This was the trip that started it all…a.k.a. first ever annual girls’ trip. I honestly can’t remember why we picked Costa Rica, but once we committed, I was determined to plan us the best 5 days of sand, sun, and adventure possible.
We based ourselves right at the gates of Manuel Antonio National Park, which gave us beaches and monkeys galore. But the adventure part was a bit trickier. Many people automatically think of ziplining when they think of Costa Rica, but the best-known ziplining area is in Arenal and Monteverde, not Manuel Antonio. Sadly, with only 4-5 days total, we didn’t have enough time to split our trip between two regions.
So I was excited when I found El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tours, which got great reviews on TripAdvisor and offered an experience that didn’t feel like the Costa Rican equivalent of Dave & Busters…
This is my excited face!
The El Santuario crew picked us up at our hotel, and we picked up a couple more folks along the way. Then we drove out to the jungle, about a 20-30 minute ride in a comfortable large van.
Once there, we got our gear on and they explained some safety things to us, and we walked to the starting point.
Unfortunately, there was a super poisonous snake at our starting point, so we sat for a few minutes while they tried to get it to move. Snakes are my absolute greatest fear. Well, burning alive is my greatest fear, so second-greatest. Though more likely to be a factor in my life on a regular basis…
This little guy is also poisonous, apparently. They told us to make sure we didn’t touch our skin once we touched this weird…caterpillar thing. I was super paranoid about it, but was thankfully okay. And it’s so pretty!
We ran (zipped? lined? flew?) a series of cable lines, with the trees fairly close in on us.
And then we did this bad boy. This is line #7, and it’s almost a mile long. It’s Costa Rica’s longest dual zipline, which means that Sarai and I were able to race each other. Clearly, I won 🙂
Throughout the afternoon Diego and the crew also gave us a lot of cool info on the vegetation and wildlife in the area. While not the main reason we came, it really added another layer to our overall experience.
We even tried it upside down once…which pulls really hard on your waist (yow!) but is pretty fun to try!
Yikes, not a good look for me…
Sarai and I accidentally both wore lobster shirts. Which…is a weird and very specific thing to have in common.
Our first successful girls’ trip in the books!
After completing the last line (#10, I think), you rappel down to get unhooked, which I love (I miss rappelling). Once we were back at the main camp, we were served a nice simple meal before being dropped off back at Manuel Antonio. All-in-all we had a blast spending the afternoon on the ziplines of the Costa Rican rainforest!
Tips for ziplining in Costa Rica with El Santuario:
- They will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the location; I don’t recommend trying to find it yourself, it’s really tucked back in the middle of nowhere.
- Safety is a top priority for the crew, and feel free to ask any questions of Diego and his team.
- This would be really challenging for those with physical limitations. There is quite a bit of climbing and walking involved, not to mention hanging off of the ropes (which can be quite uncomfortable at times).
- Most people would be more comfortable in very long shorts or capris, something like that—remember that the harness makes everything ride up. I knew that going in, but it was so hot I chose running shorts. Make sure you’re in comfy, secure shoes as well. No flip flops!!
- Make sure to wear sunscreen and hydrate well before going. You’ll have one stop for a bit of water, but otherwise you’re going to get really thirsty and sweat a lot, and you can’t really carry water with you.
- They will take photos of you for a small fee (I think it’s $35, and then $5 for each additional person). Most of the pics in this post are from the crew cameraman, and we felt it was money well-spent…it would really suck to drop your camera a hundred feet down in the jungle. Not worth it.
- Learn more about El Santuario if you’re planning a trip yourself.
Have I convinced you to take the plunge? For those of you who have ziplined before, what’s your favorite spot?
As always, all opinions expressed here are my own. I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post.