During our fabulous stay at Hotel Punta Islita we signed up for the zipline tour and really enjoyed it. No pain and lots of fun! Better yet, the age restriction was 5 meaning that 4 of the 5 grand kids could go zipping with us. Just outside the entrance to the restaurant at the Hotel we (8 adults and 4 kids) all got fitted with a harness, gloves, and a helmet. When the 5 year old saw how silly we looked, he immediately said he didn't want to go! I was wondering why we needed helmets - is it to protect us from monkey droppings?
Our guides for the day were Eduardo and Vialeo and they were great.
Once everyone was fitted, we jumped in the shuttle bus for a 3 minute ride uphill and into the tropical forest. As soon as we stopped, the youngest grand kid said "that looks very short, now I am not scared!" - he was referring to the practice zipline, which was about 20 feet long and 5 feet off the ground and used by our guides to show us how to zip. Oh and hmmm! was the response when that was explained. We all listened closely as Eduardo told us what we needed to do - "sit down, put one hand on top of the pulley, cross your legs, and have fun." "But how do we stop?" asked the youngest grand kid with a response of "we'll catch you at the end." Oh and hmmm! I knew he also wanted to ask what would happen if Eduardo missed. Eduardo then showed us how it was done on the practice zipline. Looks easy.
The guides always make it sound somewhat scary and with some shaky legs I walked about a minute to the first zipline holding my youngest grand kid's sweaty palm. And then we saw the first zipline - doesn't look so easy, it's high above the jungle floor, long, and disappears into the tree branches! The grandson's legs and mine were shaking a little faster. Eduardo went first and quickly disappeared on the other side, hopefully waiting there to catch us! I'm the oldest, but not the bravest, so I sent the grand kids first. And then, just to be safe, I volunteered my 6' 5" son-in- law to go next. I figured if he made it without dragging the zipline down to the bottom of the canyon and without knocking Eduardo off the platform at the other end, it would be safe for me! However, I did wonder how large and wide the landing platform was and would all of us fit on it or am I going to come in hot and fast and take out some of my family members!
When I finally made it safely across and saw the two grand kids smiling, we all let out one of our Costa Rica cheers "Pura" which was met with a loud "Vida" that reverberated through the jungle scaring the birds and monkeys. Pura Vida means "good life". With the first zip line under our belt, we are ready to tackle the rest of them.
What makes zipping at Hotel Islita fun and easy is that all six of the zip lines traverse back and forth across the same canyon - which means after one zipline, you walk a few yards down the hill to the next one, hook-up, and zip across the canyon, and then repeat that process again. If I had known it was that easy I would have brought a six pack of beer in a backpack!
By the third zip line, I was getting so brave that I actually cut in front of the grand kids and went first yelling "Costa Rica" and "Pae Vida" all the way across! And this went on for 3 more zip lines as we continued to crisscross the canyon on ziplines of varying lengths, heights, and speeds.
On one of the zips we were surprised by running into my brother, his wife, and the two non zipping grand kids waiting at the end of the zipline cheering us on. On another zipline, the two youngest grand kids were too light and couldn't get enough speed to make it to the end. Which means they had to lean backwards and upside down and hand over hand pull themselves back to the platform or wait for Vialeo to come and get them!
By the fourth zipline, we were all (me too!) confident and starting to wave, lean back, smile, yell "Costa" or "Geranimo," twist and turn, pose for the camera, look up and down and enjoy the scenery, and land confidently with both feet on the ground and without knocking our guides off the platform.
And then I saw the last zipline which looked straight down, very high, and very fast. Legs started shaking again! So I sent the grand kids first again.
But we all made it! And all too soon were walking back down the hill to the pool bar at the Hotel to talk about our fun zipline tour. We had so much fun we thought about taking the 2 hour twilight zipline tour but when we heard about the soccer game in Islita, we decided to try that instead. Our thanks to Eduardo and Vialeo for making our zipline tour fun!
Return to the rest of the Costa Rica Vacation Article.