visiting the forests in the clouds
12.16.2010 - 12.19.2010 76 °F
OK, so it's been over a week since we've done a post (even that was just a beard post), so we're going for some serious updates here. Apologies for the delay. Enjoy!
After a day and a half in Arenal/La Fortuna, we were ready to move on to the next stop on the so-called "Gringo Trail" in Costa Rica: Monteverde and its world-famous cloud forests. One very cool perk of visiting Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde in succession is the popular "Jeep-Boat-Jeep" form of transportation between the two. A "Jeep" (read: tourism van) picked us up at our hostel and took us to the beatiful Laguna Arenal. It was cloudy and foggy, so you could say that added to the "mystique."
We even saw a rainbow at the end of our journey!
After crossing the laguna on an hour-long boat ride, we hopped into another "Jeep"and were on our way to Santa Elena, a cozy town just outside of the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves (two different ones, but in the same area). We were fortunate enough to spend the night at Pension Santa Elena. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Monteverde and Santa Elena, go there! With Pension as our home base, we were ready to tackle the jungle - at night! We took a hike up the winding access road to the entrance to the Monteverde Reserve and along the way we stopped into a Sloth Reserve and a Hummingbird Center. Finally, my (it's Kyle, by the way) life-long dream of holding a sloth...almost came true. We got to see but couldn't quite touch. But judging by some of the photos we captured, me thinks the sloths didn't need much holding or touching anyway.
On our way up to the entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
After buying a ticket for the jungle night walk, we retreated to the Pension for some much-needed food and relaxation (and headlamps). By the time the sun had fallen behind the mountains, we were back up at the forest and, to our surprise, were the only ones there for the tour! It was our own, private tour with our wonderful and colorful guide, Juan Carlos. Now, obviously no pictures will do much of the tour justice since the only natural light was moonlight. We saw a tarantula, a TON of bats, some colorful frogs, and plenty of walking stick bugs and exotic crickets. Sorry guys, no jaguars. Still, the visuals were only half of the fun. Several times we stopped to shut our lights off and simply take in the sounds of the forest. If I was even a good writer I wouldn't be able to do it justice, so you'll either have to find our for yourself someday or use every bit of your imagination (or an expensive ambient sound effects collection).
Moonlight through the canopy
Finally, after a night in the jungle, we figured it was only appropriate to see it during the day. We headed up to Monteverde's little sister, Santa Elena Cloud Forest, for a quick jaunt with one of the most interesting men we've ever met (I'll let Hill take that one in another post). Here are some pics.
Dwarfed by the jungle.
Trees grow in the jungle; the moss and vines grow in/on the trees.
Until next time!
COMING SOON...Alajuela and the Butterfly Farm, Cahuita, Bocas del Toro