Until recently, most visitors to the rainforest had to make do with either walking through it or travelling by boat. You could see what was around you, but seeing the top of the canopy was not easy. Since the late 1980's several ways of exploring the rainforest canopy have been devised.
At the most simple level are tree platforms, where you are winched up on a rope and scramble out onto a platform some 20m or more above the ground. Sitting in a platform, you wait hoping that a flock of birds or troop of monkeys will come close - which often, they do. Good places for sitting on a platform are at Hacienda Barú and Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp in the South Pacific Region.
Another system consists of a series of platforms joined by cables. You climb or are winched up to the first platform, then slide (in a sling) along the cable to the next platform. This rather adventurous activity is offered in several places by Canopy Tour. These tours are exciting but rarely offer many opportunities for observing wildlife.
The most technologically advanced is the Rainforest Aerial Tram. This is like a ski lift stretching through various levels of canopy. Passengers ride in open gondolas carrying several visitors plus a guide. This is the easiest way to see the canopy.
Safety is the most important concern in these operations. Make sure to use an outfitter with properly trained staff, that uses high quality equipment and has an accident-free record. There are numerous spin-off rainforest canopy tours, some of which had fatal and other severe accidents.
Pictures by Jörn Malek. The team of 1-CostaRicaLink and Costa-Rica-Information-Mobile wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.
Text by Lonely Planet.
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