Arenal Ecoglide: Family-Friendly Zip Lining

La Fortuna and the surrounding Arenal Volcano area is one of the best places in Costa Rica for zip lining. Here, you’ll find many tour operators offering exhilarating experiences that will have you soaring through the rainforest canopy. But what if you’re looking for something more mellow? Arenal Ecoglide is the perfect fit. It’s also great with younger kids. In this post, we’ll tell you about our family’s experience zip lining at Arenal Ecoglide.

Arenal Ecoglide Zip Lining

Background

Arenal Ecoglide is located just outside downtown La Fortuna in Costa Rica’s Northern Highlands. Ecoglide has a large property of 136 acres (55 hectares) of jungle. It sits at the foothills of Arenal Volcano.

For more about the volcano and surrounding area, check out our post, La Fortuna: What to Expect from Costa Rica’s Most Popular Destination.

Volcano View from Ecoglide
The amazing Arenal Volcano

Arriving at Arenal Ecoglide

After arriving at the office, we checked in with the reception and were given a wristband and locker key. Our wristband was for the regular zip line canopy tour. Ecoglide also has a variation on the tour that includes a Tarzan swing. Jenn and Sam (age 7 at the time) would be doing the regular tour. Matt would be staying back with Evan (age 4) who didn’t want to try zip lining yet.

With our belongings safely stored away, we got geared up. Ecoglide employees quickly fitted us with harnesses, helmets, and gloves, and we were soon ready to start our adventure.

Safety equipment zip lining
Getting our gloves

Practice Zip Line

The guides led the group, about 25 people in total, up the path to the practice zip line. This was a short line only about 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground so was a great introduction for our son, Sam, who had never done zip lining before.

Ecoglide tour
Getting ready to go to the practice zip line

After a short talk about the basics, we got started.

Sam was very nervous to try zip lining. It didn’t help that another boy ahead of us was so scared he was crying. Mustering up some courage, Sam walked up to the practice line and the guide clipped him in and got him in position.

Zip Line School
Sam at Zip Line School

We were told that the older kids and adults would have to hold onto one of the lines with our gloved hands slightly behind us. While the younger kids, like Sam, could just hold onto the top of the harness at chest level and not touch the line at all. This made it a lot easier for them. All they needed to do was lean back and the guide would send them on their way.

Before I knew it, Sam took off and safely landed at the bottom, finally smiling. Another guide at the bottom had him jump up and unclipped him.

The rest of us took a turn then loaded into the back of a couple of pickup trucks.

The Zip-line Experience

The trucks climbed up the steep hill behind the property, through the thick rainforest. We got to enjoy some nice views along the way and even saw some wildlife (a toucan and another bird called a Chachalaca).

toucan la fortuna
A toucan we saw

In about 10 minutes, we reached the short path to the first zip line.

This line was 80 meters (263 feet) long and much higher off the ground than the practice line. Still, from the platform, you could easily see the end, making it a good first official zip line.

First Zip Line Nerves

Sam and I were the very last in the group. This worked against us, as the longer we waited, the more nervous he became. After about 10 minutes of waiting, it was our turn to go. Sam was now telling me that he wasn’t going to do it because he was scared of heights. I was trying to be encouraging, as I knew he really wanted to try it before and had done other activities high up without a problem.

Rafael, one of the guides, talked to him too. Even with his big smile and reassuring words, nothing was working. Eventually, Sam agreed to go tandem with one of the guides, Jefferson. This meant that he would ride along him.

The two made it across then Sam decided that he didn’t want to do it anymore. Ecoglide does have an emergency exit, but it isn’t until the third line. The problem was we were in between lines. If Sam didn’t continue to the second and third lines, he would need to go backwards on the first one, with the guide propelling the two of them with his arms.

After some negotiation, Sam agreed to do the next two lines with the guide then head back to the office to meet the rest of our family. The guides assured me that everything would be fine for me to continue the tour.

A few minutes later, after I had done some more lines by myself, Jefferson found me and reported that Sam was back at the reception enjoying an iced tea with his dad and brother. All was well.

Continuing on the Tour

The 10 other cables I got to do were super fun. It was very strange doing the tour by myself, but I did get to know some other families. A nice family from South America waited in line in front of me. Their kids were about five and eight and very brave. The other boy who had been crying before was all smiles now after getting a few zips under his belt.

The zip lines were from 100-430 meters (328-1,411 feet) long. This was definitely long enough to feel like you were getting a good ride and speed up.

Map Arenal Ecoglide
The map showing the zip-line course

The second to last line was my favorite. It was long (1640 ft/500 m), fast, and had an amazing view of Arenal Volcano. The volcano was just to the left, fairly far away, but because it’s so big, still felt close.

In addition to the zip lines, there was a hanging bridge to cross. This connected to one of the platforms. A photographer from Ecoglide was waiting on the far end to snap a photo while we crossed, two by two. She followed along during the entire tour and got some great pictures and videos.

 

Tarzan Swing

Midway through the tour, there’s an optional Tarzan swing. For this, they strap you into special equipment and you basically let yourself fall from a platform to swing through the forest. You swing back and forth a few times, then the guides at the bottom help you unclip.

I opted not to do this as I had been having some back problems, but others seemed thrilled with the experience.

Tarzan Swing
Someone doing the Tarzan swing

Tour Logistics

Safety

Ecoglide uses a double cable system: one cable for sliding and the other to provide additional security.

Although the platforms are high up, you’re clipped in the whole time. When you approach the first platform, there’s a guide who clips you in and ensures all your gear is in order before sending you off. When you reach the other end, another guide catches you and immediately clips you onto a cable on the platform. This makes sure there’s no chance of falling off.

Braking

If you get going too fast, you can slow down using your gloved hand. Kids won’t have to do this because they don’t weigh much. All the younger kids I saw just had to hold onto to the top of the harness at chest level so they wouldn’t have to worry about touching the cable.

Kid hold Ecoglide
Sam demonstrating how young kids hold onto the harness

The cables have an automatic braking system. When you get near the end of the lines, your equipment will hit a brake that slows you down before coming into the platform. During the instructions, the guides explained that sometimes they may ask you to slow down if you’re coming in too fast. I didn’t have to brake at all, but heavier people may need to.

Kids

Children ages two and up can do the Ecoglide tour.

Younger kids will go tandem with a guide (not a parent for safety reasons). The guides are the ones who decide if a child needs to go tandem. I saw kids as young as five years old going on their own.

You need to be at least five years old for the Tarzan swing.

If your kids are nervous, keep in mind that this is really common. The guides were reassuring us of this the whole time Sam was scared. It’s a great tour to try out zip lining for the first time. All the guides were wonderful with the kids. And there is the emergency exit after the third zip line so that you can get off the course if needed.

Accessibility

The tour is fully handicapped accessible and wheelchair friendly. For wheelchair users, a staff member will carry your wheelchair in between lines.

There is minimal walking between platforms.

Platform in tree
The platforms are built around trees

Booking Information

Cost

$84 per person with Tarzan swing. $56 per person without Tarzan Swing. No discount for kids.

Times

8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.

Duration

About 2 hours

What’s Included

Round-trip transportation from most hotels, bilingual guides, all necessary equipment, and drinks at the end.

You can purchase professional photos at the end for around $20 per person. They got some great ones of us.

Maximum Weight

300 lbs (136 kg)

What to Bring/Wear

Closed toe shoes

Lightweight long pants to avoid mosquito bites.

Apply sunscreen in advance as some parts of the tour are sunny.

No cameras (except GoPros) or phones are allowed. They have helmets where you can attach a GoPro.

Reserving Your Tour

If you’d like to book the Ecoglide tour, we can help for no additional cost. Booking through us costs the same and helps support our website.

If you are interested, email us at bookings(at)twoweeksincostarica(dot)com with your preferred date and time, number of people in your party, and your pickup location if transportation is needed. We’ll email you back and make the process smooth and stress free.

two weeks in costa rica zip lining arenal
Sam and me. He says he’s ready to try again soon!

Conclusion

The Arenal Ecoglide tour is a great zip line tour for first timers, kids, and anyone who is nervous. The guides are fun and encouraging, and the lines are thrilling but not too crazy. We highly recommend it if you’re in La Fortuna/Arenal.

Have a question about the Arenal Ecoglide tour? Leave us a comment below.

Looking for more information to help you plan your trip? Check out these posts:

Things to Do in La Fortuna with Young Children: If you’re traveling with younger kids, this post has more activity ideas, including easy nature walks, river floats to see wildlife, and coffee/chocolate tours.

Mirador El Silencio Trail: If you’d like to walk the old lava flows and see the volcano close up, Mirador El Silencio is one of our favorite spots.

Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica: Where to Go for the Best Experience – La Fortuna is one of the best places in Costa Rica for hanging bridges. Get the options with this post.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this very thorough review! I’m looking for a lower, slower zipline for seniors in the La Fortuna / Arenal area. I initially landed on EcoGlide because it is kid-friendly, but after seeing some videos I’m thinking that may be too extreme. Do you have any additional recommendations? Or do you think EcoGlide is a good way to go with fun-loving but older people? The main goal is to avoid jerky movements. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Margie, EcoGlide is probably the best option for a more low key zip line in La Fortuna, but some of the lines do go pretty fast. If you happen to be planning on some time in the Dominical area, Hacienda Baru has a more tame zip line option.

  2. We ended up taking our parents (69, 69 and 77) to EcoGlide and they had the time of their lives! They can’t stop raving about how much fun they had with the guides there. Everyone felt safe & secure and the ride was smooth – having the hand brake really helped with that. It looks like I made the best choice for our group. Thanks again for your help!

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