What's the first thing that comes to mind when you picture Costa Rica? If you're like a lot of people (myself included,) you'll imagine zipping through the rainforest on a canopy tour. Ziplining was first invented by rainforest researches in Costa Rica, and it quickly grew into the quintessential touristy activity. Cheesy, but definitely fun.
We signed up for a tour with Selvatura, which was a super-professional, if slightly 'slick,' organization. They picked us up at our hostel and drove us to the beautiful primary growth cloud forest near the Santa Elena Reserve. We harnessed up and watched a demonstration from the super-competent guides that led us from platform to platform. Ziplining is pretty brainless -- the guides clip you in and you slide off the platform. The only skill it takes on your part is to brake by pushing down on the cable behind you (your hands are protected with thick leather gloves.) So while it looks a little ridiculous, it's safe, effortless, and waaaaay fun. All told, we flew across over 3km of cables, 18 platforms, and an optional Tarzan swing. The lines started off short and slow, but by the end of the tour we were zooming down a 2500-foot line at 40mph. SWEET.
After the zipline tour, we slowed down a bit and hiked along Selvatura's canopy bridges. The ziplines are a hoot, but let's be real -- you're not going to see much wildlife zooming along at 40mph. Canopy bridges are a completely different way to experiencing the rainforest. When you're hiking along the ground, it's dark, misty, and a little spooky. But when you walk across these huge suspension bridges, it's a different world. A completely unique set of plants and animals live at the canopy top, and it's a totally surreal experience to look doooooown through the layers of leaves and try to catch a glimpse of the forest floor. Jordan and I saw all kinds of insects and plants, and we heard howlers monkeys roaring in the distance. Wonderful.