After quickly agreeing to a 3-day ziplining adventure in the Bokeo Reserve of Northern Laos, I had a 14-hour sleepless, bumpy bus ride to curse my decision – 3 flat tires and dozens of meaningless stops later, I was dreading my imminent first zipline experience. That treacherous journey through Laos certainly seemed like a bad omen.
The next day, I still had reservations as I was strapped into my harness and briefed on safety… but then I took off and instantly forgot all my worries. Soaring above the canopy treetops, the rainforest zipping by beneath my feet, I felt immensely grateful to have endured that bus trip. The view was amazing! The jungle spread all around me, my surging adrenaline seemed to be propelling me forward, yet I knew that I had control over my speed (definitely a comfort).
The first few runs, I was a bit hesitant. ‘This cable will hold me, right?” By the fourth zipline I was cocky, attempting to take pictures of my feet as I flew over the trees.
My pictures turned out well enough, but they don’t come close to capturing the experience – even words are insufficient to describe the elation, the ludicrous exhilaration of entrusting a slender metal cable with your life. Ziplining makes you feel like a trusting child, lets you pretend you’re Tarzan, and gives you the freedom to fly – all within 30 seconds.
I returned from ziplining in Laos bubbling and babbling to anyone who’d listen – the zipline tour was one of the highlights of my trip. I tried to take pictures so I could show my friends and family what it was like, and while I did get some amazing shots, they’re simply stills – ziplining is all about motion! Photos don’t do justice to the rush, the speed, and the carefree comfort of soaring through one of the most beautiful ecosystems on earth. I doubt the world’s best photographer could snap a photo to convey these things. Ziplining is one of those experiences you can’t understand until you’ve tried it firsthand.
Luckily, you can embark on a ziplining adventure without suffering through a perilous voyage like I did in Laos. With its international airport and friendly, locally-run transportation services, Belize ensures that your journey to the top of the rainforest will be a pleasant one.
Plan Your Ziplining Adventure
For the best ziplining in the world, head to places with lush, unspoiled tropical jungle and abundant wildlife. Belize is an ideal destination for travelers interested in taking a zipline canopy tour. 70% of Belize’s forests are intact, and a zipline tour in Belize puts you over bright green rainforest buzzing with life. Nature enthusiasts seek these jungles for prime birdwatching and wildlife-spotting, and these can be enjoyed from a zipline as well as on the ground. You may catch sight of a few different exotic species of birds, such as the collared forest falcon, blue-crowned Mot-Mot, or violaceous trogon.
Dozens of tour companies offer ziplining in Belize, and most companies offer additional adventure travel tours such as cave tubing and sea kayaking. We researched adventure outfits in Belize to find the best tour options.
Best Combination Tour
Explore Belize Caves, a company based out of Belize City, offers a zipline jungle canopy excursion and cave tubing tour that includes 6 zip lines and one rappel (rappelling is descending a steep, sometimes completely vertical wall while strapped into a harness). This well-established company has been in business for over a decade; owner Dennis Perez is notably hospitable, helping travelers find the best tours and ensuring they have a great time in Belize. Explore Belize Caves also connects you with culture through their AltunHa Maya Tour so you can bask in the wonders of ancient history once you’ve got your adrenaline fix on the zipline course.
Best Extreme Zipline Tour
Calico Jacks Village, a canopy tour and ziplining company located in the Cayo District, lets you tailor your zipline tour to your own daring. Calico Jacks offers four different tours ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours. The Ultimo Explorer is the longest of these tours with 9 runs comprising 2,700 feet – this is the place for extreme zipliners. Ranked #1 out of 21 Cayo tours by TripAdvisor, Calico Jacks is a must if you’re in the area.
Travel in Belize is all about adventures in nature, and there are exciting activities for every level of daring. Helicopter rides, scuba diving, snorkeling, rappelling, and ziplining all provide different views of this incredible country. The more you do, the better you get to know Belize from the inside out.