For me, Monteverde (located in the centre of Costa Rica) is, and will always be, one of the most immersive and beautiful places in South America. It’s good food, fantastic hotel resorts (donut breakfast!), and an adrenaline pumping experience.
I didn’t know that morning, during the donut breakfast buffet previously mentioned, that I would be suspended 160 ft above the rainforest canopy. You could imagine my surprise, therefore, when I encountered one of said zip lines, balanced precariously on the edge of a mountain. A structure of cheap steel and wood. I mean come on! Really!
I was harnessed and ready to go, my heart about to pump out of my chest and make a break for it, running away going “see you later sucker!”. Thankfully it didn’t, so I still had to do it.
Usually I’m an adventurous guy, someone who’ll try new things. Not then. Then I wanted to get away, to not do it. I didn’t though, I reinforced, reassured and reenergised myself, this became incredibly important when I was the first person to be clipped to the line.
Imagine, for a second, you’re in my shoes. A size 9 1/2, probably some sort of office shoes- anyway, you’re basically dangling there, and then you go forward through a hoe in the trees and there’s the floor…a long way down.
I’m not scared of heights. Falling from them, however, is something I don’t really plan on doing, nor do in the future, so I immediately pulled on the brakes. That’s important, that bit, that reflex I had no control over. You’ll need to remember that for later on.
The first three or four weren’t bad, an introduction to get you’re body used to basically flying through the air attached to a piece of string. Something we surprisingly aren’t supposed to do-Who invented Ziplining? I mean, what were they doing?
Then you got confident, the adrenaline kicks in and you’re ready to go, skipping from track to track. I was on the 9th, 10th, 11- wait. Wait what was that?
Halfway through the penultimate track I saw the next one, and a (fair to say) obese lady simply stopping at the centre of it. Left hanging there overlooking what I was told at the end of the course by a smiling staff member the highest, longest and fastest track.
Haha, silly woman, thinking that was a good idea. Hahaha-wait. I’m next! Oh lord how do I get out of- oh okay I’m guessing I’m being clipped in now.
Well, see where this is going?
I was clipped in and stupidly peered over the edge. It was a long way down. I could picture myself falling down, arriving at the bottom with a sickening crunch. As I set off, accelerating at an alarming pace, that panic came back to me, the reflex came back as well and I applied the brakes. I applied the brakes! Why in all that is holy would I apply the brakes. Now I was stuck there, the wind whipping around me as I rocked from side to side, the cable creaking. I had to pull myself along, which I did. Putting one hand in front of the other as I tried to escape the black void beneath me. I was higher up than the tallest trees, which swayed back and forth. After five minut-five minutes! After five minutes of this I picked up speed and accelerated again, going once more as fast as usual. I was going very fast, so fast in fact that when I put the brakes on at the end, sparks flew out. I was left there on the precipice, breathing at an alarming rate (although this could be mainly due to the exercise I had had to do.) and at the end of the course.
Although my accident was a scary ordeal, I would recommend anyone visiting Monteverde to check out their Ziplining service as it is well worth the money. The staff are incredibly friendly and the café at the end allows some time to unwind!