Canopy tours in Costa Rica

Old Jan 1st, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Canopy tours in Costa Rica

My husband loves seeing wildlife but is afraid of heights. He doesn't think he'd be able to do the zip lines, but may be able to do one with suspension bridges if they don't swing too much. Has anyone with a height problem done a canopy tour? And how much wildlife do you see?
Old Jan 1st, 2003, 07:06 PM
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Just got back from CR. In Monteverde we did Selvatour skywalk (bridges) and a canopy tour (zipline). We didn't see any animals on either. We did the skywalk first (around 9:00am)hoping to see some animals. It was a bit disappointing but the view of the canopy from the bridges was really beautiful. They didn't not swing. I don't think a guide would have been able to find animals for us but I believe there were guides for hire. The canopy zip tour was a blast. I was afraid and a bit shakey but the guides were very understanding. They actually escorted a woman who was too scared to go on her own. Once you begin a zip tour there is no turning back. The last zip was the longest at nearly 1000ft. After getting the hang of it, I suggest you relax and take in the views. It was a highlight of our trip. So enjoy!
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 07:11 AM
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Been to CR twice but haven't done a zip tour. Gone on hikes @ Arenal, Monteverde & Manuel Antonio where we have seen wildlife. And although others may differ, I think it's not very realistic to expect to see much wildlife at all flying along sky tours. Obviously you're high enough to see birdlife; but think about it --- a bunch of humans flying thru the trees make a bit of noise. Noise sends animals undercover. Would any sensible monkey be sitting on the treetops awaiting their photo op?

Again, from my experience, if you want to maximize your chances of wildlife sightings stay on the ground. Also, try to go out early in the day; best to be there no later than 9:00 am (animals are more active in early hours, and again, at end of day). Go out with a small group. Again, it's the noise factor; a few people is much quieter than a dozen humans tromping the woods.

I have done the suspension bridge walk in Monteverde. Of all them, that's when I saw the least amount of wildlife. Only saw birds on that trek. I did walking thru it and being up high amidst the lush greenery. I don't have a problem with heights; however do be aware when you're on those suspension bridges and other folks are on at the same time (limited to about 10 or 12), you will feel movement. And they're really, REALLY, high off the ground.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 07:51 AM
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I have been to CR twice and have done the zip line canopy tour the first time we were there. We did not see any wildlife during that zip canopy tour. On the other hand, we saw plenty of wildlife during our hikes (especially if you have a good guide who can see and hear things you would never suspect are there).

Don't feel obligated to do a canopy tour if you are afraid of heights. They are really more of an amusement park type attraction than a good means to see wildlife.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:20 AM
Jay Weinstein
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I agree with Iza. My family and I went on a canopy tour and did not see any animals. We engaged in many activities while in Costa Rica and zip-lining was the group's least favorite. Try a horseback riding tour through the rain forest. We saw a great deal of wildlife that way.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:01 PM
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Thanks for the input. We will skip the canopy tours.

Another question: we are spending 4-5 days in the Osa Peninsula and plan to spend an equal amount of time in ONE other region in CR. What would you recommend to have a different kind of naturalist experience--volcano? float trip? cloud forest?--without being too touristy.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 09:26 PM
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If you don't have your Osa reservations yet I would allow some time in La Fortuna before heading down there. You could take a horseback trip down there from Monteverde/Santa Elena or a Jeep Boat Jeep trip. Both a lot of fun. While in La Fortuna you could take a day trip to Cano Negro, go see caves, take a horseback trip to a waterfall, sit in the hot springs and, most importantly, see a live volcano. You could also look at the Rios Tropicales web site and look into one of their rafting trips out of the Arenal area.
BTW The skywalk at Santa Elena Reserve is beautiful. The Hummingbird gallery at Monteverde is amazing as is the butterfly farm closer to Santa Elena (the road to the butterfly farm is across from the Heliconia Hotel). For a good chance to see some wildlife take a hike in the Finca Ecologica. We always see something there. For a good cup of coffee and a sandwich or some pastry try Stellas Bakery on the road to Monteverde Reserve. Lots of art galleries along that road also including the womens coop which I always try to buy something at to support the local women. Be sure to have some long pants and a light jacket as well as a raincoat or cheap throw away poncho. The weather is very unpredictable up there. It can be raining in the cloud forest but dirt dry in Santa Elena.
Have fun on the Osa..I finish up every trip I take to CR down there.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 02:56 AM
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I did a canopy tour last year in Costa Rica. I was leary about doing it as I am not fond of heights. There was a woman in her early 60's id say who was staying at the same hotel as I was who had done the canopy tour. She told me " Oh you'll have a blast. Its wonderful" Well I did it and all I can say was that for the three hours I couldnt wait for it to end. I didnt enjoy it at all. Even though you are securely fastened, and there is no danger, the height really can get to you. Dont do it if you are in the least bothered by heights.
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 11:33 AM
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Just back from Tamarindo where we did the Tamarindo Long Lines Canopy Tour. We are both 40's in relatively good shape, Have parasailed, ATV'd in jungles, and while not thrilled with heights thought we could do this as was highly recommended. YIKES!! What a surprise, after minimal instruction on the how to do it, and with no actual practice, I soon found myself on a platform HIGH up there and zinging on the first of 8 runs. The first one was 1700+ feet, I was TERRIFIED, hot, almost lost my fingers in the pulley attachment, and did not make it all the way to the next platform!! After they rescued me, and I was now climbing up the rickety open ladder to the next platform, I looked back to see me wife stuck where I had been and before she could be rescued the next person was zinging towards her!! No way down except the next line, and although wildlife was seen by others, I was way too tired, and petrified at our predicament to be able to look!! Needless to say although not a wuss, I am also not a little monkey with super upper body/arm strength, and was way over-extended!! Others may be great but Tamarindo Long Lines left me exhausted and ready for a beer while I WATCH others adventures on Fear Factor or Survivor!!
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 07:23 PM
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I found the Canopy tour out of Quepos boring. Maybe if I was afraid of heights it would be better but after one zip I wanted it over. You will never find wildlife...a bunch of people making noise tends to scare them away. I found the best way to see wildlife was with a guide (they know where they are and have telescopes) though the highlight of my trip was running into a pack of squirrel monkeys on a solo hike in Manuel Antonio/Quepos in the Hotel Plinio Nature Reserve. It's free just find the hotel and the trail. Pictures I will treasure forever. Just smiling right now thinking about the trip!
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