Taking a Flying Leap can be a Good Thing on a Costa Rican Vacation
It’s called canyoning, and it has quickly become a popular, Adrenalin-bursting adventure. Canyoners navigate their way down water-filled gorges by swimming through rock pools, stepping down waterfalls and clambering over the rocks and other unique features of a canyon landscape.
It combines elements from different outdoor disciplines including scrambling, abseiling, rappelling, cliff jumping and swimming.
Think of it as White Water Rafting Without Rafts in Costa Rica
Canyoning is usually done against a spectacular backdrop of rainforest, cloud forest and giant waterfalls. Canyoning gear includes climbing hardware, static or semi-static ropes, helmets, wetsuits and specially designed shoes, packs and rope bags.
Like white water rafting, there are many different levels of canyoning adventures available. Canyons can be very easy or extremely difficult, though emphasis is usually on aesthetics and fun rather than pure difficulty. Many companies offer canyoning, including those in the Manuel Antonio area and Flamingo Beach. Escape Villass can help you make all your canyoning arrangements with the booking of your vacation rental.
Vendors offer slightly different canyoning adventures depending on the location, but a typical four hour tour starts off with an instructor explaining safety guidelines along with the ins and outs of how to use rappelling ropes. You might then hike to the top of the canyon where a zip line awaits to transport you through lush rainforest vegetation to your starting point on a steep canyon ledge overlooking a deep gorge. Here you will begin to rappel down the side of the canyon, stopping for bird’s eye views of Costa Rica’s indigenous plants and animals such as primary rainforest trees, wild orchids, white-faced monkeys, macaws and other tropical wildlife.
Don’t Forget The Swimsuit
Normally it’s suggested you bring a swimsuit (and towel) because there are lots of water features on the way down. Perhaps the most exhilarating experiences involve rappelling through waterfalls.
Your guides know how to do this safely and where to stop along the way for a cool swim in fresh, pooled water.
You can learn a lot about the basics of rappelling during a canyon adventure. You most likely will be using a Black Diamond ATC (the ATC stands for Air Traffic Controller – a clever way for the manufacturer to say this device would stop a flying climber in a fall). This is a clasp-like versatile tool that facilitates the climbing rope.
You will also learn about the Petzl Pirana, another tool specifically designed for canyoning to help set the correct friction setting. The Pirana performs well in waterfalls, because it tolerates twists in the rope and debris tangled in the rope.
And there’s so much more. At the end of one of these tours, you can be satisfied with what you have accomplished, and proudly say, “I’m a canyoneer. Thank you, Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio.”