Canopy Tours – Zip Lines
We have two canopy tours in the Santa Teresa / Montezuma area to enjoy
There’s one in Montezuma and one in Malpais:
Malpais: The Malpais canopy tour is closer for tourists staying in Santa Teresa, and it’s longer and faster. To find it, just drive south on the main beach road until you’ve almost reached the fishermen’s beach at the end of the road, and you’ll see signs for it on your left. Click: Canopy del Pacifico
Montezuma: The Montezuma canopy tour has the advantage of being at the Montezuma waterfall, and it includes swimming in the third pool. Since a trip to Montezuma Falls is on so many visitors’ itineraries anyway, many people go to Montezuma for the canopy tour to do both things at once. Click: Montezuma Canopy Tour
What is a canopy tour / zip line?
Canopy tours are a massive tourist draw in the tropical regions, featuring a taut zipline strung between high-rising trees they allow a rare and exhilarating view of life in the jungle canopy. Most zipline courses will consist of multiple lines with heights ranging from 60 feet to over 400 feet. Some of the most stunning vistas imaginable are available at these heady heights, as you fly through the jungle like a flying squirrel you shall be surrounded by the symphony of the jungle chorus. Whilst the tours are exhilarating rest assured that natural conservation is a high priority on most lines and providing people stay calm the tours cause no less disturbance than a troop of monkey’s swinging past.
Where did zip lining begin?
The first country to offer the experience was Costa Rica back in the 1970’s, it began as a highly effective method of studying the biodiversity of the canopies but quickly developed into a tour experience. It was this movement towards tourism that saw the ziplines become a little steeper and the experience a little more exciting. Most courses will have a selection of differing segments offering both a steady glimpse of the ecosystem as well as having the speedier sections.
Staying true to its roots as zip lining’s spiritual home, Costa Rica is still a mecca for those seeking a diverse canopy tour experience with routes that have to be seen to be believed. For example one course called Montezuma in Santa Teresa boasts a 1.2km high line that crosses not only canopy but waterfalls and valleys. With the Pacific Ocean gleaming in the background it remains extremely popular with visitors. There are often multiple canopy tours based in proximity, for example it is possible to go straight from the tour in Santa Teresa to one in Malpais, the west coast of Costa Rica is replete with these establishments.
Is zip lining safe?
Zip lining has a good safety record, all users will wear a harness and the caribiners are extremely strong, unless one has the urge to undo the safety harness for a more realistic flight, there is little danger. All tours will start with a safety briefing, be aware that there is a weight limit for many lines so if you weigh over 250lbs it is best to consult the course before attending.
Has zip lining in Costa Rica strayed too far away from its conservation roots?
This is a debatable topic, some courses are run less professionally than others. It’s upto the customer to choose a more considerate establishment. For example, many tours will first give you a short drive along the course in order to teach you about the flora and fauna you will see. A considerate company will do this at slow speed in a quiet jeep, or perhaps on foot. An inconsiderate company will be shouting information over the noise of a speeding old diesel. As with all tourist attractions it is best to do your research beforehand. The canopy tours on the western coast of Costa Rica have a good reputation for balancing fun, education and conservation, fortunately the more amateur destinations are a small minority.
Many ziplining courses are in fact twinned to conservation projects, reforestation being a popular accompaniment. For those that are interested in ecological issues you could do far worse than get involved in the canopy tour community.