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Costa Rica Adventure Canopy Tours

Do you remember the movie MEDICINE MAN, starring Sean Connery, and if you do, do you remember the scene where him and the other scientist go flying through the treetops of rainforests hanging from harnesses tied to ropes? Well, that is what canopying is all about.

This adventure sport is new both to Costa Rica and to the rest of the world, and if the fact of flying through treetops at 40 meters from the ground seems to you as both an incredibly frightening and exciting idea, just imagine what it must be like to do it among the tree tops (also called canopies, thus the name of the sport) of the tropical rain and cloud forests. The sport originated from rappelling, which is a sport derived from mountain climbing in that it also uses safety climbing harnesses and ropes to displace the person from one inaccessible point to another.

The technique was origionally developed by scientists in the US to study the canopies of trees in forests there without disturbing the life in the limbs and trunk by having to attach ladders or climbing equipment to the tree. Apparently it was not until a few years ago that scientists were able to study the canopy ecosystems in great depth through the use of this technique, and once it was developed, the rainforest became the optimal target for its use due to its large and complex ecosystems. The technique has been successfully used in the Bilogical station La Selva in Costa Rica for this purpose.

It was not long before the growing tourist industry in Costa Rica took notice of this technique and decided that it was too exciting an activity to pass it up. Thus the sport was born as an assisted sport which is sometimes called a canopy tour, mainly because it is targeted to the tourists. The sport has created a huge controversy due to the fact that Canadian Darren Rennick, owner of the Canopy Tour(r), patented the name and the technique at the Costa Rica Registry of Patents and Inventions. According to Rennick, he designed the modifications to the usual techniques that became what is now known in Costa Rica as canopy tour or canopying. Now, over 10 companies operate canopy tours in Costa Rica, notorious among them the one in Villa Blanca Hotel, San Ramon, because it is owned by Costa Rica´s expresident Rodrigo Carazo. As of now, Rennick and his associates are engaged in a legal battle against all the other companies (pirates) in an effort to prevent their use of this patented adventure sport. It must be said that his company is the oldest and has an established reputation for being both safe and fun.

Canopying is an adventure sport, and as such it poses risks to your health. You should use common sense when engaging in this type of sport and also ask the companies for antecedents and safety precautions before trying in it.

That said, you will discover in the canopies of the rainforest a world of its own, filled with creatures that only inhabit those enchanted regions. Some Costa Rican canopy companies will even let you camp overnight in the platforms atop the trees. When engaging in the sport you might need the following things, light raincoat, light clothes, camera, binoculars, insect repellent and last but not least, an adventurous spirit. All other equipment is supplied by the companies.

Believe us when we say this, if you engage in canopying, it is something you will remember for the rest of your life and something you will want to do again. We are sure that soon this sport will extend all over the globe in different types of forests, but nothing compares to canopying through a tropical Costa Rican cloudforest.

Be safe and enjoy!


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