Gyroplane getting close to Manuel Antonio
Gyroplane getting close to Manuel Antonio

I can tell you that one of the greatest places to view Costa Rica is from high up in the sky! While you can't sit up in the canopy with me, you can go high up into the air with a gyrocopter. Have you ever heard of a gyrocopter? Also known as a gyroplane or autogryo, these open-air planes are small helicopters that fly high above some of Costa Rica's most beautiful attractions, like Manuel Antonio National Park and the Arenal Volcano. What's really neat is that you can also fly just above these places for a view that no one else can experience. Only two people can fit in a gyroplane (and maybe a frog), making for an intimate and unforgettable ride.

Impressive look inside Gyroplane cabin
Impressive look inside Gyroplane cabin

About the aircraft

After seeing a strange craft flying through the air, I just had to do a little investigating for myself. I hopped to different airports and overheard some interesting conversations about the history and importance of autgyros. The plane was first developed by a man named Juan de la Cierva who completed a project in 1912. He was inspired to create something after the Wright brothers took flight in 1903. The aircraft is very similar to a helicopter with a rotary wing, but unlike a helicopter, it isn't powered by the engine. Aerodynamic forces make the rotor spin and wind passing through it makes the blades spin. So you may be wondering the same thing that I was if it's not powered by an engine, how does it stay floating in the air? Well, once it's in steady flight accelerating and decelerating forces cancel one another out and help keep the motor moving at a regular pace!

Inviting beach chairs in Manuel Antonio
Inviting beach chairs in Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most visited parks in the entire country, and for good reason. The small biodiverse peninsula is breathtaking in its scenic landscapes and abundance of flora and fauna. From the stunning mountainous backdrop to the white-sand shoreline, Manuel Antonio is a well-deserved favorite. Located on the central Pacific coast, the park has a string of small beaches and bays surrounded by primary and secondary rainforests. Trust me, there's so much you can do here: Whether it's on land, water or in the air! Why not get a bird's eye view of the park?

Although this park is one of the smallest in the country, it is the most diverse. It spans only 683 hectares, but don't worry, you'll see some amazing things while up in the air. With miles and miles of greenery, you'll see the lush forests backed up to tiny beach coves. North Espadilla Beach, South Espadilla Beach, Manuel Antonio Beach, Puerto Escondido Beach and Playitas Beach can all be seen from above, and you may even notice the coral reefs underwater.

Amazing view of Gyroplane over little town near Manuel Antonio
Amazing view of Gyroplane over little town near Manuel Antonio

Even from the air, you'll be able to see large schools of fish down below in the crystal clear waters, or even humpback whales and dolphins swimming along the coast. You'll see so much more from the air than you could ever imagine, so don't forget your camera!

Flying at low altitude is a spectacular experience as well because you'll be able to see wildlife more clearly. One of my favorite parts about gyroplanes is that you can look over animals in the park without them getting frightened by other creatures nearby.

Talking about what to do in Costa Rica always gets me excited, but gyroplanes are easily one of the coolest things around. How would you like to feel like a bird for the afternoon?

Couple of Gyroplanes in Quepos Airport
Couple of Gyroplanes in Quepos Airport