Top 10 Latin America Zip Lines
Despite growing popularity among modern tourists and adventure-seekers, zip lines in some form have been around for at least two centuries and possibly much longer. Today, many zip lines are billed as eco-tourism activities that allow intrepid travelers to get up close and personal with Mother Nature in remote destinations not otherwise easily accessible. Of course, the extent to which zip lines are eco-friendly largely depends on the outfitter providing the tour, but there’s one thing they all have in common— drawing daredevils by the multitudes as extremely popular vacation activities.
Zip lines in Latin America and beyond usually consist of a cable and pulley system mounted between trees, posts or even the sides of canyons and mountains that send passengers flying across often expansive stretches of cable at dizzying speeds and heights. In fact, there is something of a worldwide competition to see which operator can build the tallest, longest and fastest ride around. There even is a growing segment of adventure travelers who build entire holidays around the activity.
In Central America and South America, the amount of zip line companies is booming and safety regulations in most places have come a long way since the early days of the industry, so there’s never been a better time to don that helmet and those gardening gloves to see if zip lining is for you.
Here is our list of the Top 10 Latin America zip lines:
Jaguar Paw | Belize
Great for first timers and even kids, the zip lining at Jaguar Paw, Belize is easy going and comes packaged with a guided tour through the jungle. You can even book a relaxing cave tubing experience for after and be wowed by the Maya underworld that is Xibalba. Bring your bug spray for the zip lining and your waterproof GoPro for the cave tubing to capture the soaring limestone archways, itty bitty bats and awe-inspiring caverns.
Arenal Park | Costa Rica
Costa Rica is awash in zip line tours but if it’s unobstructed views of Arenal Volcano you’re after, there’s no place better than SkyTrek in Arenal Park. This thrilling zip line circuit runs between La Fortuna and Monteverde and begins with a ride in an open-air gondola. Then, get ready for seven zip lines of up to 2,493 feet long and 656 feet tall. It’s not for the faint of heart, and children under 8 are not allowed. Stay tuned for a full report on the brand new Diamante Eco Adventure Park when we get back from our upcoming FAM.
Guanacaste | Costa Rica
It only seems fair that two of our Top 10 favorite zip lines are in Costa Rica since this idyllic Central American destination is the undisputed adventure tour capital of Latin America. Over in Guanacaste lies Miss Sky Canopy Tour, where you’ll soar above mountains, valleys and ravines with outstanding views of rivers, waterfalls and the ocean. There are 21 runs in all, and they add up to the world’s longest canopy tour at almost seven miles. Even at this distance, you’ll never want it to end.
The Amazon | Peru
Amazonia’s Zip Way Canopy Adventure takes guests 100 feet in the air to soar between three huge old-growth trees. Although it isn’t one of the highest or longest in the world, it is the very best on offer in this region of Peru, and you definitely won’t be disappointed. In fact, Fox News once named it one of the 15 Craziest Zip Lines in the World! It also was designed to minimize impact on the chart-topping biodiversity found in the remote western reaches of the Amazon.
Vilcanota River | Peru
On the other side of Peru (just a hop, skip and jump from Cusco), is another of our favorite zip lines in Latin America. You’ll be picked up at your hotel before heading to the tiny Andean village of Oropesa to meet your guides. Before you take to the two thrilling zip lines strung across the valley and river between two towering mountains, you’ll hit the Class III and IV rapids of the Vilcanota River. This day trip is worth it just for the breathtaking scenery but swashbucklers will feel their adrenalin pump and their spines tingle at 700 feet up.
Iguazu Falls | Argentina
Embark on a four-hour adventure through the forest and its trail of giant trees on the Iguazu Forest Eco-Adventure at Iguazu Falls, Argentina. You’ll rappel down a canyon alongside magnificent waterfalls and soar 65 feet above the jungle canopy. En route to the zip line, you’ll enjoy trekking through the home of more than 2,000 plants species and 400 species of bird. At the end, get refreshed with a dip in a natural freshwater pool before checking out the nearby Selva Misionera.
Mindo | Ecuador
What better way to see Ecuador’s famed Mindo Cloud Forest than by zip line? At Mindo Canopy Adventure, a total of 13 lines stretch approximately two miles through the canopy and reach heights of up to 1,300 feet. Through it all, you’ll be awed by the exotic birds and lush greenery zipping past. Mindo was the first zip line tour in this region and one of the first in the country. Its friendly and helpful guides are fully trained for safety, and the outfit is affiliated with other zip line operators in Latin America.
Medellin | Colombia
Known for its late night parties and youthful appeal, it’s no surprise Medellin, Colombia also boasts some pretty spine-tingling adventure activities. One such experience is the top-rated zip line located in the eco-friendly Arvi Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll find a four-hour tour with five zip lines segments reaching heights of up to almost 1,000 feet above the dense jungle treetops. If you can concentrate from that height, the knowledgable guides also will tell you all about the abundant natural diversity of the area.
Cali | Colombia
Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin… most travelers would be hard pressed to even name another Colombian city. Cali may be off the normal tourist path, but its a city pulsing with the energy of two million inhabitants and a real zest for life. Located just outside this endearing city is Mi Universo zip line. At nearly 4,000 feet long, it once topped the list of the longest courses in South America, but losing that bragging right hasn’t slowed it down— we’re talking top speeds of 50 miles per hour folks.
Managua | Nicaragua
For those who are looking to up the zip line ante, how about a bit of volcano zip lining at more than 4,400 feet above sea level? On this five-hour guided tour, you’ll zip between 10 platforms spread around the craters of Mombacho Volcano while viewing native animal species that live only in Nicaragua and learning about the cultural and natural history of this intriguing destination. Be sure to open your eyes as you whiz through the sky above coffee plantations, small local huts, livestock, lush jungle and much more. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it!
Whether you want to plan a vacation around several zip line adventures or just want to make the closest zip line an exhilarating day trip on your next trip to Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador or Nicaragua, contact us today to begin planning your dream journey.
- Look for reputable, certified operators
- Make sure cables, pulleys and platforms are in good repair
- Wear a helmet, harness and gloves
- Listen to your instructor, and be aware of your surroundings