Tossing your body backwards off of a 90-foot rock is not something that you are likely to forget. Waterfall rappelling in Costa Rica is usually combined with hiking, tree climbing, zip lining canopy tours or other adventure sports. Attached to a system of ropes and pulleys, brave souls use the power of their legs to propel themselves off the slippery surface of a waterfall as they plunge to the pool of water at the bottom. Overcoming this type of fear is an incredibly rewarding experience, particularly for those afraid of heights.
Although it looks physically intense, there is really no age limit or fitness requirements for potential “canyoneers” wishing to try waterfall rappelling. Since the extreme sport uses gravity to control descent, hand and foot coordination is far more important than brute strength.
In Costa Rica, canyoning is somewhat of a novelty that is only available in certain places – namely those where you can find cascading water. The Arenal and La Fortuna area features a mini 15-foot waterfall perfect for easing you into the experience, and this is followed by a 150-foot cascade. The tour ends with an exhilarating 200-foot drop, a short hike back to headquarters and a filling Costa Rican casado – a typical plate of rice, beans, salad, meat and sometimes fried plantains.
In the Central Pacific, waterfall rappelling is possible at the Indian Waterfalls just outside of Manuel Antonio and Quepos. Trips include a home-made breakfast of gallo pinto, eggs and fruit followed by two consecutive canyoning adventures. An optional freefall from a 40-foot ‘monkey drop’ into a swimming pool is also available.
A few other places to try waterfall rappelling include falls near the communities of Grecia, Sarchi, and Turrialba. Lastly, adrenaline seekers can get their feet wet at Cabo Matapalo in the Osa Peninsula, where the 90-foot King Louis Waterfall typically flows from July to December.