We only had a couple of objectives when we went to Costa Rica. We wanted to do a canopy tour, and we wanted to see birds and poison dart frogs and wildlife in general. We decided to focus on one objective a day, and that we would start with the canopy tour.
We got a taxi after talking to the hotel owners (who book all the tours for you, and they have a book of about a million things to do) and went on the Vista Los Suenos (no tilde, dagnabbit) Canopy Tour. When we first got there, they offered us water, then got us outfitted in our equipment. Since the IB is so tall, he got a full body harness, but I only got the part that you step into. These are not exactly the most flattering outfits, but believe me, they are well worth the humiliation of the way they accent your "area". *snort* After everyone on the tour has arrived and been outfitted, they took us to a platform about two feet off the ground and showed everyone how all of the equipment works and how they will attach us to the ziplines, gave us a little safety briefing, and loaded us all into a little train pulled by a heavy duty tractor. One of the guides (there are six or eight of them with you) points out different tree types and wildlife on the way up, and gives little tidbits of information on Costa Rica. He pointed out one tree whose fruit used to be made into a wine. He said you'd drink one cup of it and be drunk, then wake up the next day with no hangover. But he said that as soon as you got up and got out into daylight, a chemical reaction would occur and you would be drunk again, so they had to outlaw its manufacture as people were driving and showing up to work drunk. Sounds like horsechit to me, and I can't find anything on the internet about it, so I don't know what to believe.
After what seemed like an eternity, we got to the top of the mountain where the first platform was set up. They have this stuff down to a science, folks. They quickly sent all the guides zipping ahead to get set up on the other platforms, then it was our turns. The Innocent Bystander, who is no fan of heights, unbelievably went first. I was amazed that he went before me, but I was more amazed that he did not(nor did anyone else) scream. I was next. It is nothing like a roller coaster, and I did not for one minute feel unsafe because of the way they triple hook you onto the cables. They start off with a short zip that is not too high up, and they progressively get longer and steeper, so we got acclimated to braking before it became really necessary (on some of them you don't brake at all). There is always a guide on each platform to receive zippers and then hook them onto a cable around the tree that the platform is set up in, so even if you were to fall off the platform, you'd only fall about three feet before your harness would stop your fall. They also have a secondary braking system on the few zips that are too fast to stop yourself with just the glove.
May I just say, for the record, that this was the single most exhilarating thing I have ever done that did not end in an orgasm? It is the most amazing sensation-kinda like those flying dreams I used to have, only in those I was facing down and either flapping my arms or with them out like Superman, and in reality, I was facing up and doing my best to pull my knees to my chest so I would go as fast as possible. I'm sure that was a loverly image for the guides on the receiving end-my fat arse coming at them in 3D like some misplaced trajectory from hell. In any case, if you ever, EVER, get a chance to do this, DO IT. (I know...I said do it!) You will not regret it, and you will have memories that you CAN take with you!