Day 72: Fortuna - Santa Elena
Monteverde Travel Blog› entry 98 of 120 › view all entries
When we booked our trip to Arenal yesterday we had also seen a poster about a Jeep-Boat-Jeep tour to Santa Elena. As Santa Elena was our next destination, that had seemed like a very good alternative to the Public Bus-Public Bus-Public Bus variety.
Well, it turned out to be a tourist bus-boat-tourist bus tour, but at least the boat part was very nice. The Laguna de Arenal was beautifully tranquil and made for a nice hour long crossing. As we only had one fellow traveller with us on the boat, the whole trip was nice and quiet.
The rest of the trip was rather uneventful. We reached the town of Santa Elena just after midday. Santa Elena is the gateway to the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, a huge reserve protecting the cloud forest.
After checking in to our hostel we took a shuttle bus to the reserve where we did a stunning walk through the cloud forest. I love cloud forests. Not to be confused with rain forests, cloud forests mostly appear at higher altitudes, and lie, as the name suggests, 'up in the clouds'. This means that these forests are almost always shrouded in an eerie fog.
So this is not a place where you go for the good views, but rather for a refreshing walk amidst mossy trees and huge ferns.
Back in Santa Elena we also visited the Serpentarium, which is a private collection of local snakes and lizards. Costa Rica is home to about 18 species of venomous snakes, and we figured we would be better off limiting our encounters with them to a place like this, where they are safely behind glass.