Monday, May 17, 2010


"I love the feeling of soaring through the air."
-2010 student

For some, it's exhilarating. For others, it's their worst fear. Both of these types of people would agree: it's the best way to see the upper canopies of the rainforest.

It's zip-lining.

Regardless of how you feel ascending that mountain, gear in hand, awaiting your flight from tree to tree; it requires no skill. Even the most terrified of heights can make this happen.

Last December I went zip-lining with the person designated "the most terrified of heights" that I know, and she completed it with "flying" colors: all 19 platforms at Adventuras La Carpintera (about 20 minutes away from our base). Amber Woods, age 27 at the time, said,
"It was great once I finally opened my eyes!"

Here's a breakdown of the activity, to put the light-headed at ease:
  1. Apply your harness, stepping into it like you're putting on pants (refer to 1st photo on right to see applied harness)
  2. Apply your helmet (refer to 1st photo on right to see applied helmets)
  3. Apply your leather gloves; one has extra protection because it is used as your "break" when zip-lining (refer to 2nd photo on right)
  4. Walk to the platform
  5. Your guide will attach your pulley to the cable as you help him elevate your body by doing a "pull-up" on the cable (refer to 3rd photo on right)
  6. Your guide faces you forward
  7. You sit in a chair position with legs crossed, body bent into a seated position (4th photo)
  8. Place your left hand on your harness, near your lap (4th and 5th photos)
  9. Place your right hand - the glove with the additional leather - on the cable BEHIND the pulley (4th photo)
  10. Your guide pushes you forward
  11. Pull down on your right hand to slow down (4th and 5th photos)
  12. A bumper and a guide on the next platform stop you if you haven't stopped yourself yet
  13. Enjoy the ride and the view!

And if this still doesn't help you, listen to Amber: "It helps to go with a guide the first couple lines... helps to ease your fears.... You're able to look out into the city and jungle, etc. which is calming.... And since you are clearly harnessed very tightly, the fear starts to subside and you get addicted to the rush of flying through the air."

See zip-liners in action in this video!

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