rafting and ziplines for chickens?

Aug 6th, 2007, 05:46 PM
Original Poster
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rafting and ziplines for chickens?

Thank you VERY MUCH to those of you who helped with my previous question. Now another.

I would like to experience white-water rafting and a canopy tour while in Costa Rica, but I am afraid I will chicken out. I just am not a thrill seeker.

I can't even bring myself to try waterskiing. I've downhill skied, but unless I'm on the hill called "Granny" and no one else is on it, I'm really not very happy. Roller blading is okay as long as there are no hills or bumps. I've watched parasailing and that type of thing, but I don't think I'd ever do it. Get the picture?

I'm not saying I'm sedentary. I like hiking and sailing and crosscountry skiing and swimming and camping (short-term).

My husband and three daughters (ages 13-21) are of normal fear tolerance and I don't want them to miss the highlights of Costa Rica. In fact, I don't want to miss them myself if they really aren't all that bad.

Is there anyone who can relate to my mindset and give me suggestions about WHICH canopy tour and WHICH white water rafting experience would be best for us to try?

The only thing I know for sure about our trip is we will be in Osa for the last part of it, and it will be in the middle to end of Novemeber.
sweetmarie is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Ummm...maybe you better try the rafting first! Seriously though, there are different levels of rafting, so don't go for a 4 right off the bat! Rafting can be both fun and scary, but your guides will be great an make you feel comfortable.

Actually, we loved the sedate boatride along the Rio Frio (Cano Negro tour) the best. Mainly because of the awesome guide and driver spotting wildlife left and right. Your whole family will enjoy that!

To be honest, if I'm interpreting your post correctly, I don't see how on earth you're going to let them strap that harness on you and send you kareening over the canyons! That said, my 10 year old did it, I did it, and it was fantastic fun! We used Aventuras, one of the older running companies (we also did Cano Negro with them) and they have 11 ziplines over the falls. I wasn't sure I was going to do it...Like, you, it was my daughter who wanted to do it. I love adrenaline rushes, but I was sort of numb to the idea of zipping and reality didn't set in until we got to the falls and looked...down. After the first zip, it was a done deal and we all wore smiles and eagerly traipsed from one zip to the next!

I think if you commit to it, with your family there to share the adventure, you can have a blast! However, if you're really scared and don't feel right about it, there's nothing wrong with having a spa treatment instead.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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My friends 80-year old mother went ziplining in Costa Rica. Just think of her when you step on the platform.

But seriously, my mom was also very scared. And she didn't love the first zip across...she was too scared. By the second, she calmed down. By the third, she was in love, and now seeks out ziplines on every vacation she goes on.

I've been ziplining with a lot of people and many of them were as afraid as you at the start. But by the third line, they were having an absolute blast and couldn't believe they'd been afraid earlier. Of the 50 or so people I've been ziplining with, I can't remember a single one that stayed afraid and didn't absolutely love it.

As for white water rafting, if you are a good swimmer, then you have nothing to worry about. The worst thing that can happen is that you get dumped in the water and get tumbled about in the white water. It doesn't feel very different than getting knocked over by a big wave. But, you have a life vest on, so all you have to do is relax, because the life vest will take care of you - you'll pop right up to the surface within a few seconds or two. The worst thing that could happen (save a very freak and extremely unlikely accident) is that you'll get the wind knocked out of you or might swallow a bit of water, but I've rarely seen even that happen.

Tell the white water guide that you are very afraid, and sit next to him. That's usually the safest spot in the boat, and the one least likely to get thrown.

Then relax, you'll have a blast.
hills27 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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To expand on hipvirgochick's post, I don't recommend your first zip be over the falls. There's a zip on the Osa (can't remember the name, wasn't in charge) that's through the trees. You can't even see the ground because the forest is so lush. That would be better someone that is afraid.

Then you can go over the canyons!

(p.s. my mom's first zip was between the mountains in Whistler!)
hills27 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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Thanks for elaborating hills27, I was actually thinking about posting that as well.

Hills is right, it's probably better to try the zip in the Osa, or I believe there is also a zip company in Arenal that starts you off with a few short (in both length and height) zips. Your hotel will know.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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Sweetmarie, if you are a sailor, then I bet you've been in rougher water than white water rafting!

You could email Crocodile Bay and ask them what ziplining company they use. That's where we were staying.
hills27 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 07:14 PM
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p.s. make sure you and your daughters wear thicker, longer shorts - like chino bermudas. There was an unfortunate woman on the zipline with us in Whistler. Let's just say she pulled a Britney.
hills27 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 07:37 PM
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Hi sweetmarie,

I understand your concerns. I'm not a big-time adrenaline junkie myself!

That said, I did enjoy the ziplines in the Arenal area. We went to Sky Tram/Sky Trek. You take a peaceful tram ride up to the first platform and then have 2 shortish practice lines, after which you can opt out if you are still feeling nervous. My 67 year old mother who's terrified of heights made it through the ziplines! She opted to go in tandem with a guide and was really glad she didn't back out. Our guide at Sky Trek was a total sweetheart and really helped put her at ease. Sky Trek was a lot of fun and the vistas of lake and volcano were breathtaking! The lines are high and long, so it is a bit nerve-wracking when you get to that first major line, but if you can see it through, I think you'll be proud of yourself and just think of the bragging rights back home!

Can't help with the rafting. Most people really seem to love the Rio Pacuare though!
cmerrell is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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I do not think I would leave the zipline until you get to Osa.

Not because it is not a good one but because once you get to Osa you will HAVE to do this zipline whether you now want to or not.

I do not know where your travels are in Costa Rica but there are many zipline tours now and no doubt more coming up.

If you are in Arenal area, you can do one there.

You can even do the one in Monteverde if you get there.

The problem with the Monteverde tour is that it is in a Cloud Forest and more often then not there is a low lying mist (like a light rain) as you are zipping along the lines.

You will be splattered with the grease from the zipline cable lines and look like a leopard when you are finished... yes it is fun if you do not mind getting a little "mucky"!!

If you are driving in the Guanacaste region ,along the Pacific Coastline you will for sure come across several zip line tours.

If you go into the Rincon de la Vieja National park ...again there are two in here.

Maybe ...just maybe ! instead of white water rafting you might do a boat ride as has been mentioned or float ride( on the Corobici River) to see wild life.

One good one I know is the Palo Verde Boat tour down the Tempisque River.( The Tempisque River empties into the Gulf of Nicoya)

Here for sure you will see White Faced Monkeys on this Palo Verde Tour, that come right onto your boat from the trees.!!

You will have a good time whatever you decide.

Good All
Percy is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Sweetmarie - I bet you'll end up zip lining and rafting while you are in Costa Rica. Zip lining is not that big of a deal once you realize that you will be just sitting in the gear. You actually feel quite secure, it feels about like being in a swing except you can't come out of it. Remember to keep your hands spread apart so you don't tend to turn from side to side as you zip along. That sensation is not comfortable but with you hands placed far apart, you won't do that. The first few runs are usually pretty short and not all that high off the ground. I was pretty nervous when I started, but did not want to stop once we got going.

You'll have plenty of places to raft and it should be pretty easy to seek out class III rapids. You may want something a little more mellow than the Pacuare. There are some class IV's there that might be a bit much, especially in mid November. I went at Thanksgiving time last year and spent a lot of my time in the bottom of the raft. I can't wait to go again this November, but it is a pretty wet and wild ride at that time of year.

Enjoy your vacation!
Linda137 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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Re hands spread apart, it depends on the zip line. If you are on one of the ones where you self brake, you won't be able to spread your hands out because one hand will be on the line (with your hand in a big glove and leather thingy...yes, that is a technical term ;-) ). But, you don't turn side to side on those.

I like the self braking ones because you are more in control. but you can't hang upside down because (a) your feet could get caught up in the line, and (b) there's no one at the other end to brake you!
hills27 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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And I love hanging upside down.
hills27 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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hills -- Too funny. You know, I was the only one who did the Tarzan yell! What's up with that? I did the hand brake one too...Aventuras runs some loooooong cables. It was sometimes difficult to figure out when to start braking.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Percy gives some good boating options, and a friendly reminder that you will have several opportunities to decide if ziplining is for you!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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I appreciate all your help and advice. I think I can guarantee you I won't be ziplining upside down (!), but I sure hope I do find the nerve to take the plunge right-side up. We're leaning now toward spending time in Arenal before going to the Osa. Any suggestions about which particular zipline might be most conducive to cowardice?
sweetmarie is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 01:58 PM
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How about starting in Arenal. From there you can do the lovely slow boat trip on the Rio Frio and enjoy Cano Negro. You can try the zip line at the Arenal Paraiso or just do the tram ride at the skytrek/sky tram place while the others zip through space. You go up the tram together anyway. You can just go back down on it. You will still see some beautiful views from the tram. Last but not least, the Sarapiqui river offers several different rafting options depending on your fear factor. There is an intermediate level that might give you a thrill but not scare the life out of you. Good chance of seeing monkeys along the way as well as some interesting birds in that area.

I don't do well with heights but I went parasailing in Cozumel and loved it, didn't even feel like I was up high. They told me to let go and put my arms out, I didn't go quite that far. My daughter hung upside down by her knees, nope didn't do that either. Never thought I could do something like that so just think about taking a chance on the zip line, it might end up better than you thought. I grew up on a river where everyone had a boat and skis but it took me awhile to really get up and have fun on them. I was too scared and let myself fail because of it. It took the right people to make me feel secure enough and I got up the first try with them. I was never scared again and grew to just love it.

We can tell you all kinds of things but the important thing to remember is that it is supposed to be fun. If you just can't get over your dislike or fear of something it isn't going to be fun so don't bother. There are plenty of other things that you will enjoy.
Suzie2 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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Sweetmarie, I urge you to not over-process the canopy tour (like I did!) and just go for it. You sound exactly like me before I went the first time, and I just LOVED it. I was so disappointed when it was over... so much that for my 40th birthday I booked a trip back down to CR and went zip-lining on my birthday

You say you've downhill skied and roller-bladed... both of which pose a bigger physical risk. (Think of how many people break limbs doing both.) I personally won't go on amusement park rides (no WAY you can get me on a roller coaster, even to this day). The first time I went ziplining I was with my mom (in her late 60s) and she'll do anything. I was SO nervous before the first zip, so I made her go first. Then it was my turn... here's the good part... you don't have to jump, no one pushes you, and you're in total control. Literally all you have to do is lift your feet. Then you start to slowly glide until you build up a little speed.

If you do a zipline tour that's mainly within the canopy (as other posters mentioned) and not something like SkyTrek, where's it's more designed as a thrill ride above the trees, you seriously will have no idea how high you are... you just don't really perceive it! You just sense this smooth flying motion. After a couple zips, I was purposely looking down to try to see how high I was. And when I went on my 2nd trip -- I DID do a few upside-down. If you told me I'd do that when I was in your shoes, I'd never believe it!

Anyway, don't sit by while your family experiences it; I urge you to join in! After I did that first zipline trip, I had this huge sense of confidence and of having overcome a fear. I think the same will happen to you!
CarolM is offline  
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