Zip Lining in Costa Rica at El Santuario Canopy Adventure

As we age, the realization that our time on this earth is limited becomes more apparent. But don’t let the gray hairs fool you – life is far from over. At the youthful age of 54, I embarked on a thrilling zip lining experience at El Santuario in Costa Rica and let me tell you, it was an adventure of a lifetime.

Man zip lining in Costa Rica.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in Costa Rica, look no further than El Santuario Canopy Adventure. Nestled in the lush rainforest near Manuel Antonio, this experience will satisfy any adventure lover’s Bucket List or simply make a great addition to your To Do List. The adventure lasts approximately 4.5 hours and is the best way to experience the rainforest canopy.

The Road to El Santuario

​Included in the cost of the tour was roundtrip transportation to and from our hotel. Before heading to the sanctuary, we stopped at the office to sign release forms.

Small building with a zip line business and a pharmacy.

Although safety is the top priority, there are inherent risks and accidents can occur. (On a personal note, taking risks like zip lining is a good reason to get travel insurance – just in case something goes wrong.)

Woman reading an agreement that she has in her hand.

Located a short drive from the popular Manuel Antonio National Park, the drive takes you through a densely planted African palm plantation. (This where palm oil comes from.) At the end of the road visitors arrive upon the 500-acre reserve which comprises primary and secondary jungle.

Open dining area covered with a metal roof.

The first thing we saw was the pavilion where we were greeted with fresh fruit and drinks.

Plates of pineapple and watermelon on a table.

We also had the chance to use the restroom before the adventure began.

Safety Preparation

The professional bilingual guides provided a thorough briefing on safety procedures and helped us gear up. Their emphasis on safety and top of the line safety equipment helped my nerves. (At least a little.)

Woman on a wagon wearing a safety helmet.

The Zip Line Adventure

The guides and the guests loaded up in trucks and a wagon and road to the first zip line. In total, there are 10 double-anchored zip lines, 14 tree platforms, five hanging bridges, three nature walks, and one double belay rappel. All of that is over 3.6 kilometers in length. (That’s 2.23 miles for us Yanks.)

Red tractor pulling a green covered wagon.

The longest zip line stretches 4,300 feet – that’s nearly a mile (0.8)! The cool thing about that line is that there are two so couples could zip down simultaneously. It’s the longest twin zip line in Central America.

Man and woman zipping down the same zip line in Costa Rica.

The lush vegetation is home to toucans, sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys, red-backed squirrel (titi) monkeys, and agoutis, among other wildlife. You may or may not see any on your tour.

People waiting to zip line on a path in the jungle.

Tips for Your Trip

  • Wear comfortable clothing: Lightweight, breathable fabrics are best for the humid rainforest climate. You also want to make sure that your shorts or pants provide adequate coverage for where the safety gear will be. 
  • Do not wear flip-flops: I recommend you wear tennis shoes or some other type of comfortable closed-toe shoes.
  • Zip it up!: Secure your personal belongings in zipped pockets. If your phone falls to the forest floor, you will probably never see it again. The same goes with your keys, sunglasses, camera, etc.
  • Book in advance: This popular tour can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.
  • Tip: Don’t forget to bring a tip for the guides and the cooks. (10 – 15% of the cost is an ideal amount.) There is a box in the pavilion where you can leave it. 

If you are a “bug magnet,” you might want to apply an insect repellent before heading out to the jungle.

Leaf cutter ants walking along a dirt path.

I thought it was neat watching these leaf cutter ants make their way across the trail.

Man rappelling down a tree.

Buy the Photos!

There were a few times that I took a risk and whipped out my phone to take photos. I am grateful, though, that there was a guide on the tour taking pictures of everyone using a DSLR camera. He was able to get pictures from different perspectives and they have become priceless treasures of our trip. I was able to purchase the photos at the end of the tour for only $34.

Woman rappelling down a tree.

A Taste of Costa Rica

After the zip lining adventure, we enjoyed a delicious Costa Rican lunch at the pavilion provided by the tour. The food is prepared with fresh, local ingredients, adding an authentic touch to the adventure.

Plate of rice, chicken, black beans, salad, and a plantain.


Is there is a minimum age or minimum weight requried to participate? Yes. Guests must meet the following:

  • Be at least 4 years old. (Small kids will have to ride tandem with one of El Santuario’s guides.)
  • Weigh between 75 – 275 pounds.
  • Be in good health and able to walk one mile.

Those are the main requirements. (You will find the others listed on the website under the Frequently Asked Questions.)

Things that will disqualify you from the tour are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Health issues such as epilepsy, hemophilia, taking anticoagulants, or serious musculoskeletal disorders.

For more information, visit El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour’s website. Happy zip lining!

Please let us know in the comments below about your zip lining adventure in Costa Rica.

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