Tree Climbing in Costa Rica

Tree Climbing in Costa Rica’s Rainforests

Remember when you were ten years old and you used to practice tree climbing in the old oak tree in the neighbor’s yard? Somewhere along the line you became a responsible adult, and you probably haven’t climbed a tree since, but in Costa Rica you can intimately experience the rainforest and capture the joy of being a kid again by climbing the trees. The forests have towering patriarchs housing literally thousands of small animals, from ants to giant iguanas and howler monkeys, from diminutive hummingbirds and parakeets to macaws and toucans. Why stay on the ground, looking at the silhouette, when you can see them in brilliant color from above?
One landowner ordered the heart of his plantation be left undisturbed to protect the primary forest that grows there. This forest holds more than 200 trees aged 500 years or more, and the vast, cavernous space beneath the canopy still fills with birds flying and the sounds of frogs and insects and lizards and, every once in a while, we find a jaguar print in the mud. This is where we found Abraham and Joseph, two very interesting trees to climb.
It takes ropes and harnesses and some other special tools we’ve developed to allow us access into lots of high trees, and the physical and spiritual rewards are well worth the sweat.

So come with us into this ethereal world, and climb to the branches where the monkey lay about resting, where the birds fly beneath your private perch. Come share Abraham with us.

The story of Abraham, the giant Ceiba Tree

Meet Abraham, the granddaddy of this primary forest — an ancient tree more than 400 years old, but still in the peak of health and majesty. Abraham towers more than 150 feet, overlooking our friend’s private primary rainforest not too distant from Arenal volcano. Abraham’s lowest branches stretch out from the trunk 120 feet above the jungle floor.

A recent guest and British naturalist wrote “spending the day in Abraham — that was delicious — like sharing a throne with the god of nature.”

How do you get up there, you ask. Either with a lot of grunt and the help of technical climbing equipment, or...

How do you get up there, you ask. Either with a lot of grunt and the help of technical climbing equipment, or…

It’s Grand Central Station up here, watching the birds fly through the outreaching branches, landing in treetops below you. Monkeys play and sleep and eat in the branches on just the next tree. Every creature has color when lit from above, and their brilliance is not simply imagined only from seeing their backlit silhouettes. The stable platform is perfect for long-lens cameras on tripods. And when you arrive in Abraham, you can stay all day — watch the sun rise, watch the sun set, watch the daily migration of the birds from nest to food to nest again. The crotch of the tree houses thousands of epiphytes, frogs, even fish — a whole ecosystem living harmoniously within the arms of Abraham. You can peek into this verdant array of flora and fauna as few people in the world have been able to see it. To hear it. To smell it.

NATURE IS ALL YOURS, FOR THE WHOLE DAY

Once in Abraham, you have the whole place, and the whole day, to become part of the forest. It’s comfortable up here, with the birds — the breeze sways the other trees, while Abraham sits rock-solid, and you eat lunch while watching the birds.

For those who want to be pampered, with our winch system.

For those who want to be pampered, with our winch system.

Don’t believe you can make the climb? Well, we have ways of getting you up there, with some help from your Serendipity leader, and some inventions we’ve made. Heck, we’ can even get your wheelchair up there, too.

And there’s no better way to practice tree climbing than with your Serendipity team below and above you, to give you all the encouragement (and way too much advice) on how to do it. This is NOT a matter of strength, except the mental kind.

You’ll never be closer to being a bird than while in the bosom of Abraham.

Enter Joseph’s labyrinth

Joseph is a giant fig tree that is so old its host has died and rotted away, leaving a hollow core you can climb in.

Joseph is a giant fig tree that is so old its host has died and rotted away, leaving a hollow core you can climb in.

OUTSIDE Magazine in a feature story says that traveling with Serendipity is “a transcendent journey that would be easier to appreciate if (Serendipity) wouldn’t insist on dragging the rest of us along”… which we at Serendipity appreciate is a succinct statement of our philosophy.

That article is about tree climbing in Serendipity’s giant strangler tree. We love to share climbing this tree, on the inside, with our friends. Emerging from the trunk into the top of the canopy, you are just another creature in an aerial nest.

How can I climb these trees?

Our ceiba tree and strangler tree are located about 3 hours from San José, in the Arenal area, in an amazing primary rain forest.

Have a look at our sample itineraries of private holidays for examples of how tree climbing can be integrated into your custom Costa Rican vacation