Lonely Planet review
Rainmaker is a privately owned rainforest that offered the first aerial walkway through the forest canopy in Central America. Although its star has faded a bit, the place is still regarded as one of the region’s best. From its tree-to-tree platforms, there are spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding primary and secondary rainforest, as well as occasional vistas out to the Pacific Ocean. The reserve is also home to the full complement of tropical wildlife, which means that there are myriad opportunities here for great bird-watching as well as the occasional monkey sighting.
Tours with naturalist guides leave hotels in Manuel Antonio and Quepos daily except Sunday; reservations can be made at most hotels or by calling the Rainmaker office. Standard tours cost US$70 and include a light breakfast and lunch, though there are also bird-watching (US$90) and night tours (US$60) available. Binoculars are invaluable for watching wildlife, as are water and sun protection for staying hydrated and sunburn-free.
Rainmaker also offers opportunities for volunteers to participate for two weeks to one month in one of the four departments needed to run and preserve the project. There are also opportunities to work with local schools and various community outreach programs. Contact them for more information regarding fees and placements.
From the parking lot and orientation area, visitors walk up a beautiful rainforest canyon with a pristine stream tumbling down the rocks. A wooden boardwalk and series of bridges across the canyon floor lead to the base of the walkway. From here, visitors climb several hundred steps to a tree platform, from which the first of six suspension bridges spans the treetops to another platform. The longest span is about 90m, and the total walkway is about 250m long. At the highest point, you are some 20 stories above the forest floor.
In addition, there are short interpretive trails that enable the visitor to identify some of the local plants, and some long and strenuous trails into the heart of the 20-sq-km preserve. Keep your eye out for poison-dart frogs, which are very common along the trails!
A large colorful sign marks the turnoff for Rainmaker on the Costanera Sur at the northern end of Pocares (10km east of Parrita or 15km west of Quepos). From the turnoff, it is 7km to the parking area.