Costa Rica 23 -- October 22, 2005
It keeps getting better; I can't believe it

By Bob Corbett

At 7:30 this morning a bus came and picked me up to go on the Adventura trip into the rainforest via their trails and long long bridges high up in the trees. This is not in an national forest, but in Adventura´s private grounds.

It was the most stunning thing I did yet. My host, Juan, here at Pension Sinai booked my place and the transportation, which was a very long ride, the park and guide and all was $20.00. I asked Juan if I could do it without a guide and he just said, don’t be silly, you have to pay for the guide anyway.

The guy was on time, we picked up other people, some speaking an Eastern European language, and took the bumpy, bumpy, muddy roads for about half hour to get there. All of them were doing the canopy experience first, so I was the only one going on the walk early today.

I asked the guide there if I could just take a map and go alone. He repeated Juan’s advice. “You’re ticket includes the guide, so we can’t give you any refund and I can tell you all about it as we go”. I thanked him and said I very much appreciated that, but if possible I would prefer to go by myself. He said, “Hey, if that’s what you want, I save several miles of walking!” And off I went. Oh my goodness, did I choose well. I had three hours all alone in this stunning forest with 8 of these swinging bridges and about 4 miles of trails.

Adventura (you can look them up on the internet and see great photos) has the best safety record of all the tour groups in Costa Rica.

[Added later: I can’t find a direct link to Adventura, but]
see this particular site to get some idea

The bridges are 100% metal. Metal side, gigantic thick metal cords or whatever you could call them and metal flooring, but all of it is grid work, not solid so rain and such would pass through. The cords are attached to trees in most cases, very thick mahogany trees that 8-10 people holding hands couldn’t reach around.

The guide told me when I got back (and that’s what I wanted -- my questions answered AFTER the fact) -- that many of the were 200 foot tall. It seemed it.

Often the bridges are more than 100 feet off the forest floor and a river runs below. And they do bounce and swing. I had a ball on them. Most of them are about 30-40 yards across, a few longer, and 3 of the 8 are multiple bridges crisscrossing long stretches. The 8 bridges (or bridge sets)are connected by 8 trail segments, up and down and flat.

All of this is in deep forest, dark, the same deep greens and mostly covered trees, and dripping leaves. Many of the mahogany trees the bridges are hooked to are on the hillsides themselves, so instead of starting on the forest floor where the river is, they may BEGIN to grow some 300-400 feet up the hill and soar another 200 feet up.

The entire forest provides a roof like a closed stadium, except it is uneven at the top and the entire top is lost in midst and fog and clouds.

When one thinks of deep and thick forests or jungle and one thinks of the movie versions, they are always wildly alive with sounds. This forest was utterly silent and when I was going up hills (1/3 the time) my huffing and puffing could be heard as though it were a mass of jack hammers at work on concrete.

It was so silent, broken now and again by a bird that would sound like it had a loud speaker, or the chatter and scatter of monkeys in the trees. I could hear them but not see them.

I did come across a two-toed sloth, tanish in color as opposed to the black and grey of the three-toed sloths in Manuel Antonio. One butterfly that blew my mind was almost the size of a dinner plate and was a translucent purple and blue. Just gorgeous. And squirrels, just like our squirrels in Missouri!!

I walked to the end of the trail, the end of the 8th bridge, and still had 1 1/2 hours before I had to meet the bus. Not quite enough to go back to the meeting place and do the trail again, so I turned around, re-crossed the 8th bridge and keeping an eye on my clock, I walked all the way back to the 5th bridge, and had gone mainly DOWN HILL, so that getting back I would have to hustle a bit since the hills were steep.

I got back with five minutes to spare.

I am weary. I only walked 5.5 miles, but with the up and down and up and down I am really weary. It was so peaceful, so quiet and so utterly majestic. I am simply in awe of this place.

I have taken this room now until next Thursday and paid up for that long. I may be ready to go elsewhere by then, maybe not. If not, Juan isn’t going to kick me out.

Oh me, folks, life doesn’t get any better than this.





Bob Corbett