Costa Rica Highlights: Arenal Hanging Bridges

J and I decided to head over to the Arenal Hanging Bridges on the advice of the nice family with two kids on our canopy tour.  They said it was amazing.  Something we could not miss.

They weren’t wrong.  The hike through the rain forest was breathtaking!

The hanging bridges were so cool.  It was sketchy going across the first couple but after that I had my “sea legs”.  The bridges were actually very sturdy metal suspension deals.  I never felt like they would come crashing down like a scene out of Indiana Jones.  They just had a bounce to them, especially when you reached the center, that took a bit of getting used to.

J took this photo looking down through the bridge floor.  It does not capture how high we were in the canopy.  We were probably a good 75 feet off of ground but it sure does not look that way from the photo.  It looks like we’re mere feet from the ground.

We saw some of the most lush, tropical rain forest you could hope to find anywhere.  I’ve never seen anything so green!  Some of the palm trees had to have been a hundred feet tall or more.  It was amazing to think that trees could grow so tall!  Some of the trees we saw were ones that we have in our own backyard.  I could not imagine having palm trees that big in the backyard.  I guess under the right conditions with enough time, they could grow that tall.

Here’s a better view of that waterfall.  I love how the water has carved a twist into the landscape.  Coming to a place like this gives you a whole new respect for nature’s power and beauty.

We saw many animals on our two-hour hike like these leaf cutter ants.  I couldn’t get a great photo of them so I took a picture with the flash so you could at least see the bright green leave bits that the ants were carrying.  Leaf cutter ants were everywhere in Costa Rica.  We saw them going down side walks, at the hotel, everywhere we went.  We saw them so much that they failed to be a novelty after a while.

“Oh, look!  Leaf cutter ants!”

“Big deal.  I want to see a sloth.”

Sad but true.  🙂

We also saw a black monkey up in the trees, lots of birds and butterflies, and a pit viper.  One of the locals called us over to check out the pit viper coiled in a plant on our way out of the park.  The deadly snake was a tiny little thing that we would have surely never found on our own (can you imagine how much we missed without a guide).  I’m so glad that he called us over to see it.  Too bad my camera battery had died by that point though.  No pictures of the venomous pit viper, sadly.

We learned that there is another variety of pit viper called the jumping pit viper.  It’s bad enough that their venom is deadly.  But the ability to jump adds a whole new dimension of freakiness to the equation for me!  Needless to say, I was a little leery about walking through the Jumping Pit Viper Tunnel on our hike…

From one of the highest bridges in the park we captured this amazingly clear photo of the Arenal Volcano.  It had been pretty overcast that day so we were quite surprised to see the clouds clear and the volcano come into view.

I highly recommend visiting the Arenal Hanging Bridges if you are ever in Costa Rica.  Like I said before, the views are breathtaking.  There is a photo op. around every corner!