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A ride through the rain forest canopy in Costa Rica

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Rain forests are famous for harboring thousands of plant and animals species. They hide, grow, creep, crawl, and fly at all levels of the forest but the majority of life has evolved to live way up there in the canopy. And by “way up there” I mean 90 or more feet above the ground; the type of heights better left to monkeys, birds, and super heroes who can fly.

For this reason, the rain forest canopy continues to be a frontier of sorts. Despite the fact that thousands of people throughout the ages have hunted, lived, and gone for nature hikes in rain forests, hardly anyone has explored its upper reaches. Means of accessing the canopy weren’t developed until researchers in Costa Rica and Panama made attempts to learn more about the roof of the rain forest.

One of these intrepid, tree-climbing biologists was a guy named David Perry. He has focused much of his work on studying the rain forest canopy in Costa Rica and became so enthralled with this tree-top world that he helped establish a company that built the “rain forest arial tram” at the edges of Braulio Carrillo National Park in Costa Rica.

The tram is a mechanical gondola ride that brings tourists up into the canopy of beautiful primary forest and therefore provides access to this little known aspect of the rain forest. The experience lasts about an hour and an excellent, bilingual guide accompanies each and every gondola to educate visitors about the wonders, features, and processes of the canopy. The guide also points out different trees and animals such as monkeys, toucans, and sloths that are occasionally glimpsed during the ride.

Built smack in the middle of primary rain forest, pains were taken to construct the arial tram with as little impact upon the forest as possible and it’s evident that no large trees were felled to make way for the ride. The trip is so smooth and the gondolas large and safe enough that even those who are afraid of heights might enjoy this peek into one of the Earth’s final frontiers.

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