Brandi Gallaher is a student at Oklahoma State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Brandi is currently studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica on an ISA Fall 4 program.
Upon coming to Costa Rica, I knew the one thing I had to do here was go zip-lining. Costa Rica is famous for zip-lining through its gorgeous rainforests, and I knew there was no better place in the world to go than here in Costa Rica. One of the best zip-lining places here is in a place called Monteverde, which is in the heart of the cloud rainforest in the province of Puntarenas. Most of my other weekends here have been filled with visits to the different beaches here, so I was ready for a good change of pace, since Monteverde is a more mountainous region and the climate is much cooler than the beach regions. So, on Friday after classes, three of my girlfriends and I caught a bus from San Jose to Monteverde.
It was about a 5 hour bus ride there even though it is only about 160 kilometers (about 100mi) away. The public buses often make many stops to pick people up and drop people off on the way to a destination. And, the roads are much more curvy and rocky, so cars and buses must drive slower. In Monteverde, we stayed at a hostel called, Camino Verde, that was about a 15 minute walk from the bus station. This has probably been my favorite hostel in Costa Rica because there was hot water, a thick blanket, and breakfast included, all of which was only $14 a night. Where can you find that in the U.S?
The next morning, we woke up bright and early to catch a shuttle to the zip-lining destination. Once we were there, they strapped us up and gave a quick briefing on how to safely complete the zip-lining courses. Then, we were off! At the first platform, I had so many emotions. I was so excited because I’d always wanted to do this, but I was a little nervous because I was going to be so high up in the air supported only by a strap and line, and I was going to be flying through the rainforest! It was absolutely amazing though! Words can’t even begin to explain the surreal feeling I had as I was flying through the sky while looking down at this magnificent rainforest below me. Everything was so beautiful. I could literally see every shade of green, and the clouds surrounding the mountains were incredible. I would recommend doing this to anyone who visited Costa Rica without a doubt. There were 12 platforms for this tour, and the last platform was a superman zip-line. So, I was strapped to the line face down, and I flew across the line like superman. This was probably my favorite platform because since I was looking down I could see everything around and below me. A couple of my friends had their cameras out to take pictures or video tape while they went across the line, but I don’t think any picture could really capture the experience, so I didn’t even bother. The superman gave me more of an adrenaline rush too because I couldn’t control the speed of the line, so I was literally flying across it, and I was staring down into the forest hundreds of feet below me. It was so crazy, and definitely a mind-boggling experience.
But, I’d have to say the biggest adrenaline rush I had during this tour, and probably throughout my entire stay here in Costa Rica was the Tarzan swing at the very end. For this, you jumped 197ft off this platform then swung through the air. It was like a gigantic swing. I was absolutely terrified. Only one person was allowed out on the platform at once, so my roommate, Kylie, went first. All I saw was her walking out, bend her knees and fall. She screamed all the way down. There was NO way I was doing this, absolutely no way! But, I had to! All of my friends were doing it, and I had been looking forward to it since I got here. And, aren’t the things you’re afraid of the most worthwhile? I had about 1,000,000 thoughts running through my head as I waited for my turn. Then, as I was walking down the platform, it hit me: things were about to get real. When I got to the end I looked down and seriously considered turning around and running away, but I couldn’t! The guides were already strapping me up and telling me what to do. Honestly, I heard none of their instructions. All I remember was saying every cuss word that came into my head then getting the sensation of falling. I couldn’t even scream until I started swinging back. But once I reached the bottom and collected myself, I felt amazing. It was the best feeling. I conquered my fear, and I freaking jumped off a platform into nothing but air! It was great, and I had the biggest smile on my face when I reached the bottom. This was an amazing day, and one of my favorite experiences in Costa Rica. And, I’m so glad I got to spend it with some of my great new friends from ISA.
Monteverde is truly amazing, your photos look great. Did you see any monkeys while you were going through the platforms? Occasionally they come quite close and when you are ziplining and looking up, they look as shocked as you. Happy days!