During the October half term break I spent an exhilarating morning walking on high ropes suspended between trees and whizzing along on zip wires. I was with my husband and kids at Parc Aventura in Sant Feliu de Guixols in Spain’s Costa Brava.
It took us a while to find the park as it’s reached by a dusty woodland track which wasn’t in our sat nav’s lexicon. Our visit had been arranged by the Costa Brava tourist board and I wasn’t sure exactly what we’d be doing there. When I looked on the website it listed a variety of activities which are on offer at the park, including paintballing, canyoning, caving, climbing, archery and zip wires. We don’t often do activities like this (I always want to, but the rest of the family are less keen), so I was interested to see how it would go.
High ropes and zip wires
As soon as we got out of the car at Parc Aventura we saw the high ropes courses in the trees above us. We were met by a helpful woman who had us in climbing harnesses and ready for our high ropes safety briefing in no time at all.
My 17 year-old daughter isn’t keen on heights and so she opted to follow our progress from below, taking photos of the three of us as we moved around above her. My 12 year-old son had no hesitation in having a go, to my surprise.
The woman explained (in Spanish) how to use the carabiners to secure ourselves to the high ropes, and how to move around the ropes and zip wires safely. We each had three carabiners on our harnesses, two red and one blue. We practiced clipping and unclipping the carabiners and moving along a wire at ground level.
You have to ensure that you’re always attached by at least one carabiner and never to unclip them all at the same time. You look at the colour on the wire to see which carabiner to attach – if it’s red you attach both of your red ones, if it’s blue you attach both of your red and your blue carabiners. It sounds complicated but it’s actually really simple when you do it.
There are five high ropes and zip wire courses at the park and they are colour-coded to reflect their level of difficulty. The easiest are blue (you have to be at least 120 cms tall to go on these), then red (you have to be at least 145 cms tall to go on these) then black. Each course consists of thick wires strung tightly between platforms which wrap around tree trunks high up off the ground. The courses have a variety of obstacles to cross, and these get harder as you progress, but there’s always something to put your feet on and something to hold on to with your hands.
In a separate, enclosed area there’s a course for young children (from three years old) which is all at a low level and would be a great way to get children used to this activity. My son wanted to try out the children’s course but the woman in charge said that his legs were too long (he’s taller than me).
Once we’d got the hang of using the carabiners we were ready to climb the wooden ladder to the first platform of the easiest course, Blue 1. My husband went first, followed by our son, with me at the back. My son was a bit nervous before crossing the first wire but he was soon happily progressing around the course and telling me how to do it.
At the end of Blue 1 there’s a zip wire which whizzes you down to the ground. The Blue 1 course took us about 40 minutes to complete and we all decided that we’d like to try Blue 2. It was all going well until my son got to a zip wire where you have to stand in a looped rope which speeds you to the next platform. He wasn’t at all happy about doing this so, after waiting with him for a while and trying to persaude him to do it, I sent my husband (who’d finished the course) to get the manager to bring a ladder so that he could climb down. I finished the course and then went for a walk with my son while my husband went around the red course, which he said was very difficult.
My husband says: ‘It was excellent. It’s worth doing the blue course first to build up your confidence, then the red, if you haven’t done this kind of thing before’.
My son says: ‘It was hard to start with. I’m glad that I did it and I’d like to do it again’.
My daughter says: ‘I didn’t do it because I don’t like heights but it looked good’.
I really enjoyed our morning at Parc Aventura. It was great fun and I’m very proud of my son for trying this activity. If you go, it’s best to wear shoes with a good grip, such as trainers, wear stretchy clothes and be prepared to get dusty and have aching arms the next day.
Equipment hire and the safety briefing at Parc d’Aventura cost 10 euros per adult and 8 euros per child under 13 years old. You then pay for each circuit that you do – circuits cost between 6 and 9 euros.
We were hungry after the morning’s exertions and we drove along the coast to nearby Sant Feliu de Guixols for lunch. We ate at a popular local restaurant called Hotel Restaurant Can Segura in the town centre, one street back from the beach. There’s an outside terrace but we sat inside. We had the menu del dia which was a set menu for 17.50 euros (around £12) for three courses including wine, water and coffee. The food was fresh, home made and very good and the restaurant was lively and buzzing, full of locals and French day trippers enjoying Sunday lunch. There were five choices for each course, including a lot of fresh fish. My favourite dish was the fried anchovies, and the puddings were also great.
I think that Can Segura offers excellent value and I’d definitely recommend it for lunch – and it’s probably best to book if you want to go there.
My husband says: ‘I liked it. The puddings were great.’
My daughter says: ‘The bread was amazing.’
My son says: ‘My favourite thing was the pudding.’
Disclosure: We were guests of the Costa Brava Tourist Board and Parc d’Aventura for review purposes.