Heliconias Rainforest, Costa Rica’s Hidden Park of Suspension Bridges

Heliconias' El Trogon Suspension Bridge

photography by: Omri Westmark

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With more than half of its territory covered by lush jungles, Costa Rica is one of the most forested countries in the world. While the country's ample rainforests offer many types of activities, none of which is as popular and exciting as the numerous suspension bridges amid the woodland's canopies. Similar to their jam-packed counterparts, the hanging bridges of the privately owned Heliconias rainforest in Alajuela Province are bestowed with a breathtaking scenery, albeit without the utter nuisance of mass-tourism.

The Lodge and Trail

Nestled on the foot of the 1,916-meter high Volcán Tenorio, Albergue Heliconias Lodge is a 10 room eco-hotel, boasting its own private rainforest. The secluded lodge is located about 4 kilometers away from Costa Rica’s National Route 6, and is accessed via a 10-minute drive along a pothole-ridden dirt road. Due to its relative remoteness and inaccessibility, the hotel and its surrounding jungle barely get as many visitors as a typical attraction of its kind elsewhere in Costa Rica.


Even if you aren’t planning to stay at the lodge, you can still visit its adjacent rainforest which entails a modest admission fee. The privately owned jungle merges with the nearby Volcán Tenorio National Park, while its 73 hectares of unspoiled paradise are traversed by a 2.5-kilometer-long wooded trail that takes about 2 hours to complete.


The path provides a spectacular glimpse of the country’s abundant wildlife, including several species of monkeys, butterflies, tapirs and the national symbol, the adorable sloth. Nevertheless, as the article’s title implies, Heliconias’ main highlight is by far its series of suspension bridges that stretch amid the forest’s canopies, elaborated down below.

Hanging Bridges

As most chances none of you is a professional tree climber, the forest’s 4 suspension bridges are your only chance to witness the jungle’s most inaccessible part, its tree canopies. Extremely narrow and precarious, walking across Heliconias’ four Hanging Bridges is a guaranteed recipe for a jittery experience, a one that is further intensified by the bridge’s lattice deck, with the sheer height being visible between the small voids.


Whereas 3 out of the 4 acrophobia inducing bridges are 95 meter long and 30 meter high, the Tree Hanging Bridge, which meanders around a giant tree, is a whopping 105 meter long and 40 meter high. Each of the bridges has a maximum capacity of 8 people, but even if you’re merely by yourself, each step along these elevated passageways triggers a mini bridge-quake.


Thankfully, the thrill-seeking adventure is accompanied by a stunning views of the rainforest’s upper parts, as well as a distant glimpse of Lake Nicaragua in Costa Rica’s northern neighbor.