Costa Rica: The Rainforest vs The Jungle
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If you’ve never been to a tropical climate, the idea of a jungle or rainforest may sound very exotic. It is. Costa Rica has both rainforest and jungle. Some people refer to these forested areas interchangeably. While the two eco systems are very similar, there are a lot of differences that come into play. The biggest contrast is the amount of sunlight that peeks through the treetops. It dramatically changes the environment. If you’re planning a vacation or a honeymoon in Costa Rica, it’s helpful to know how these beautiful landscapes teeming with wildlife compare to each other, especially if you want to go exploring.
Amid the wilderness of Costa Rica is the jungle. It’s a dense forest comingled with trees and vegetation. The trees grow close together, and leafy vines seem to connect the dots. Animals have free range, roaming among the trees or through the wealth of plants that create a thick groundcover. The jungle is also filled with the sounds of wild animals singing, chattering and calling to each other amid the rustle of leaves and flowers. Humans find it more challenging to navigate, but it’s quite a sight to see. One of the most exhilarating ways to view the jungles of Costa Rica is to take a zipline ride over these scenic forested areas. Whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River is another option.
The rainforests of Costa Rica are similar to the jungle, but they have layers. There’s little vegetation on the ground except where the stray ray of sun shines through. You won’t find the dense tangle of plants and vines growing under your feet the way it is in the jungle. Instead, there’s a high canopy of treetops that shields the sun from peeking through. Vines climb up long tree trunks to reach the sunlight. This is where the vast majority of rainforest animals live. In this setting, trees can range from 60 feet tall to well over 100 feet. A lower canopy of treetops blocks out sunlight below 60 feet, creating a humid environment. The cool breezes rarely
The Animalsbreak through this layer, but the sounds of the busy animal kingdom in the treetops filters down below and fills the air. It’s much warmer on the ground. The moist hot air creates a lush environment for ferns and flowers in this tropical setting. Rodents and reptiles roam the ground in this rain-soaked environment, which is dotted with rivers, streams and waterfalls.
Much of the wildlife is the same in canopies of the jungle and rainforest. Monkeys, macaws, anteaters, snakes and sloths are just a few of the wild animals found in the Costa Rican jungle. A trek through the rainforest also reveals various species of birds, monkeys, snakes and sloths. Creatures like the peccary, lizards, tree frogs and an assortment of cats and rodents also roam the jungle and rainforest, foraging for food and water.
A jungle or a rainforest can grow naturally, creating an ecosystem where plants and animals thrive. When part of a rainforest is cleared, however, rays of sunlight encourage growth of vegetation across the ground, creating a jungle instead.
If the idea of trekking through the jungle or wandering through the rainforest intrigues you, it might be time for a visit to Costa Rica. At Costa Rica Rios, we help people plan vacations and honeymoons with as much or as little adventure as you like. Check out our photo gallery from The Jungle Lodge on the Pacuare River to see some of the unique tropical scenery you can encounter on your trip.