To zip or not to zip?

zipline.gifThe charming young couple in today’s BudgetTravelOnline story (see Daily Dose) included in their trip to Costa Rica a type of canopy tour, commonly referred to as a zip-line tour, that involves strapping on a harness and “zipping” along a cable from treetop to treetop. This reminded me of my own trip to Costa Rica a few years ago, when our local guide arranged a zip-line experience for our group… and when our tour provider heard about it, he was furious.

The zip lines are all about adrenaline, and do nothing to educate visitors about the rainforest, he said. It’s a manufactured, touristy experience, not the kind of real encounter with place and people that he hoped for visitors to have. He worried about adverse impacts on the forest from the invasion of the canopy, and made clear that a zip-line experience had no place in an eco-tour.

There are many shades of gray when it comes to green travel.