Posted by: vivalatinamerica | May 21, 2012

Zipline Canopy Tour – Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama

‘Hold the line behind you, because if you hold it in front, you will lose all your fingers when you hit the end’. Our guide, Marlon, lets out a belly laugh at the thought of this.

We’re about to go 100ft into the air for a canopy tour of Bastimentos, one of the most beautiful islands in Bocas del Toro.

The jungle is vibrating with sound. Crickets, frogs, birds and monkeys are roaring away, and the humidity is intense. The area is famous for its wildlife, and the most popular beach on this island, Red Frog, is named after the tiny poisonous critters that populate this paradise.

With little effort, we spot two red frogs on our way to the course. Burning a bright red, they are easy to spot, and one even pauses for a photograph.

The zipline tour is a great way to get an adrenaline fix in this relaxing oasis. After a few days of sunbathing and lazy walks to and from the beach bar, I’m jolted awake by the prospect losing all my digits on my right hand.

The first zipline is relatively short and not very high, but I still need to be pushed off the platform to get going. I tuck my legs underneath me and glide through the trees, letting out a little ‘whoop!’ as I reach the other side.

It’s quite a rush, and the next line, higher and longer than the first, is a breeze. High up in the trees now, I get to see this ecosystem from a totally new angle. The view is spectacular, with lush green vegetation and sprinkles of flowers.

During the course, we spot a sloth. A safe distance away in some hanging vines, this famously lazy creature is swinging like a monkey as it readjusts itself into a prime napping position.

There’s barely time to stare at this amazing creature before I’m abseiling down a huge tree. Suspended on the wire and dropping sporadically (thanks to our hilarious guide), my heart is really going by the time we get to the obstacle course. Rope bridges, tightropes and wooden ladders challenge us at great heights, but we scramble through.

The final zipline allows you to pull out your best trick before gliding back down onto the final platform. I manage to go upside down, squealing the whole time until I’m lowered back down to earth. It’s time to get back to that beach bar.

Check out the tour company at; sign up for the canopy tour at (and it’s a good hostel, too).

Cath Millman





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