I knew that at some point during our 5 months here in Costa Rica, I would want to go Zip-lining. I had been once before during a previous trip, but Shaun hadn’t. In fact, Shaun has a little bit of a fear of heights. I actually thought I was going to have to fly solo for this adventure, but Shaun decided he was in. What a brave lad.
Desafio hooked us up with a day at Selvatura Adventure Park. We would start the morning by zip-lining through the cloud forest, and then move on to the hanging bridges. It was going to be a busy morning, so we made sure we got a good nights sleep.
Our shuttle picked us up at 8, and we drove about 30 minute to the park. As soon as we pulled up, we were whisked away to get geared up. Their process is beyond efficient. You walk into a room full of guides and gear. One of them makes eye contact with you and calls you over. Before you know it, you’re in a harness, a helmet, gloves, and you are on your way. It all happens so fast that you really have no time to even think about what lies ahead.
After being put into our gear, we got into a shuttle for a short drive to the starting point. The entire process from getting there to getting to the entrance took less then 10 minutes. All of a sudden we were in the middle of the jungle, and faced with a very big adventure ahead of us.
The orientation was great. We were given clear instructions about the course, and the techniques we needed to know to get it done safely. Selvatura works on a hand brake system, which essentially means you stop yourself by pressing your glove on the line. Your glove has a big leather pad on the palm but It’s still kind of a scary thought at first. This was the technique I used last time, so I was okay, Shaun on the other hand, was not digging the whole “braking” aspect of the adventure.
So essentially zip-lining goes like this: they strap you to the line, you sit down in the harness, lean back, put your head to the side, lift your legs, put your dominant hand on the line behind you, and your other hand holding the line attaching you to the cable. Got it? Totally a completely natural and relaxed position to be in as your zoom thousands of feet through the air!
As you zip, the fingers of your dominant hand should circle around the line, like you are making the “Okay” sign with your thumb and pointer finger. When see the guide at the next platform putting two hands in the air (like he’s saying STAHP STAHHHHP) it means it is time to press your hand flat on top of the line to begin braking. It was raining the day we were there, which means the line go faster. They told us there may be a chance you would need to put both hands behind you to brake. Meep!
Lucky for us, we only had to do the two hand brake once. In fact, most lines we didn’t have to brake at all! Often we were stopped by an automatic stopper the guides put out on the line.
Once we got the hang of the whole braking process it was smooth sailing…or zipping from there.
Selvatura has 15 cables to zip through of all different lengths. Trying to describe the experience of zip-lining is nearly impossible. You are flying above the trees, through the clouds, at incredible speeds.the wind is hitting your face so hard you can barely keep your eyes open. It’s truly breathtaking, and a feeling that is impossible to capture in words.
The last line is a kilometre long. Can you imagine! An entire kilometre soaring through the air. But you don’t have to experience it alone, the last cable you are with a partner.Shaun was behind me, with his legs wrapped under my armpits, and I was just dangling there for dear life. It was like some sort of crazy couple bonding experience!
The final big obstacle at Selvatura is the King Swing. Essentially a small bungee jump set up, but instead of falling straight down, you swing out and then back and forth till you stop. It’s an optional experience, so Shaun vetoed it immediately. Having bungee jumped before, I figured I could handle it and jumped at the chance to take part
It wasn’t quite the same as bungee jumping, as you don’t really have a choice when you jump, they just sort of open the gate, and you fall forward. Either way, it was awesome and I’m so glad I did it.
After our zip-lining it was time for the hanging bridges…but I’ll put a pin in it for now. I can’t promise as much death defying excitement in the next post, but it was memorable nonetheless.
Have you ever zip-lined or bungee jumped? Lets hear about it!
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