During our visit to Costa Rica we opted for a „Canopy tour„, or Zipper lining as we call it at home.
It was recommended that we go to that Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours in the Rincon de La Vieja National Park instead of participating in one of the tour packages offered at our resort.
It’s a full-day adventure tour that includes a canopy tour, rock climbing, tubbing, horseback riding, hot springs, and a mud bath.
We will share our full experience of this adventure day at the Hacienda Guachipelin – it was worth it!
Arrival to the Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours
Since we had rented a car with another couple from our resort for a few days, we received GPS directions for the national park and set off. If you go to Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours, Make sure you have a 4 × 4 vehicle.
As soon as you exit the Pan American Highway (Highway 1), you are on a very long dirt road (that’s all our GPS calls a „dirt road”) that is full of potholes, hills, and the occasional cow walk along the road.
Insider travel tip: When you arrive at the entrance to the Rincon de La Vieja National Park, you will come to a gate where you will be asked to pay a toll to enter the park. Tell them you go to Adventure Tours and you don’t have to pay!
The trip Includes lunch at the Hacienda Guachipelín Hotel. I had a local drink first, followed by mahi mahi on a bed of rice with some vegetables and rice pudding for dessert. I enjoyed the food, probably more than the food at our resort!
If you Book this tour onlineIt includes hotel pickup so you don’t have to worry about getting to the park on your own.
After lunch we made our way to the canopy. The first thing they do is equip all of your gear. This includes your harness, helmet and gloves. My wife and I were both very impressed with the harnesses they provide. After doing a lot of work in the entertainment industry where harnesses are a professional requirement, We felt that they took very good care of their guests’ safety.
Next up was a brief introduction to zip lining. While they were still on the ground, they showed you how to position your body on the line, how to balance, slow down, what to do if you stop in the middle of the line, etc.
After the briefing, it’s time to fly through Rincon de La Vieja. We started with a fairly long line for our first run that was just going through the woods. A good introductory run. The second run, probably the longest of them all, is over a gorge with an incredible view if you look down as you fly over it!
Next you reach the Spelling line. Here your harness is attached to a rope and you are lowered headfirst directly along a waterfall. You then swing across the water to another platform and climb a 40 m high ladder to the next platform. These Part of the canopy tour is optionalas it requires a little more physical strength than the others. If you do decide to abseil, there is no other way out but the ladder climbing back up. Only one of our groups of four participated in this activity.
After two more zip lines, you reach the most difficult part of the tour. Rock climbing. You’ll have to climb over a rock wall and then down to another platform with the river flowing below you. You then do a „Tarzan Swing ‘To a platform on the other side of the canyon.
After all, you have to climb another rock face straight on to the next zip line platform. After another short via ferrata, it’s a short walk to the final zip-line position. The staff is very good at guiding you through this section of the tour. While I have to admit that I was a little unsure of my ability to complete it, it felt like a great achievement to make it to the end!
After all of that there is one last zip line to the end of that You have the option to stand upside down! We took group photos on the last platform and then took a short walk back to the Adventure Tours offices where we removed our gear.
One of the joys of being there in late September is that it was pouring rain during much of the canopy tour. In a way, this added to the experience. It felt like a bigger accomplishment doing ziplines and rock climbing in this weather.
The next part of the day would normally involve horse riding, but since it got later in the day (we didn’t arrive until around 1pm) and it was raining outside, we skipped this and went straight to the hot Springs.
The hot springs are around another 10-15 minutes drive up the street from the main office of Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours. They are not very well marked – but there is a sign about 100 meters before you get to them. The entrance is right at the bottom of a steep hill on the road. There is a bridge over the water here. You can park your car on either side.
There are Exchange facilities just a short walk into the woods towards the hot springs. An Adventure Tours employee was in the locker room keeping an eye on everyone’s belongings. The pools are located directly behind the changing rooms. There are 3 pools: hot, medium and cool. If I had to guess their temperatures are I would say they were around 107F, 103F, and maybe 90F. The hot pools are fed with water from a nearby volcano. You can see where the hot water flows into the pool.
There is a bridge over the water that leads to another cooler pool, but this one was closed on the day of our visit because the water level was too high.
The pools were very relaxingand felt great with the „new muscles” we discovered in the zipper! The pools were very quiet, only a few other guests came when we were there.
It was still light when we drove back, although it was getting dark quickly. As we discovered on the rest of our trip, the roads in Costa Rica (even the highways and more urban areas) very bad street lightingand no shoulders. One has to be very attentive to the pedestrians and cyclists in the dark.
Our return journey was also slowed because we were stuck behind a number of school buses and no longer had room to pass. It looks like students in Costa Rica go to school for a few hours in the morning and again later in the afternoon with a break in the middle when the heat is at its worst.
Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Tours: 5/5
I would recommend this tour to anyone looking for an exciting, adrenaline-fueled way to explore the Costa Rican countryside!