Daytime Canopy Tree Platform Expedition

Duration: 4-5 hours
Terrain: I-III, guided (min. 2, max. 6 participants)

Terrain Descriptions
* I-Flat and even; for everyone.
* II-Uneven gradients; watch your footing; for most everyone.
* III-Some long hills; strenuous.

Remember your childhood dream of building the best tree house ever? Or did you wish for wings like the wondrous birds of the world? The reality is that man has spent almost no time in the treetops, and therefore knows little about the wildlife that exists there. To the world's amazement, through recent research endeavors, scientists have discovered that the majority of the wildlife of tropical rain forests resides not on the ground, but up in the canopy of these forests.

We are delighted to offer you an opportunity to experience this rarely visited world: join us for a trip to the rain forest canopy via our new tree platform. Located within the remote Corcovado Lodge Reserve, adjacent to Corcovado National Park on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the canopy platform system effortlessly lifts you over 100 feet into emergent old growth trees to experience a world rarely touched by man. Since this is higher than an eight-story building, we do not suggest this trip for people who suffer from vertigo or fear of heights. However, from this new vantage point you have the opportunity to view and enjoy the life in a primary rain forest canopy through the trained eyes of a certified Platform Guide.

Orientation: A 10-15 minute orientation talk to prepare you for the experience.
Interpretation: The guide will open your eyes to the many wonders and complex ecosystems of the tropical rain forest through a hike on the rain forest floor and your time on the platform up in the canopy. Together you will not only identify some of the bird, plant, insect and other animal species encountered, but also unravel some of the complex relationships between them. By sharing this information, we hope to help you understand the jungle canopy and how it relates to the larger ecosystem and to the biosphere.

THE TREE:
The giant tree, which stands 200 feet above the forest floor, is native to the Osa Peninsula. It is a member of the tropical family Caesalpinaceae, Hymenaea courbaril. The common name is Guapinol. Although different types of the Hymenaea courbaril can be found from the lowlands of western Mexico to central South America, the Guapinol tree is the only class of Hymenaea courbaril that is exclusive to Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

After eight years of study, this particular tree was chosen for its magnificent views of the rainforest canopy and its proximity to wildlife by Oswaldo Trejos, our master platform builder and safety authority. It is located on a ridge that overlooks miles of rain forest canopy to the North and West.

Guapinol trees produce a resin that when fossilized is the source of most Neotropical Amber. As you are winched up to the platform, you will see the first stages of the fossilization process where chunks of resin have formed on the trunk of the tree. It is quite beautiful in this state. The local people mix the powder that surrounds the seeds with milk and drink it for anemia.

To maximize the possibilities for wildlife observation, we have chosen a tree on which to construct the platform that is within an "arboreal pasture". An "arboreal pasture" is a group of trees in which at least one tree is almost always bearing fruit. The consistent food source that the pasture provides attracts monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, and a host of forest birds.

Our "next door neighbor, the "Fruta Dorada" (Golden Fruit or Wild Nutmeg) tree, Virola sepifera, is considered particularly tasty. Troops of howler, spider, and white faces monkeys often pass through or near our tree on their daily foraging expeditions. Nectar-eating bats that pollinate the Guapinol tree visit at night. This diverse array of canopy wildlife should satisfy all levels of natural history interests.

The platform experience is what the words, "unforgettable memories", are all about. Being perched eight stories above the forest floor is not only an awe-inspiring event; it is also a chance to reflect on nature and our place in it.