Tropical Field Ecology in Costarica

Fortuna (Mon., 3/9/09) – Arenal: Ziplining through Rainforest
by -- March 10th, 2009

Eight of us braved some serious heights and a bit of rainfall to zipline through some truly magnificent rainforest.

While it was difficult to bid farewell to Palo Verde, with its breathtaking views and wetlands teeming with wildlife, it was time to move on to Fortuna… and move on we did.

Fortuna is home to Arenal, Costa Rica’s most active volcano and one of the 15 most active in the world. When we were offered the chance to zipline through the canopy of tropical rainforest surrounding Arenal, I initially had my reservations. To be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with ziplining and was fearful it would be a super-touristy gimmick.

Well, the experience blew my expectations completely out of the water. Several friends and I traveled by horseback for about 40 minutes through farmland and forest to get to the first ziplining platform. The horses were (mostly) docile and amused us as they bit/kicked/cut off the others.

Horseback riding to the zipline platform

Horseback riding to the zipline platform

The ziplining itself was an absolute thrill. We were suspended at least 150 feet in the air, in a rainforest shrouded in delicate cloud. The process was simple– jump up, get clipped in, lean back, and hold on for the ride. My right hand was in a thick leather glove, and the only way to prevent myself from careening into the guide at the other end was to pull down, hard, on the line. I had trouble finding the “happy medium” as we zipped from platform to platform– I found myself either hurtling into the final few meters or going too slowly and having to pull myself, hand over hand, to the other side.



As it started raining lightly, the droplets of rain stung my face, and steady winds caused the platforms to gently sway, suspended high in the air. Take a look at the pictures to see what happens when rain + grease from the zipline leads to a dirt-splattered face and even dirtier clothes.

The battlescars of ziplining in the rain

The battlescars of ziplining in the rain

And, to end the day, what better way to treat our shivering, rain-soaked bodies than to pay a two-hour trip to some local hot springs?

1 Comment

  1. Wendy Petracca
    Mar 13, 2009

    Awesome experience, which I was there!
    You are so lucky and I’m so proud of you

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