Zip lining canopy tours are one of the most popular Costa Rica adventure tours for people of all ages. Zip lining is the perfect eco tour for those enjoying family vacations in Costa Rica, for destination weddings and honeymoons in paradise, students studying abroad, or anyone traveling to Costa Rica. Canopy tours are an exciting, fun way to get close to the amazing rainforests and the wildlife that lives within the jungle. Really, what could be better than zooming from tree to tree, flying above waterfalls, and glimpsing monkeys, toucans, and all sorts of Costa Rica flora and fauna?!
Facts about Zip Lining Canopy Tours in Costa Rica
- Zip lining canopy tours originated in Costa Rica when biologists erected a system of cables throughout the rain forest canopy in order to observe the exotic fauna and flora.
- Canopy tours are extremely safe and are available to most people of different ages and abilities.
- Most zip lining tours allow children 8 and over. Other canopy tours have special harnesses that allow children as young as two years old to participate (be sure to ask about age limits before booking a tour).
- It’s a good idea to wear long shorts or pants and closed toed shoes during a zip lining canopy tour in Costa Rica.
- Canopy tours are relatively safe for the environment. In fact, zip lining was designed to be a Costa Rica eco adventure tour that has an extremely low impact on the environment while encouraging rain forest reforestation.
- Many zip lining canopy tours in Costa Rica include other activities and attractions, such as suspension bridges, aerial trams, waterfall rappelling, hiking, or even white water rafting!
- Some tour companies offer nighttime canopy tours, offering a unique and different side of the Costa Rican rain forest to tourists.
- Most zip lining tour companies will provide transportation for you and your family to the tour site. Many canopy tours also include food or snacks such as fresh fruit and water.
- Afraid of heights but still want to go? Canopy tour guides are extremely well trained to make you feel safe as you try the zip lines. However, if your fear is too crippling, a rain forest canopy tour may not be for you.
- Most zip lining tour guides also have a great knowledge about the exotic flora and fauna of Costa Rica. They can point out sloths, monkeys and iguanas hiding in the trees, show you poison arrow frogs, and tell you all about the Costa Rica wildlife residing in the rainforest.
- Zip lining canopy tours fall under the category of “Ecotourism” in Costa Rica
Origin of the Canopy Tour
In the 1970s, biologists who were desperate to study the plants and wildlife of the Costa Rica rainforest canopy designed a series of cables attached to the trees to help them take photos, observe wildlife, and take samples. This simple idea developed into the popular eco adventure tour known as zip lining or canopy tours. The idea of the canopy tour was born in Costa Rica, and the zip lining canopy tour industry has grown by leaps and bounds ever since.
Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known as an ecotourism destination and is one of the greenest countries in the world, vowing to become carbon neutral by the year 2021. Over a quarter of Costa Rica’s landmass has been set aside in 20 National Parks, coastal and rain forest reserves, and other protected areas. While tourism in Costa Rica is on the rise, the country goes to great lengths to protect its wildlife and rain forests. You’ll find many hotels with solar panels, buildings made with recycled materials, and sustainable living practices in Costa Rica. Ecotourism, or tourism that protects the ecosystems and wildlife, is what Costa Rica does best, and zip lining eco adventure tours are no exception. The zip lines are strung between trees with great care, and the platforms are secured to the trees safely, but without nails. Any troublesome vegetation getting in the way is tied back, as opposed to being trimmed. As you fly through Costa Rca’s trees on your canopy tour, enjoy the wildlife and remember how important it is that the rain forest stays protected!
Wildlife Found in Costa Rica’s Rain Forest Canopy
- Squirell Monkeys
- Howler Monkeys
- Tree frogs
- Scarlet Macaws
Best Places for Zip Lining Canopy Tours in Costa Rica
Monteverde Costa Rica is located in the Northwest province of Puntarenas. Home to the famous Cloud Forest Reserves, Monteverde Costa Rica is an incredible place to visit and explore. It also happens to be one of the premier places for zip lining canopy tours. The gorgeous cloud forests have a truly unique climate and are home to an astounding number of exotic flora and fauna, many of which reside in the cloud forest canopy. That being said, Monteverde Costa Rica is known for having some of the best canopy tours in the country!
Many of the Monteverde Cloud Forest zip lining tours feature massive suspension bridges as well, giving you a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy and the clouds. The suspension bridges are also the perfect place for some truly incredible photos, so don’t forget your camera! The average temperature of the Monteverde Cloud Forest is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature, combined with the breeze you’ll feel while flying through the canopy on zip lines, is enough to make any tourist in shorts and a t-shirt cold. Long pants are recommended, and you may even want to bring a light jacket to keep you warm during these amazing zip lining adventure tours.
Playa Manuel Antonio and Quepos
Situated along the beautiful Central Pacific Coast, the cities of Quepos and Manuel Antonio Costa Rica are gorgeous coastal villages, both with very laid-back atmospheres. Playa Manuel Antonio is home to one of the most visited rain forest national parks in Costa Rica; Manuel Antonio National Park. Boasts an exceptional array of flora and fauna, Manuel Antonio National Park is sure to excite anyone on vacation in Costa Rica.
Squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, parrots, toucans, iguanas, two and three-toed sloths are just a few of the animals inhabiting both Manuel Antonio National Park and the surrounding areas. Incidentally, these animals also populate the rain forest canopy in many zip lining tour areas, making Manuel Antonio and Quepos some of the most exciting places in Costa Rica to experience a canopy tour. There are many canopy tour companies to choose from in the Manuel Antonio and Quepos area. Many of these companies include suspension bridges, tarzan swings, waterfall rappels and swimming along with the zip lining tours. No matter what Costa Rica canopy tour you choose, you’re sure to see some incredible wildlife and have a blast flying through the rain forest treetops.
Jaco Beach is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Costa Rica, especially for surfers. Jaco is a bustling town on the Central Pacific Coast with excellent nightlife. The beach at Playa Jaco features golden sand and warm waters perfect for surfing and sunbathing. There is no shortage of things to do or attractions to see Playa Jaco, and Jaco also boasts many zip lining canopy tours. The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is home to a variety of wildlife and Jaco is no exception. While experiencing your zip lining adventure tour, look for Scarlet Macaws, Toucans, and white-faced monkeys! Most canopy tours in this area will start on the mountain and zip down towards the coast, allowing for some truly incredible views of the rain forest canopy, the mountains, and the coast.
Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna
La Fortuna boasts of Costa Rica’s most impressive feature, Arenal Volcano! Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Frequently spewing lava and spraying ash and smoke, Arenal Volcano is one of the most impressive sights in all of Costa Rica. La Fortuna, the area surrounding Arenal Volcano is a hub of activity, with tons of activities to occupy you and your family. Horseback riding, ATV tours, and natural hot springs are all common tourist attractions. Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna also have some truly amazing zip lining canopy tours, and they offer incredible views of Costa Rica’s wildlife with Arenal Volcano looming over it all. Arenal also features a really cool canopy option—a sky tram. The tram here ascends the mountain at a leisurely pace and can be stopped at any time during the ride, which makes for some really amazing pictures and incredible views of the volcano in the distance. Once at the top of the mountain, on the viewing platform, you can choose to take the tram back down, or take a fast paced zip line eco tour to the bottom.
San Jose Area
While there are no actual canopy tours within the capital city of Costa Rica, the mountainous Central Valley surrounding San Jose boasts some lush tropical jungle and canopies teeming with wildlife and activity. Needless to say, many canopy tour companies have created zip lines in the Costa Rica Central Valley, and most are just a short trip away from the hustle and bustle of San Jose. In nearby Heredia, there is an exciting aerial tram—perfect for young children and family vacations—that will take you up the mountains. Heredia also offers zip lines for those seeking an adrenaline rush, but be sure to check the age limit before bringing your little ones to the zip lines. Many canopy tour companies based in San Jose also offer tour packages that include ATV tours, hikes, or horseback riding in conjunction with your zip lining tour. Since most of their offices are based within the city, you have a plethora of canopy tour companies to choose from and can shop around for the best price to fit your budget.
Nighttime Zip Lining Canopy Tours in Costa Rica
Nighttime in the rain forest is completely different from witnessing the tropical rain forest during the day. A variety of nocturnal creatures come out to play and their chirps, whistles and buzzing echoes through the night. A few canopy tours also run nighttime zip lining tours, which give you a completely different view of the rain forest. Flying through the trees in the velvet darkness is an exhilarating experience that you won’t want to miss. Some nocturnal rain forest creatures you may see in the darkness include bats, raccoons, anteaters, kinkajous, four eyed opossums, olingos, or sloths.