Tropical rain forests are what most people envision when they hear the word jungle and the ecological region that most people want to visit when they plan travel to Costa Rica. Over half of the National Parks in Costa Rica protect some tropical rain forest.
Rain forests in the western hemisphere occur from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego but what most people think of when they here “rainforest” is the tropics. The diversity of trees, plants, insects and wildlife is unmatched by any other ecological zone.
Walking quietly is the best way to explore the rainforest. Some of the best National parks to hike or walk in the rainforest include Manuel Antonio, Corcovado, Miravalles, Tenorio and Carara.
By some estimates more than half of the action takes place a hundred feet or more off the ground in the canopy. In Costa Rica it’s possible to walk quietly through the tree tops on suspension or “hanging” bridges. Tirimbina near La Selva and The Hanging Bridges near Arenal Volcano National Park are two of the best.
Another excellent way to see wildlife in the rainforest is by boat. The wildlife is less threatened by vehicles including watercraft than by people on foot so it’s easier to approach more closely. Tortuguero National Park, PaloVerde National Park and Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge are excellent places to get in a canoe, kayak or motor launch to visit the tropical lowland rainforest and see the inhabitants.