By Den, who turned 18 shortly after this trip
On my last summer at home before leaving for university, I went to Costa Rica with my family (you can find our full itinerary here). Aside from going to the beach and trying to find monkeys, we went to Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park in La Fortuna on a guided walk. The tropical rain forest, situated near Arenal Volcano, is home to a diverse selection of fauna and flora. Was it worth it? Read on to find out!
To start, a rainforest is usually being rained on. My mom, not content with me wearing a t-shirt, forced me to buy one of the ponchos on sale at the gift shop. Other than wearing rain proof attire (which is optional unless you are travelling with your overprotective mom), closed shoes are required to go on the trail due to the many small critters that would be dangerous to step on.
Although a guide is not required to walk the trail, it is highly recommended. Our guide Andres pointed out many different animals, from venomous frogs and cicadas to snakes and tarantulas, that were virtually invisible to the common tourist.
In addition, the detailed explanations on the habitats and mannerisms of the animals and plants as well as the scope he offered to get a closer look on the smaller beings made the walk a lot more enjoyable.
One of the main attractions of the Mistico Park are the beautiful hanging bridges. There are 6 hanging bridges and 10 more smaller bridges to cross, and the photo opportunities are unrivaled. The structures are very safe (although those with an extreme fear of heights should stay off!) and our tour guide took group photos of us on our phones. The tallest of these bridges is almost 150 feet off the ground! The views from the bridges were majestic, allowing us to take in the natural beauty of the rainforest from every direction.
After we finished our tour, we relaxed in the cafe nearby that offered a great view of the surrounding land. If I was to return, I would look into the night tours that are offered, where the nocturnal animals make their debut. All in all the Rainforest was one of the most memorable parts of the trip, and I strongly urge future visitors to stop by on the trip to Costa Rica.
Note from Mom: The Park is working towards making the bigger portion of the two-mile trail accessible to people with limited mobility (or fear of heights!). Right now about a mile of the trail is already available for such visitors and the Park is working to extend it.
We thank Mistico Park and Anywhere Costa Rica for arranging this wonderful tropical experience for our group.