Costa Rica Adventures in safety. A guide for you

Terranova | November 8, 2018

When we talk about adventure, everything seems to be thrilling. A wave of excitement passes through our body when words like rafting, rappel or ziplining come to mind.

 

 

 

 

 

The delight of all the body and mind sensations, the breathtaking views and the fun and team vibration are merely some of the multiple gifts of adventure travel.

Also, when we add to the adventure the thrill of the rainforest around it, the emotions multiply exponentially.

However, adventures are serious business. So we take them seriously in Terranova.

If you are traveling with Terranova, this is not a problem, as we are very strict on our supplier’s quality control by continuous inspections and we require all documents before any tour operation.

However, sometimes it happens that you decide to go on your own to one of the multiple experiences offered throughout the country and even though we discourage all our passengers from doing so, here are some tips -coming from our experienced tour guides- that we must give to minimize as much as possible the high risks that nature adventures imply.

Probably the first and most important:

Follow your instinct

Even though you may not have the knowledge, follow your gut if the weather, the gear or anything on tour seems to be going wrong.

Sometimes fear play tricks in our minds and make us see threats where there are none, but if you are rafting and it has rained a lot, and the river seems to be violent or if you are ziplining and there is a storm, follow your instinct and get away.

The guides always try to convince you to go (It is their job to do so). If you don’t feel comfortable at all, don’t go.

Don’t worry about what other people may think. Safety is more important than popularity.

  1. Search for the head guide of the tour.

 

 

 

In all adventure tours, there is one guide named as the “head guide.” Identify him, and you can ask him doubts or questions. As well as tell him anything that you may think it’s important, like if there is a disability or a dietary limitation.

 

  1. Check the guides

 

 

 

 

 

Even though this may sound unfair and many times appearances are not the most important thing.

However, in the case of adventure tours, it is a bad sign to see guides without uniforms, bared footed in the river or doing all sorts of acrobatics in the ziplines.

If they play with their safety… Who tells you they won’t play with your security?

Professional guides don’t play games while on an adventure tour.

 

  1. Check the gear

 

 

 

 

 

Even if you don’t know anything of adventure, all gear must look complete and without patches. It may look used but never broken or fixed.

In the case of rafting, rappelling, horseback rides and other activities that require all gear to be ready at the beginning of the tour, it is essential to ask the guides if there are replacements for the paddles, the saddles or the lines.

 

5 Ask questions

 

 

 

 

Rainforest ziplining

 

It is more important to be safe than to be smart or popular.

Ask as many questions as you like, never mind if they seem stupid or repetitive.

Make sure you understand everything before starting.

 

  1. The English of the tour guides matters

 

 

 

 

 

It is vital that you understand and apply the instructions. As well as if there is an emergency that you understand every single word they tell you.

Please make sure you understand the English of your tour guides.

 

  1. This is not a game or a competition

 

 

 

 

 

It happens when we are with friends or close family that we tend to think that we can race the horses or we can prove that we do acrobatics in the zip line… Forget about it. Not while in adventure tours through the rainforest.

Now, check the following and read if you are thinking about any of these adventures while in Costa Rica:

 

Safety Tips for Zip-lining

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment:

Make sure the equipment is well maintained, including helmets, harnesses, ropes, gloves, carabiners. Have in mind the following:

  • Bring ponytail holder or bandana if you have long hair.
  • Use closed-toe shoes only.
  • Leave belongings safely stored, including cell-phone, sunglasses.
  • Use bug repellent and solar protector.

Awareness:

Verify the operator is legit, make sure it has demonstrated licensed professional background. Ask questions about the course, make sure the platforms and lines look steady and sturdy. Have in mind the following:

  • Verify lines weight limit with the guides.
  • Pay attention to the safety instructions provided before the tour and make sure you understood everything. If you cannot understand the English spoken by the tour guide of the operator, please let our guide know and look for someone who can explain everything to you.
  • Make sure you’re permanently strapped onto a safety line, two if possible.
  • Watch your step in the course, try not to get in the way of the guides.

 

Safety Tips for Rappelling

 

 

 

 

Equipment:

Make sure the gear is well maintained, including helmets, harnesses, ropes, gloves, carabiners.  Have in mind the following:

  • Bring ponytail holder or bandana if you have long hair.
  • Use closed-toe shoes only, avoid flip-flops.
  • Leave belongings safely stored, including cell-phone, sunglasses.
  • Use bug repellent and solar protector.
  • Bring a dry bag if possible (for waterfall rappelling).

 

Awareness:

 

Verify the operator is legit, make sure it has demonstrated licensed professional background. Ask questions about the climb.

Rappel ropes are threaded through metal anchor material carabiners, and steel rings instead of nylon slings, which can melt, break or fail if it gets in direct contact with a rope.

 

Have in mind the following:

 

  • Verify rope weight limit with the guides.
  • Pay attention to the safety instructions provided before the tour and make sure you understood everything. If you cannot understand the English spoken by the tour guide of the operator, please let our guide know and look for someone who can explain everything to you.
  • Make sure you’re permanently strapped onto a safety line, two if possible.
  • Watch your step in the course, try not to get in the way of the guides.
  • Maintain a steady, controlled pace while rappelling down.
  • Turn your head occasionally to watch for obstructions.
  • Climbing accidents may occur, taking the time to learn how to do it right is essential. Until you master it under the close watch of an expert, don’t rappel on your own.

 

Safety Tips for Rafting

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment:

Make sure the equipment is well maintained, including helmets, like a jacket.  Have in mind the following:

  • Bring ponytail holder or bandana if you have long hair.
  • Use closed-toe shoes only.
  • Leave belongings safely stored, including cell-phone, sunglasses.
  • Use bug repellent and solar protector.
  • Bring a dry bag if possible.
  • Always wear a life jacket (All buckles must be clipped).
  • Always have your professional guide fit your jacket, this ensures a perfect fit.
  •  Make sure you have the appropriate outerwear for the day (Consider wearing wetsuits, paddle jackets, and river boots).
  • Most of these tours are handicapped accessible.
  • Make sure your tour personnel has radio communication gear.

Awareness:

Verify the operator is legit, make sure it has demonstrated licensed professional background. Ask questions about the training of their guides, make sure they count with CPR knowledge and first aid. Have in mind the following:

  • Pay attention to the safety instructions provided before the tour and make sure you understood everything. If you cannot understand the English spoken by the tour guide of the operator, please let our guide know and look for someone who can explain everything to you.
  • Make sure you understand your tour guide commands.
  • Stay in the raft as much as you can (You may find yourself swimming next to the raft if something happens. If so, lay on your back toes up and float until the guides lift you back into the raft).
  • Know the appropriate swimming techniques.
  • Follow the commands (Clear communication with the guide and group is essential).
  • Hold the paddle properly (One hand should be at the base of the paddle on the shaft, the other on the shaft over the “T” grip.)
  •  Always turn your head to watch for obstructions.

 

Safety Tips for Horseback Riding

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment:

Make sure the equipment is well maintained, including helmets, stirrups, ropes, carabiners. Have in mind the following:

  • Bring ponytail holder or bandana if you have long hair.
  • Use comfortable light and flexible cotton clothing
  • Use closed-toe shoes only.
  • Leave belongings safely stored, including cell-phone, sunglasses.
  • Use bug repellent and solar protector.
  • Wear an ASTM approved riding helmet.
  • Make sure your tour personnel has radio communication gear.

 

Awareness:

Verify the operator is legit, make sure it has demonstrated licensed professional background. Ride a suitable horse for your riding experience level. (Beginners should ride a well-mannered horse). Have in mind the following:

  • Don’t race.
  • Pay attention to the safety instructions provided before the tour and make sure you understood everything. If you cannot understand the English spoken by the tour guide of the operator, please let our guide know and look for someone who can explain everything to you.
  • Make sure you understand your tour guide commands (Clear communication with the guide and group is essential).
  • Do not leave small child’s unattended on or around horses.
  • The safest measure is to ride next to an experienced riding instructor or coach.
  • Watch your step in the course, try not to get in the way of the guides.
  • If you ride in a group, keep one horse length between horses.
  • Learn to do an emergency dismount.
  • Learn to do an emergency one rein stop.
  • Learn how to fall. (You may want to learn how to avoid injury by rolling away from the horse).
  • Avoid roadsides. (Vehicles may spook your horse).

 

 

In Conclusion

Adventures in nature are fun and fantastic; however, they are not a game, and you should not play with your safety.

Please call us and talk to one of our travel consultants and we will guide you into the adventures that you will enjoy the most and with the best and safest tour operators in the country

 

 

 

 

 


Olga Sáenz