Costa Rica: High Wire Act (a.k.a. Ziplining)


I watched as one of the students flew across the zipline over the Pacuare River with the greatest of ease. Her yells of delight floated down to those of us standing on the ecolodge’s deck.

“Are you going?” another student asked me.

I shrugged. “If there’s time?” I said uncertainly. Dark rain clouds were rolling in and there was still a group of eager zipliners to go.

Between my fear of heights and Jeff Jackson’s dislike of ziplines firmly imprinted on my brain, I didn’t feel the need to go. On the flip side, I wanted to be brave for some of the other students facing similar fears.

I sighed as one of our raft guides let us know that they’d get everyone through the zipline today. Fine. I’d go.


I marched up the hill with the other instructors, got suited up in a rock climbing harness, helmet, and heavy duty leather gloves, and continued up the hill to the first platform.

Bullet ants crawled around, making it dicey to put a hand down anywhere.

David, the raft guide for my boat down the Pacuare, explained how it worked as he clipped me to the line. He showed me where to put my hands to keep from injuring myself and what to do if my rate of speed didn’t get me all the way across.

I nodded at the instructions. My mouth was dry and my legs, wobbly. I sat back in the harness, kicked up my heels, and flew through the jungle canopy. I didn’t look down, only out towards the next platform.

Four lines later I had crossed the river twice, hauled myself to each of the platforms, and didn’t feel the need to ever do it again.

For a selection of photos from one of the instructors, click here.

Published by Kate Monahan

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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