This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Exploring the cloud forest

On our first whole day in Costa Rica, we decided to check our the cloud forest reserve in Monterverde. We woke up before 6 due to our jetlag, but went downstairs to meet Freddy, who cooked our breakfast - fresh fruit and pancakes with bananas and coconut syrup. 

The bus left for the forest 7.30, a 6 km ride up the mountain. We decided to hire a guide who could introduce us to the wonders of the cloud forest, and while he was quite entertaining, he wasn't really worth the money. We hiked around for a few hours, first with him and a family from California, then on our own for a while. The most incredible point on the trip was a suspension bridge, 100 m long, from where we could explore the canopy (treetops). Not for the faint-hearted...! 

Leaving the area after lunch (our first meeting with the traditional gallo pinto, i.e. rice and beans, in Costa Rica), we visited a small humming bird feeder station. Here the tiny humming birds were flying close around us in large numbers; I have never seen them so plentiful and close up before! With Lotte's super-camera we got some incredible pictures - check it out (click on the pics for enlargement): 

On the way back to Santa Elena, which is the town close to Monteverde, we decided to take a small detour for a certain viewpoint, which Freddy suggested. On the way down we were picked up by a nice guy, who didn't speak any English, but offered to take us down "to the waterfall", as far as I understood. We knew we shouldn't go so far, as it was a very long hike back, but instead asked him to stop at the viewpoint when we passed it. And wow, what a view! We could see the waterfall, but much more amazing was the view of the Gulf of Nicoya in the horizon.

Heading back up the mountain was more than strenuous - the incline was STEEP! We tried to hitch a hike with one of the friendly locals, who are always waiving and smiling when they pass, but they couldn't stop because of the incline. A short stop at an art gallery/mini-orchid gartnery (mostly for catching our breath in the thin air) turned out to be a nice experience and meeting with a local artist/nature tour guide, and then we made it up to the top of the detour road.

We had planned a stop in La Lecheria (a dairy factory) on the way down from Monteverde, but missed it at first. Having to walk back 400 m uphill wasn't popular with any of us, but in the end SOOO worth it. Lotte got the best milkshake ever and the two scoops of ice cream that I got together with a peak of the cheese making behind a window was well worth the extra effort.

And then the taxi-guy who picked us up on the detour found us again, and drove us back to Santa Elena - again for free, just giving us his card so we could call him if we needed a ride again. Back at the hostel we crashed, exhausted and jetlagged, and woke up after a couple of hours of sleep, realising that we should really get some proper dinner. With Freddy's always competent suggestion, we went to a local eatery for a nice meal - and then back to bed!

1 comment:

  1. Suspension bridge = WOW!

    Enjoy dear, it's sounding absolutely astonishing!