Aerial trams and hanging bridges

Toddler wondering whats on the other side, at SelvaTura Park
Toddler wondering whats on the other side, at SelvaTura Park

Travelers looking for a leisurely way to see the spectacular biodiversity of the treetops of Costa Rica's rainforests may be interested in riding in one of the several aerial trams found throughout the country.

Aerial Trams

Unlike high-speed canopy tours where visitors wear harnesses as they ride along zip-lines (also called canopy tours), aerial trams allow travelers to enjoy scenic views from a seat in an open gondola. These cabins are attached to thick wires that are pulled through the forest by a mechanical pulley system, enabling people to experience the upper reaches of the rainforest in unparalleled comfort. As they are being pulled through the canopy, visitors can see many of the ecosystem's most exotic and interesting animals, including howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, parrots, three-toed slothes, motmots, tree frogs, toucans and more.

Although the number of aerial trams located in Costa Rica is relatively small compared to the number of canopy tours, they can still be found in several regions around the country. Many of these attractions are located close to some of the nation's top tourist destinations. For example, travelers who ride the aerial tram in Arenal (La Fortuna) can enjoy breathtaking views of the region's famous volcano and lake, while those who visit Costa Rica's Central Valley can take trams that ride close to Braulio Carrillo National Park or the Tarcoles River. Other popular destinations with nearby aerial trams include Monteverde, the Veragua Rainforest near Limon and the tropical dry forest near the town of Jaco on the country's Central Pacific coast.

Hanging Bridges

Another relaxing way for visitors to see the canopy up close is to go on a hanging bridge tour. Instead of using mechanically powered trams, these attractions consist of a series of walkways suspended far above the forest floor. Hanging bridges allow visitors to experience wildlife in the treetops, but unlike aerial trams and zipline canopy tours, they permit travelers to go at their own pace. Consequently, tourists are able to move through the rainforest as they please, stopping whenever they seen an interesting plant or animal or even when they simply want to rest.

Several popular destinations throughout Costa Rica feature hanging bridge tours. In Arenal, visitors can see the nearby volcano from the bridges, and in Monteverde at the SelvaTura Park, they can spot a wide variety of the plants and animals that make up the Monteverde's unique ecosystem.