Costa Rica Zipline & Other Canopy Tours Print e-mail this info

Individual zipline and canopy tour locations throughout Costa Rica. 

Origins & History of Canopy Tours

Modern canopy tours were invented in the 1970's when the rain and cloud forest canopies were the last remaining frontiers of botany, zoology, entomology and ecology.  Ph.D. students Donald Perry and John Williams first strapped on their rock climbing harnesses, clicked their carabineers on to a belay line, and grabbed onto their jumars to ascend a tree instead of a granite face.


Epiphytes and Dead Leaf
Epiphytes take advantage of the energy that trees put into producing roots and trunks, growing in the much brighter light hundreds of feet off the forest floor. Fallen leaves like the one seen here are valuable sources of nutrition as they decompose without ever reaching the ground. (© 1999 Sue Krueger Koplin)


Many early canopy tourers were graduate students.  They were lithe, strong, youthful and perhaps most importantly driven by the dictum that they must make a completely novel and unique contribution to science in order to earn their degrees.  I’ve known graduate students who would have climbed burning trees in the middle of a lightning storm if they believed there was a novel contribution at the top.

It wasn’t long before the techniques began to improve and specialize.  Someone introduced the Tyrolean traverse (sliding along a horizontal rope) so the researchers could move between trees without returning to the ground.  The inclined Tyrolean made it much faster and more fun to get back to the ground at the end of the day.

Soon entrepreneurs saw the entertainment value and the commercial canopy tour was born. The development of new methods has continued as well, and today there are a number of different ways to explore or exhilarate in the tree-tops.

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Origins and History:What is a Canopy Tour
Types:Tree Climbing
The Original Canopy Tour

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