The verdant, sunlit canopy of the Pacific lowland jungle in Costa Rica is alive with beautiful birds, butterflies, and other creatures. This is the view from my cabin's second story window overlooking the jungle at Las Caletas Lodge in Drake Bay.
Another very good place to observe birds and butterflies is at the sunlit edge of the jungle.
Many fruiting trees, like these bananas, are found in disturbed areas at the edge of the primary jungle, and these fast-growing plants not only attract birds, but also gorgeous Blue Morpho (Morpho spp.) butterflies which love to feed on mushy, fermenting bananas. Huge Blue Morpho butterflies can be seen flying slowly at the edges of the jungle on sunlit mornings, and these metallic-blue butterflies are a dazzling sight I will never forget.
Once you enter the jungle, it becomes surprisingly dark and much quieter.
Most of the obvious activity is in the sunlit regions, although I did see a few land crabs and an elusive Central American Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) skulking about in the shadowy jungle.
The jungle trees grow quite tall to compete for the sunlight, and in their shade there are quite a few dangling woody vines and a network of surface tree roots that themselves look like vines snaking all over the ground. When you look upward, you just see a dark green roof of leaves overhead.
The dirt below is slippery brown clay, and it's covered in fallen flowers and leaves.
Some of the fallen leaves were the size of dinner plates and would skid like improvised sleds if you stepped on them.