It’s no secret that if you’re looking for a vacation destination that will provide much in the way of exploration and adventure, Costa Rica is the place to go. Famous for its wildlife and eco-tours, this country is a haven for tourists who seek unique experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
Among such tours is the “Góndola” (Aerial Tram) tour, which is a modified ‘Ski Lift’ that covers a distance of 2.6 kilometres through the unbelievably beautiful Costa Rican rainforest.
Twenty minutes outside of San Jose you will cross the Continental Divide and enter Braulio Carrillo National Park. After a half hour trip through the park, the bus will reach a 1000 acre private reserve of virgin forest. Open-sided vehicles shuttle passengers from the parking area to the Visitor’s Center. The shuttle trip provides an introduction to the forest, as visitors pass a small river and numerous tree snags with nesting holes of various birds – the White Hawk is regularly seen here, as well as the Pale-billed Woodpecker and many others. After a quick briefing on canopy exploration and the construction of the tram, visitors divide into smaller groups for an (optional) 45-minute nature walk with a trained naturalist guide. The trails are well-groomed and provide an excellent introduction to the rain forest.
Then it’s time to board the Aerial Tram. The open-sided cable-cars hold 5 passengers and a guide. The guides are quite knowledgeable about flora and fauna. They’ll point out orchids and different species of trees and are quick to identify the calls of the many birds that inhabit this unique environment. The tram ride lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. The lower, outbound leg of the tram journey takes you skimming over hilltops and in and out of the sub-canopy, a dark world of overburdened tree limbs dripping with mosses, ferns, and orchids. Lianas and vines drape over branches and traverse forest spaces, and act as highways for birds and insects.
The ride will stop several times as passengers board at either loading station. The return leg of the ride reveals the most dramatic portion of the trip as the cars glide on a breath-taking journey through and above the airy canopy.
With tickets carrying a price tag of $79 – $99 per person (depending on which tour company you choose to go with), the tour includes round-trip transportation from/to San Jose downtown hotels, one meal (breakfast or lunch depending on departure time), introductory video, guided walking tour, and the tram ride accompanied by an experienced-bilingual (Spanish/English) guide.
The views are breathtaking, the educational value is priceless, and the memories of riding high through the treetops undoubtedly will enrich your trip to Costa Rica. If you get the chance to go – don’t think about it, just do it!