Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon May 04 2015

Ziplining for Virgins

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | May 04, 2015

Ziplining for Virgins

Photo by Tom Bastek

There are quite a few things in the world that could potentially scare you off your next adventure. Heights, speeds, faith in equipment, and faith in training of staff are just a few of the fears that are out there.  Ziplining is one of those activities that, unfortunately for some (and me), encompass all of the above. But fear not, my friend! There are ways to prepare yourself and things you need to know to minimize your anxiety and maximize your fun on your first trip down the zip. Here are a few:

Do Some Research

Proper planning can make all of the difference when you are planning your first zip. Do your research and check out the companies in the area that you are going to visit. Make sure they are reputable and have a decent track record. Take note of the safety policies in place before you make the trip. Figure out if they have runs that are good for beginners, what the weight minimums and maximums are as well as size requirements. For instance, the zips at Xplor Cancun have a weight limit of 300, but if you can properly fit in the harness, they can wave that requirement.

Know the Equipment

There are many types of harnesses out there. Some harnesses are convenient and between zips clip down to your belt. I have heard of some in Costa Rica that are more bulky and you have to carry between zips. Depending on how big or small you are this may make a difference. 

There are also all kinds of lines out there, from single lines to double lines to some harness and line combinations that actually allow you to fly straight forward like Superman. Checking out pictures, videos and testimonials from people who have gone to the place you are going will help put your mind at ease when you make your trip.

Be Observant

When you arrive at the park or resort on the day of, take a look at everything. Obviously, listening to the safety briefing is important, but watch how the staff conducts themselves on the course. Ask questions and take note of people, situations and equipment. Typically in my experience, the more professional, kept up and clean a facility is, the more faith you'll have in their equipment.

Have fun

The hardest part is when you are going to go out there on the line for the first time. When the staff tells you to lean back and let yourself go, you have to really let everything go. Don’t look down right away, just look out at the cable ahead of you. 

This will give you something to focus on besides the fact that you are way the heck above the ground.  If you are someone who is amazed by great views and natural beauty, look around! There is no better view then what you are getting as you whisk along the tops of the trees. Think of it as a chance to see the world from a whole new angle.


Common sense prevails in life and ziplining is no different. If you have a good feeling about the place, you are probably going to have a good experience and therefore a lot less of anxiety when you go. Talk to friends and family about their experiences and set yourself up for the same success. With a little bit of planning, you can have a great deal of amazing adventure and fun.


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