When people plan their Costa Rica Rios adventure vacation the first thing they envision is taking unforgettable walks through the country’s jungles. Havens of pristine wilderness and varied wildlife, rain forests are the world’s most complex and important ecosystem.
Collectively, they harbor a colossal chunk of the biodiversity the planet needs to thrive, or between 40 and 75% of all biotic species. When in Costa Rica, you’ll be undoubtedly be planning a visit to some of the country’s phenomenal rain forests, so let us help tickly your curiosity with these 10 fascinating facts..
- Rain forests are made up of two distinct ecosystems: tropical and temperate. Tropical rain forests are found between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. They are primarily characterized by how much rain they receive, which is about 66 inches a year, on average. Temperate rain forests are found on just about every corner of the globe, all the way up to (almost) both Polar Regions.
- Every tropical rain forest scan be divided into four layers: the forest floor, the understory (everything at eye-height), the canopy (what you see when you look up) and the emergent layer, which is everything that grows and lives above the canopy, usually obscured from view. Each layer is inhabited by quite distinct species of flora and fauna.
- The largest tropical rain forest in the world is the Amazon, which runs through nine South American countries. Over 50% of Costa Rica is made up of primary rain forest, which is the most carbon-dense and bio-diverse in existence.
- Rain forests are likened to the planet’s thermostat: they regulate the global climate and temperatures. About 28% of the oxygen produced on earth is from rain forests. This is what makes them so important, as well as highly susceptible to the detrimental effects of global warming. Aside this threat, rain forests are also subjected to catastrophic logging, mining, ranching and agricultural expansion, the world over. Deforestation has decimated about 40% of the rain forests which once existed on our planet. Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world which makes conservation a priority, and over 75% of the country’s rain forests are protected reserves.
- Our planet’s rain forests boast 70% of the plants currently used to treat cancer, and it’s believed many more are yet to be discovered as only 1% of the flora has ever been studied for their medicinal purposes. Each square mile of rain forest boasts, on average, 400 species of flowering plants and 200 different types of trees.
- There is still, to this day, much that we don’t know about these incredible ecosystems, and estimates of new and unidentified species of flora and fauna are believed to number in the millions.
- Every single day, the world loses the equivalent of 80,000 football-field-sized portions of rain forests.
- The world’s rain forests currently supply livelihood for over 1.2 billion people living in poverty.
- In tropical rain forests, the canopy is so dense that rainfall can take up to 10 minutes to reach the forest floor.
- Rain forests are the oldest ecosystem on earth
Discover Costa Rica’s Forests
All up, Costa Rica is home to six different kinds of rain forests, including tropical, tropical dry and the mesmerizing cloud forests. Over 100 different species of trees are found here, as well as an enticing array of wildlife, including sloths, a nearly endless array of monkey and thousands of bird species.
The most famous cloud forest in the country is undoubtedly Monteverde, a mystical place brimming with coffee plantations, rowdy monkeys, and endless hiking possibilities. Cloud forests are very special, almost magical, as they are shrouded in a mist that makes them feel quite ethereal. The wonderful thing about Costa Rica’s rain forests is that they are thriving centers for eco-friendly activities. zip lining, hiking, canopy tours, visiting butterfly farms and bird-watching: these are some of the ways you can experience the rain forests in this spectacular country.
In the northern Pacific coast, in the Guanacaste province, is where you’ll find tropical dry forests. These are not nearly as dense as cloud forests, so your chances of spotting wildlife are much higher. Kayaking and horseback riding are two of the best activities in which you can indulge here.
If planning a white water rafting tour in Costa Rica you’ll be exploring what are known as lowland rain forests. These occur up to 1,000m in altitude and boast the tallest trees of all, harboring a huge number of micro environments.
At Costa Rica Rios, we strive to showcase the inherent beauty of the country’s rain forests, as it is inherently human to only protect what one knows, and loves. We are committed to promoting eco-friendly tourism, where the only things you take are unforgettable memories, and the only things you leave behind are your footprints…and just a little piece of your heart. Contact us for more info.