on island.As a result book your zipline rides about 4 weeks before your family trip in Maui. It is possible to low cost rates on-line by means of a number of online websites – in case you reserve direct using the zip line business you’ll pay the full price. There are many different zipline rides on Maui – it is possible to zip through tropical forests, alongside waterfalls, over valleys, through gorges, sights of a volcano, the pacific sea, as well as coastal shoreline; take your pick and there is a zip line that’ll place a smile upon your face. Maui Zipline You have to be in good physical shape, absolutely no pregnant ladies please, not less than 10 years-old, weigh more than eighty pounds and not above 260 pounds.