Walking through the rainforest in Costa Rica is an experience not to be missed. Towering trees stretch to the heavens, every inch covered in vines, bromeliads, mosses and orchids. Giant roots reach out across the forest floor carpeted with leaves and smaller trees, plants and shrubs. Every living thing competes for space and light in the rainforest. The air is alive with the sounds of tropical birds and millions of insects, and maybe even the spine-tingling calls of howler monkeys.
Nearly everyone who comes to visit Costa Rica hopes to go to the rainforest. For visitors to Guanacaste, who arrive and depart from the Liberia International Airport (LIR), going to the rainforest has not been so easy. Located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, Guanacaste is covered with dry tropical forest, which although unique, is quite different from rainforest. In the past, it would take travelers nearly four hours one-way to get to the nearest rainforest.
A new Costa Rica tour by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is now making it easy for Guanacaste tourists to walk in the rainforest within just two hours of the Papagayo Gulf and most major Guanacaste beach resorts.
Around the northeastern side of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, the dry tropical forest and rolling brown plains suddenly switch to lush green forest. This is where you find the Costa Rica eco-tour of Sensoria. The private nature reserve is an enchanted paradise of thick, wild rainforest, gushing waterfalls, sky blue streams, warm thermal springs and amazing nature. Frequent rains keep the forest green and alive with water and wildlife.
On the three- to four-hour guided tour, you walk well-maintained trails with a naturalist expert who will teach you about the rainforest and its plants and animals. The huge hundreds-of-years-old trees are truly breathtaking, but the most thrilling aspect of the tour is the five astonishing waterfalls. The best part – you can swim at all of them.
The neon blue water of the Aguilar Waterfall and the 20-meter-high (65 feet) Buenos Aires Waterfall are like a fairytale. The Dantas Waterfall – named after the Spanish word for “tapirs” – falls into a lovely, deep pool, and the Jicara Waterfall is a warm stream and pool. When it is not raining, there is a fifth waterfall that you can visit, partly enclosed in the narrow Madrigal Canyon. At the end of the tour, the best place in the world to relax is in the soothing warm, crystal clear thermal spring pool of Pilon. You’ll never want to leave … except maybe for a delicious lunch served in Sensoria’s ranch-style dining room.
Article by Shannon Farley