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Buzz the Treetops on a Zip-Line



It was around 2005 that the first zip line tours started appearing in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas. Since then, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the thrill of gliding briskly over treetops, suspended on a pulley, with gravity propelling the way along strong steel cables.

Today, the select companies that offer zip line tours in the region compete with one another to provide the safest and most memorable experience, often complementing them with other activities. And given the lush, tropical terrain that prevails in the surrounding mountains, our destination provides an ideal backdrop for you to enjoy this exciting activity, ideal for the entire family.

The Basics

In most cases, zip line tours involve traveling to a high point on a nearby mountain, either by specialized vehicle, hiking, or horseback riding, and gradually descending back to a base camp by gliding through a series of carefully positioned cables or "lines."

Safety a paramount concern, the tours are led by experienced guides who will assist you as you wear a special safety harness that connects you to the pulley system that will transport you along the line. They will also offer instructions on how to monitor your speed as you glide by breaking, if necessary.

Guides frequently communicate with one another through portable radio, allowing them to monitor the pace of a tour. In all cases, there is a guide that helps you latch onto a zip line, and another at the receiving end, monitoring your speed as you descend, and signaling for you to break if you are coming in too fast.

Eventually, you and the rest of the folks taking the tour will reach base camp, thus concluding the experience.

Keep in Mind

Given the fact that the equipment is fairly similar from one tour provider to the next, it is the details and commitment to safety that sets them aside. As you consider booking a zip line (or canopy) tour in Puerto Vallarta, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. How large is your group? To keep the pace as brisk as possible, companies often limit the number of people that participate on any given zip line tour. And while it is always fun to make new friends along the way, consider requesting a group for you and your friends if your party is large enough.
  2. Will everyone participate? Zip lines are not for everyone. Make sure that it is possible for your non-zipping friends to be able to tag along and participate in other activities while you enjoy the tour.
  3. Ask about location and transportation details. Most providers offer pick-up and drop-off transportation to their tours, which can be by land, water, or a combination of both. This is an important consideration, should you wish to enjoy a zip line and the view of the bay from the ocean, in the same experience.
  4. Age and weight limitations are only a consideration in extreme cases. Zip line tours are enjoyed by children and adults alike. Your provider should have clear information on their website on this regard.
  5. Leave everything behind. While you will want to, for example, take photos during your tour, most providers will discourage and even forbid the use of cameras during the experience, all for your own safety. The better zip line providers offer locked compartments at base camp for you to store your valuable belongings while you enjoy the ride.
  6. Consider the amenities. Will you stop and sip tequila along the way? Will the tour guide provide descriptions of the surrounding flora or fauna? Is lunch or a snack included? Are the zip lines special in any way? These are valid questions that a zip line company or ticket reseller should be able to answer on the spot.
  7. What if it rains? Indeed, there are occasions in which it's likely that you will get wet during a zip line tour, either because it is raining, or because making a splash landing on a refreshing stream of water is actually a feature of the tour. If rain is your concern, rest assured that the better tour providers are prepared to deal with these eventualities in the safest, most responsible way, all in the spirit of providing you with a truly memorable experience while visiting Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas.

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