Costa Rican Ecotourism

Costa Rican Ecotourism

One of the countries that I’ve been to that does eco-tourism well is Costa Rica.  In visits to five different areas of Costa Rica over twenty years, I have found that Costa Rica takes ecology and conservation efforts seriously, and allows people to experience nature in a non destructive manner.

Last week, I participated in a canopy zip line tour.  The advantage of being near the canopy, or treetops of the rainforest, is that is where the majority of the bird life, and animal life, live, to avoid predators, and to enjoy the sunshine and protection of the treetops.

The canopy tour starts by taking you via tractor to the top of one of the local mountains, where you are locked into a main carabiner, and two backup carabiners, and walked onto a platform.  The platforms are built non-destructively around trees, using steel braided cables, plastic, and wood blocks, and is well secured, even if the platforms sway with the trees.

The zip line goes as fast as 90 miles per hour, and braking is done by leather glove – you put one hand on the cable, and one hand on the cable, and pull down to brake or slow.  There is also a resistant wood block that acts like a brake as well.

While the best speeds are done when your center of gravity is up, and the ride is safest when your legs and arms aren’t out where branches can catch them, some of the riders choose to ride upside down, or backwards.  Helmets are required at all times, along with the gloves, for safety reasons.

As Costa Rica, as a nation, moves from agriculture becoming their primary contributor of GDP, to tourism becoming the largest source of money into the country, more and more zip line tours are coming up.  I had a great time and would highly recommend it.


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