Friday, June 12, 2009

Ziplining Outside San Jose, Costa Rica

On our second day in Costa Rica, we took a tour with La Carpintera outside the city to go ziplining. It was more expensive that we would have liked at $75 US per person, but we did end up having fun and meeting a great French family that took us with them the following day to La Fortuna to see the Arenal Volcano.

A big, air-conditioned van picked us up right from our hostel and drove us to the Carpintera lodge. The only people on the trip were us and the French family (father Boris, mother Isabel and daughter Ilona). When we arrived, we got in a mammoth of a suburban-style 4-wheel drive vehicle to drive up the mountain so we could zipline down. The road was mostly gravel but smooth, and we only had to stop once to remove a huge fallen branch from the road!

When we got to the top, Dani and Alex helped us all gear up with harnesses similar to those I've used for rock climbing. Ilona, who was only 6, wouldn't be going on her own, but would take turns going with Dani and Alex. We also had a right-hand glove with a thick leather hand brake on it so we could slow down at the end of each cable before hitting the trees.

We did maybe 7 cables and one really long one - maybe 500 meters? It was starting to rain by the time we got to that one, so they told us to start braking 1/4 of the way into the ride! You can imagine how much faster you'd go if it's wet and slippery :-) We had a lot of great views of the capitol, San Jose, on our rides.

Afterward, we got to eat a traditional Costa Rican lunch with the French family, of whom only Boris spoke any English or Spanish. The lunch at the restaurant there was good, especially the fried plantains and fresh pineapple juice!

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