If you like ziplines, you've got to try this one! The 4300-foot one (that's 4/5 of a mile!) is truly awesome. You are zipping along so high above the trees, for almost two full minutes. It was an incredible experience--you forget that you are zipping or anything, it just feels like you are flying. You have time to actually look around at the beautiful jungle. It is exciting yet peaceful at the same time.
Neither I nor my husband or 9-year-old daughter had ever done a zipline before. But it's one of those things you can do in Costa Rica, and we wanted to try it. El Santuario is rather new--they just opened up in October 2012 I heard--but we also heard that they had the longest zipline in Central America.
All the equipment is new and felt absolutely sturdy. There are handrails on the ladders and spiral staircases, and guard rails on the platforms. The lines are self-braking, so you don't have to grab the line to slow yourself down (and risk your fingers). Our group was five adults and one child (ours), and she was the bravest and went first.
You start with a short line, and then each one get progressively longer, until you get to the big one, number 7. Once I got started, I wasn't nervous anymore. There are 11 lines, so you are hiking, climbing and zipping for a good 2 to 3 hours. It's quite humid, so be prepared for that. You don't need to be a super athlete, but it's best if you are in reasonably decent shape.
The guides were very considerate, and explained everything well. They like to crack a lot of jokes too.
My daughter loved it! Her only complaint was that because of her size (she's just about 53 pounds), she had to zip with one of the guides for many of the longer lines. She would have wanted to go by herself. I explained that it was a weight thing--the lighter you are, the slower you go, and she would have gotten stuck out in the middle. At about 130 pounds myself, I had to pull myself along for the last couple yards on the two longest lines. The guides joked that I would be a certified guide now too. So you know the brakes work very well.
We did not see as much wildlife as I would have hoped, but that might be different on a morning tour. Also, it's a newly reclaimed forest, and they are preserving it as a wildlife and botanical sanctuary (thus the name, right?), so I imagine there will be more wildlife in the future.
We did the afternoon tour, which ended with a delicious casado (typical Costa Rican meal) poolside at the The Falls hotel restaurant. There, the capuchin monkeys were putting on a show for sure! They were throwing leaves down from the palm trees, jumping around and carrying on. The owners of The Falls also own El Santuario, and they came out to say hello and ask us about our tour.
Kudos to our main guide Diego, who also designed and built the whole course. He built it, he's taken his daughter on it, and he's on it every day, so you know it must be very safe!
I think this would be a great experience for first timers like us, or for seasoned zippers who want to try out this really long line. We will definitely come back next time!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.