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Got Any "Do's and Don'ts for zip-lining, ATV, etc. with kids in Costa Rica?"

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Got Any "Do's and Don'ts for zip-lining, ATV, etc. with kids in Costa Rica?"

Old Mar 27th, 2005, 10:46 PM
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Got Any "Do's and Don'ts for zip-lining, ATV, etc. with kids in Costa Rica?"

Never having been flying along a zipline, operating an ATV, or for that matter hiking in a rain forest.... or horseback riding for too many years... what advice do you have for doing these with a 9- year old boy? I suppose it is all pretty safe because I have not heard of any tourists loosing limbs or worse. But if you have any suggestions... things that YOU know now and we will find out THERE, that's great! It all sounds like a blast.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 04:07 AM
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I tried to find out safety info on zip lines prior to our trip last month but couldn't. We planned on doing the canopy tour until our nature guide in Monteverde informed us that they have had approx 80 accidents. He told us of a 10 yr old losing 3 fingers & of a woman losing part of her scalp because her hair got caught in the mechanism. I realize this is a small number of accidents but those stories, my fear of heights & the fact that they are not inspected or regulated in any way made me change my mind. We did the suspension bridges instead which were also scarey but fun. My kids are 18, 15, 11 & 9 and they were fine with the change in plans. We did see a lot of other kids there who did it & loved it but I'm still glad we didn't. We had plenty of excitement & adventure on the rest of the trip. It's an incredible place!
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 04:30 AM
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Regarding the zip lines,: long hair pulled back is a must. And wear deep woods OFF. I found that wearing loose clothing is also helpful. They really strap you into those harenesses so if you're wearing tight or stiff clothing, it can be uncomfortable. I wore jersey exercise shorts and a T-shirt and that was perfect.
Lisa S
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:12 AM
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"operating an ATV" 4 Wheelers as we call them are lots of fun, but can be rather dangerous even for the experienced driver. We have owned ATVs for as many years as they have been available, our children grew up riding, but we live in a rural area, we farm and we have a cabin on 1700 acres of wooded property with miles and miles of trails.

I have never been on an ATV while on vacation, I just don't like the destruction they do to nature, from running tires all over the place, to the disturbance of noise. Not to mention you eat dust the whole way. But that is just me.

I am glad you asked this, it always makes me uncomfortable when I see ATVs available to rent to people with no experience, in the states you are required to attend a safety course when you purchase one. Recently there was a post of a man who came around a curve, got into loose gravel and flipped, ending up in the hostpital.

If you decide to do this, just know the dangers and ride with the utmost of caution. Remember driving a car the first time?

As for horseback riding, well if you remember, you may be very sore after a ride! Whether or not to ride, would depend on where - on the beach or in the mountains? Keep in mind that the jungle trails are rocky and most times slippery.

Can't tell you a thing about ziplining, my husband did it once, said it was exciting. There seem to be many that have great fun on the ziplines, which is obvious by the number of ziplines available now. In Feb, we ran into a couple, the wife had a fabulous time until her husband hit a platform and ended up in a clinic, with 8 stitches.

Personally I don't go to Costa Rica for thrill rides. I guess enjoying the great wonders of nature is thrill enough for me.

That doesn't mean that I do not enjoy some excitement, because I have very much enjoyed the white water rafting, snorkeling, all of our river trips, horseback tours (to name a few) and our offshore fishing in Feb was a huge adrenaline rush, but I guess I most enjoy hiking and gazing at nature.

There is lots to do in CR for thrills, just pay attention to the safety lessons and don't do it if it makes you uncomfortable.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Interesting and valuable info, thank you. So, are there any tips on making sure, if we do the ziplines or ATV's, etc., on how to play it safe? Don't do this or do do this advice? I heard that you shouldn't let the child go alone, but with a guide or another adult. Anyone know how to scope out a zipline in advance to detect anything that could be dicey, like wires that are frayed?? Gracias!
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Have takein my kids ziplining, my older child is 9, and to start of we had him teathered to the guide until he felt comfortable going on his own.

We had no issue, and both my kids(the younger is 3) had a blast and went a second time.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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I'm not sure where you're going but Canopy Safari is one zipline company that has been inspected and approved for safety, construction, and training by ACCT (http://www.acctinfo.org/) I found their safety speech well-rounded & professional, and though I was scared at times being up so high, I never felt unsafe. I am going back in May & plan to do it again I had so much fun. I'm sure there are many other companies that are approved by ACCT, it should say so on their website. And they did warn us about long hair too.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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My husband took a 10 yo and 12 yo on the ziplines near Manual Antonio and said it was very safe.
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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dfarmer, thank you very much for discussing the ATV's. I do not recommend them as something to do either.
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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This thread has lots of good info on zip-lines.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...6&tid=34548821

Also, if you do a search about horseback rides on this board, you will see lots of info. Some adults have said that they did not feel safe on the horseback ride to the volcano. Others have raved about the Finca Valmy horseback ride near Manuel Antonio. We did the horseback ride (and ziplines) at Turubari Park and it was a very calm ride.

Have a great time.
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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We did a zip tour with Canopy Safari. I don't have any specific advice about doing this with a child, as we do not have any. Nevertheless, as two adults we enjoyed the zipping immensely. I felt very safe and harnessed in--the safety talk was thorough. There were plenty of children in the group who seemed to be enoying themselves.

Some thoughts:
How good is your child at following directions and remembering them?
There are important things to remember in order to to avoid injuries like:
(i) "Don't ever tough the zip line unless the guide says to" (or you risk pinched or broken fingers);
(ii) When rapelling (sometimes necessary to get down to the next zipline) "keep the line away from your body"--I did not on one rappel and got a little bit of a rope-burn on my torso (which the guides made sure to check to see if I needed first aid--I didn't).
(iii) Don't touch your clip after you rappel because it is very hot (another lesson that both DH and I learned the hard way).

As long as you realize these risks and can take proper precautions you will have a great time. And just remind your child about these safety measures between zips!
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 09:58 AM
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We just got back from a fabulous trip to C. Rica. Our experience with the Sky Trek zipline was incredible. The guides were fantastic, the lines were very safe. All very professional. They have a different type of brake system so you never need to touch the line. I felt safe the whole time. You wear a helmet, so I'm not sure how your hair could get in the way, but I did have mine pulled back. They even took our 5 year old. He had a blast. Our 17 year old thought it was quite a rush also. It's very high and fast - but we never felt in danger. Just a rush. You zip along and can see the volcano and Lake Arenal. We also saw Howler monkeys. I highly recommend it!
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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I just tried to post this, but it didn't happen, I apologize if it shows up twice. Anyway, I was nervous about the zip-lines, too, and discovered in my research, Hacienda Pozo Azul in La Virgen. We also loved this area and stayed near there for 2 days before heading to Arenal. Check out their website at haciendapozoazul.com. They have an extra line that you are strapped to for safety (you can see it in the slideshow). We felt very safe and had a great time. My 10 year old felt more comfortable going with a guide. I was also very nervous about the braking with your hand, but that was no problem and I never felt in danger with this-it was very natural after the first or second run. Hope this helps.
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for your great ideas and valuable tips. We will go and let you know...if we come back with ten fingers and toes! (i'm not poet, i know it).
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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In January, we went ziplining in the Arenal area with "Arenal Paraiso"; I would recommend them. There were two children in our group, one only 8 years old. We wore leather gloves so there was no worry about burns and the guides were very safety conscious. Since the 8 year old was light-weight, one of the guides went with her most of the time to ensure that she made it all the way to the next platform; but they did let her go by herself on some of the shorter and faster lines. My biggest advice would be to make sure you do a canopy tour with a reputable company. Then listen to the guides...brake (pull down on the line)when they tell you and only then. In our experience, the kids had a heathly respect for what they were doing and less fear than the adults!
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Old Mar 29th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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Hi,
We were just in Monterverde and did the Selvatura Zip and we really had a great time. The staff were great and seemed very safety concious. I must note our friends did the sky trek zip in Monteverde and they loved it also, but they did ruin there shirts as oil was all over them. I am not sure why as we did not have a drop on any of us with Selvatura. So a note to not wear your favorite jacket or t shirt.
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 08:07 AM
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Is there more than one Sky Trek company? We did the one at the base or Arenal. On the way to the Observatory. Only a 15 minute drive from Tabacon (due to a gravel road) Is there also one in Monteverde? Or could I be such a dimwit that I didn't know I was in Monteverde?!
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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We went to Cost Rica in May of 2004 and had a great time. That being said, I flipped my ATV while going up the side of a hill. The guides assumed I knew what I was doing and since I saw the guides go up I thought I would. Needless to say I got stuck half way up the side, panicked a little and hit the gas which made my ATV jump up and flip over towards me. I was able to push it to one side and it landed right next to my head. What a rush! But, I did see my life flash by (lol) and it could have been a lot worse. I would have hated to get medical attention in their country. Not that they might have good hospital, but I wouldn't have wanted to find out.
My advice for ATV riding is don't take any chances, don't go super fast and keep all four wheels on the road. I don't care for horse back riding so ATV's can be an alternative way to see the countryside.
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 07:55 PM
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Just for future reference (God forbid!), CR has a good reputation in the area of heath care--you'd have been okay at the hospital! As you say, you're lucky you didn't have to find out--what a way to spoil a vacation. Glad all is well!
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Old Mar 31st, 2005, 03:59 AM
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Chuckster,
The origional Sky Trek is in Monteverde. They just recently opened the new one down in Arenal. Same company.
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