Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde, Costa Rica-Part 2- Hanging Bridges

After finishing our final kilometre long cable, it was time to take our wobbly adrenaline laden legs back down to the reception area to take our gear off.

Once we were relieved of our harnesses, we moved on to the next phase our of our adventurous morning at Selvatura, the hanging bridges.

Literally walking through the clouds

Literally walking through the clouds

These treetop walkways put you right where the action is. Not only do you have the entire canopy below you, but you have the zip-liners above you. We were so glad that they recommended we do zip-lining first, because the hanging bridges were a great way to see all the cables we had just been on from a different vantage point (and with our eyes open!)

Starting the trek

Starting the trek

Selvatura has 8 hanging bridges with distances ranging from 150 feet to 510 feet and altitudes ranging from 36 feet to 180 feet. There is a forest path to hike along between the bridges, so the entire course is about 3 kilometres.

Unlike a lot of the other hanging bridges in . Monteverde, Selvatura’s don’t move all that much. Although they certain have a little bit of sway to them, they are still pretty sturdy under your feet. So this is a great option if you are travelling with someone who isn’t the hugest fan of heights (like some people we know)

It’s self guided, so you can take as long, or as little as you like. Shaun and I finished in just over an hour. I think we spent half the time looking around, and the other half talking about our zip-lining adventure!

Once we arrived back at reception, we waited for their complimentary shuttle to take us back to our hotel. This is such a huge perk, and made our day much easier.

P1020642If you are heading to Selvatura Park for some Adventuring here are our tips:

  • Wear Layers: Zip-lining is cold, but hiking can make you hot! make sure you have a couple layers so you can disrobe as needed
  • Waterproof is a Must: Even if the sun is shining in town, the cloud forest is usually damp. We both had waterproof coats, but the gift shop does sell ponchos
  • Bring a Snack: There is a pretty fancy restaurant on site, but not much for snack food. If you are spending a day at the park bring a snack. A very small backpack can be taken on the ziplines but they also offer lockers for day use.
  • Long Pants and Close Toed Shoes: Like I said, it is cold so pants are essential, and obviously you don’t want to be losing your flippy floppy’s while your zipping!
  • Check Out the Rest of the Park: Although we only spent a morning at Selvatura, you could easily spend the entire day there. In addition to the zip-lining and hanging bridges, they have several other exhibits including an insect, frog, snake, and butterfly museum.

So there you have it! Another adventure down, many more to go. Thanks again Desafio and My Costa Rica for making it happen!

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde, Costa Rica- Part 1-Zip-Lining

Today’s post is another part of my collaboration with My Costa Rica. A big thanks to both them and Desafio Adventures for another amazing experience!  

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.

geared up, and looking a little nervous!

geared up, and looking a little nervous!

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.

Our orientation, and one of the few photo's I would take this whole time.

Our orientation, and one of the few photo’s I would take this whole time.

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.

Totally stole this photo from the internet, but it gives you an idea of what we were working with! Click for the link!

Totally stole this photo from the internet, but it gives you an idea of what we were working with! Click for the link!

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!

Shaun zooming in on one of the first lines

Shaun zooming in on one of the first lines

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.

Taken from below, a couple doing the final Kilometre long zip together

Taken from below, a couple doing the final Kilometre long zip together

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!

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress