Forest Canopy: Heaven on Earth at Mistico Park

The forest canopy is a world apart from what we’re used to seeing in tropical rainforests. There are countless unique and exceptionally beautiful wild plants and animals living in the canopy.

The Costa Rica Forest

The Costa Rica Forest

Rising trees

Some trees find the forest canopy to be too short for them, so they decide to grow past it. Such are the rising trees: plants with heights exceeding the forest canopy.

Growing so tall demands considerable energy, far more than what the other trees invested to grow up to the forest canopy.

Their amazing height is possible thanks to privileged access to sunlight. Rising trees may invest more energy than their shorter counterparts, but they get to live much longer.

The Bully Tree requires native bee pollination to stay alive.

From the hanging bridges in the Mistico Park forest you will be able to behold the stunning beauty of these trees. One species that will forever capture the tourists’ admiration is the Bully Tree (Hyeronima alchorneoides). This tree yields timber that is widely used in the construction industry and is therefore hard to find outside protected areas.

Discovering the flora and fauna hidden there is a magical opportunity you can’t miss.

Trees that surpass the ecosystem’s peak height can easily reach 50 meters. A colorful variety of fauna find at this height the ideal place to settle. Naturally, witnessing these wonders from ground level is quite complicated. But no worries! There is a fun, educational way to explore this exciting part of the tropical rainforest. Mistico Park, in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, is an ecotourism park offering adventure activities. From 6 hanging bridges, visitors gain an unmatched view of the magic in the forest canopy.

Looking forward to exploring nature in Costa Rica through exhilarating and educational activities? Learn about the Natural History Guided Tour

Trees reaching the forest peak are the home of aesthetically flawless animals that are–precisely–only found in the forest canopy. Some of these creatures include: sloths, white hawks, mantled howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, and spider monkeys.

Costa Rica Sloth

Costa Rica Sloth

Undergrowth

Undergrowth is the vegetation in the lower part of the forest. The height of undergrowth is usually considered to be 5 meters above the ground. Due to poor exposure to sunlight, plants become accustomed to living in the shade.

The fauna in the undergrowth is abundant and diverse, and it includes species such as birds. A distinctive feature is that, unlike species in the canopy (which are brightly colored), the colors of undergrowth creatures present camouflage hues.

Forest layers: the floor

The forest floor receives the lowest levels of sunlight of all forest layers. In a primary rainforest, only 2% of sunlight reaches the ground. It is a common belief that tropical rainforest floors are incredibly fertile. However, that is not the case. Due to high temperatures and humidity, organic material decomposition is a speedy process.

A monkey climbing a tree.

A monkey climbing a tree.

Multiple organisms are involved in this recycling process, but fungi and bacteria are protagonists.

This agile process is most evident in that almost no dry leaves are found in the forest floor. Decomposition starts the moment leaves land on the ground. Animals inhabiting this forest layer are mostly dull-colored for camouflage purposes. However, exceptions exist. For instance, birds inhabiting tree tops descend to the forest floor to dig tunnels and nest, as is the case of white-fronted nunbirds and motmots.

At Mistico Park, you will see the tropical rainforest in all its glory. No one gives you the chance to discover the secrets of this wildlife haven in the way we do.

Enter the heart of the jungle and cross the 16 bridges (6 of them hanging) built for contemplating fauna in their natural habitat.

Come meet the incredible species inhabiting the forest layers (canopy, undergrowth, floor). The visit includes a specialist guide who will make sure you have the time of your life here.

Book a Natural History Guided Tour to reveal the tropical rainforest’s deepest mysteries.