One of the most desired adventures in Costa Rica has to be the zipline. My husband and I have ziplined quite a few times, but always before we had kids. Our favorite zipline included a 1 hour horseback ride up a mountain and then a zipline over multiple river crossings and waterfalls. And in green season, we experienced the dubious thrill of wet ziplining (okay, it was really fun, but really, really wet). If it was adventurous, we were always game for it. All in all, it is an adrenaline rush and a great way to see a bit of the jungle, the birds, waterfalls, and wildlife. You get off a road and away from a resort and are exploring in the jungle in a “safe” way.
At what age can you zipline?
With our children, we try to include a lot of adventures and different experiences (though on a lesser scale), and we finally deemed that it was time for our wee ones to experience the thrill of THE ZIPLINE. Our litmus test was that our kids needed to be more excited than worried about the prospect of flying through the air on a cable. The time had come, but were they too young?
We called our closest (and preferred) zipline tour operator at Peninsula Papagayo to inquire. They are a mere 15 minute trip from the Peninsula Papagayo resort development, so an easy trip with little ones. The zipline tour operators were perfectly fine and well equipped for zipliners as young as 3 years old, as long as the kids and parents are comfortable with the idea. If a child is fearful, the whole concept of ziplining may completely backfire, in which case you will need to be OK with enjoying a cold beverage until the rest of the group returns.
Any ideas to help kids (or their parents) with the idea of flying through the air?
While our kids were excited, they were a bit reserved and not particularly effusive in their enthusiasm!
I didn’t want any other tourists around to mess with the positive, supportive, and fun family mojo we have, so we opted for a private tour ($10 more per person), which was well worth it. It was nice to go at our own pace without feeling any pressure from anyone else. We could go slowly across a suspended bridge if the kids were nervous, or if they simply wanted to look into the canopy below for 5 minutes to look for wildlife. We also stopped a few times to drink the provided water (bottled that the guides carried with them), as it was quite a hot day. There were two guides for our private tour. One guide to lead and one to follow, with the parents in between. Each guide was paired with a child to ride tandem. This is a safety measure, and also to make sure that there is enough weight for the kids to make it down the cable to the next platform.
To start, we were each helped with our safety harnesses and helmet (with a very un-photogenic hair net to protect their helmets!) They had some kid sized bike helmets, and the kids loved the Dora and Mickey themes. The adults were given leather gloves. Then we trekked out. They gave a rundown on protocol (“right hand is your braking hand, left hand holds onto the carabiners”, ” cross your legs at the ankles”, and “don’t forget to enjoy the view.”)
How was the ride?
And with no delay (seriously, no delay), there went my 5 year old and her tandem attached zipline guide, flying above the tropical dry forest on a cable… and she loved it! Whew! Then each parent went. WHEEEEEEEE! And luckily, the littlest 4 year old zipliner was all grins when he arrived. Success so far! We continued on a variety of cables.
At one point we had to zipline to a platform, climb up a vertical ladder, one by one, with quite the vertical drop below us. And then a suspended bridge (?!!) and on to another vertical ladder. The kids were clipped on safely each step of the way, either directly to the cable or directly to an adults’s harness, and they eagerly went on to the next part of the adventure. This zipline tour has 24 platforms, 11 cables from 100 to 450 meters in length, 3 suspension bridges, 3 climbing trees with pulley systems for safety, the tallest being 10 meters.
All in all, ziplining was a huge success and great fun!
I thoroughly appreciated the professionalism of the guides and the care they took in the enjoyment and safety of the kids. As a rockclimber, I was very aware of the correct protocol for the harness, the safety knots, and carabiner. The guides were extremely careful in all of these elements and especially in making certain that we all were clipped on to a safety cable at all times when on or near the zipline. Plus they did a great job in making the kids feel comfortable throughout the trip. And while I’m not convinced that it was because of the ziplining, my kids have been making “inventions” at home so that they can fly! Each child is unique (and each situation for that matter), so you are the best judge of your child’s readiness for a zipline adventure. Even if the tour operator will allow your child, it may not be something that you try until they are much older.
We look forward to ziplining again in the green season when the leaves are out in full force and some of the natural pools and waterfalls below us are more apparent. And next time, we will bring the grandparents! Here are other related ideas for your stay with Papagayo Luxury:
- Blog: Top 3 Multi-Generational Adventure Tours at Papagayo
- Blog: Our Perfect Day at Sea
- Blog: Top 5 Free Activities for Children Under 5
- List of adventures by land and by sea that can be organized by your personal concierge
Book your trip and fly through the air!
Call us at 305-600-0766 or contact me through the contact page so that we can advise you on the perfect villa for you and your family. Once you have made your plans, you will discuss your perfect vision of your ideal vacation with your personal Papagayo Luxury concierge who can guide you in your next zipline adventure, or one of the other many adventures to be had at Peninsula Papagayo.