Costa Rica was one of three ports of call on an 8 day Carnival cruise we took last year. There were many excursions available, but I wanted to do the canopy tour (also known as zip-lining). My brother and his family also wanted to do the canopy tour. Unfortunately my wife had injured her shoulder, and opted for the sloth sanctuary instead.
The excursion started out with along bus ride on some really bad roads, including crossing a bridge with a giant hole in it through which we could see the river below.
One we arrived at the canopy tour location, we got in line. They fitted us with harnesses. The harnesses are like the ones worn by rock climbers. The attached to legs and waist. They attached a big pulley to the harness, as well as some dangling straps that fitted with karabiners. We also got leather gloves and helmets.
Then the people demonstrated how to safely go down the zip lines. They showed us how the stay straight, and how to slow ourselves down. They also showed us what to do if we got stuck in the middle. Now we were ready!
We followed the people down a dirt road, and then down a little side trail. We stopped to get a few pictures. When you are jungles like these, look at the ground. We watched fascinated by lines of leaf cutter ants carrying chunks of leaves to wherever they were taking them. Very cool!
As the line progressed, we approached some wooden stairs. Before we climbed the stairs, one of the straps on our harness was attached to the railing. As we made it to the first landing, another strap was tethered two the next railing before the first strap was detached. So we always tethered safely to the railing, or a to a tree or whatever.
The first platform was about 50 feet above the ground. The pulley on our harness was attached to one cable, and one of the karabiner straps was attached to a second zip-line. Only then were we untethered from the railing or the tree. So there was a safety factor there. Then all we had to do was lift our feet, and slide down the steel cable.
The first cable run was the shortest. I think they made it short to be less scary than seeing a line going hundreds of feet into the trees. This way people could get and idea of what it was.
They was always a guy on the destination platform ready to catch you if you lost control and were coming in too fast.
There were about 12 zip-lines. The longest was about 500 feet. The final zip-line took us down by the beach. Here we took off our equipment (helmets, harnesses, gloves, etc) and left them in a pile.
We made it back to the little restaurant where we got some fruit and drinks.
The Costa Rica canopy tour was a blast! But if you are afraid of heights, you will probably not like a canopy tour!