Costa Rica Zip Line and Canopy Tours are in many ways synonymous with Costa Rica. Originally introduced during the 1970s, zip-lines have developed into one of the country’s most popular and widespread activities. Composed of steel cables and platforms strung at various heights between trees, they offer travelers a unique means of accessing beautiful and remote natural areas. And although they undoubtedly boost the adrenalin of each and every participant, zip-lines also educate their riders on ecology, botany, and reforestation practices. You can find zip-lines all over Costa Rica, but some of the best are in Hermosa Beach, Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio. Imagine yourself streaking along a canopy zip line high above the rainforest - the thrill, the adrenalin, and the extraordinary views!
In the foothills and lowlands of both slopes, Costa Rica's rainforests harbor thousands of known life forms and thousands more yet to be described. They are among the last strongholds of biodiversity on earth. Resonating with the songs of birds, at dawn. The rainforest is quiet in the heart of the day, its stillness punctuated by the insect-like call of poison dart frogs, the rasping of cicadas or the whistled notes of wrens. The dark, cool interior of primary rainforest is surprisingly free of entangling vegetation. Only where light manages to filter through the interlocking canopy to the forest floor does vegetation proliferate. Walking in the rainforest is like taking a step back time. The modern world and all its stress fade into insignificance.
The forests on the upper slopes of Costa Rica's mountains and volcanoes are frequently draped in mist and clouds. Algae, mosses and lichens get a foothold on the constantly wet surfaces, providing a places for orchids, bromeliads, ferns and innumerable other plants to cling to. So prolific is these “epiphytic” growths in the cloud forest that bare branches are virtually non-existent. Sometimes harsh conditions such as prevailing winds and supersaturated soils cause the forest to be stunted - like the elfin forest at Monteverde's continental divide or the gnarly, dwarf woods at the summit of Poás Volcano.
The cloud forest captures the imagination of even the most cynical among us. It emanates a sense of ancient and enduring life. Of peace. Sitting quietly overhead, its long feathery tail swaying gently in the breeze, is a scarlet and emerald bird that seems to embody the spirit of the cloud forest. Aptly named, the Resplendent Quetzal is considered by many to be the most beautiful bird in the world.
Costa Rica's nine active volcanoes vividly remind visitors of the awesome power contained by the earth's thin mantle.
At Irazu Volcano, it is easy to see why Neil Armstrong said that its desolate landscape looks like the surface of the moon. Anyone peering into Poás mammoth crater with its boiling, sulfurous lake, is reminded just how tenuous is man's supposed dominion over the world.
Arenal, most active and no doubt the most studied of all Costa Rica's volcanoes, booms and rumbles with an unnerving consistency and its nocturnal pyrotechnics have struck awe in the hearts of thousands of observers. On the lower slopes of Rincón de la Vieja, the power is vented in boiling mud pots, hissing fumaroles and thermal streams.