Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Travel Blog

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After La Fortuna we went to Monteverde cloud forest for a couple of days. On the way to Monteverde we cut across a big lake by boat, where we got better views of Volcan Arenal than when we were in La Fortuna.

At Monteverde we had a decent hotel that was notable for it's extravagant use of wood panels to furnish the walls and ceilings. In the afternoon a few of us went and did a walk across the big suspension bridges in the cloud forest. The set up with the bridges is impressive, but the weather was oddly too good so we didn't have the mist that you see in the typical photos of the forest. We also didn't really know what to look for nature wise so we didn't really spot much. That night we went to a tree top restaurant in town which had some cool live music playing.

The next morning the whole group went back to the forest for a nature tour. Our guide Ricardo was the best guide I had in all of Central America. He was incredibly enthusiastic to show us what was in the park. He brought along a small telescope on a tripod that he could quickly set up to get a still zoomed in view of something, like a bird or a spider.

Having Ricardo as our guide really paid off when about half way through the walk he suddenly rushed up the path with his telescope and excitedly planted it in a direction he had seen something. He had spotted a quetzal and he was very excited about it. The quetzal is an incredibly rare bird in Central America so it was very special that we got to see it. We all had a look through the lens at the bird and took photos pressed up against the telescope to get a decent zoomed in view. It wasn't moving so we had a bit of time to check it out properly in the telescope and admire it's vivid colours. As we were doing so an American couple came along who had been living nearby for something like 4 years and had never seen one. Ricardo showed them the quetzal in the telescope and they were overwhelmed that they had finally seen one.

After about half an hour of ogling this rare bird we moved on. We saw some tarantulas and a waterfall and other things. We made it back to the tourist centre in the park after a couple of hours in the forest. Before we left we went down to the hummingbird enclosure at the tourist centre and watched them hum around. They have these dangling containers set up that have sugar water in them that they can drink from. It must be addictive stuff because they are constantly at it, which gives a great chance to get some photos.

In the afternoon some of us went back to the tourist centre to do the famous zip lining over the canopies of the cloud forest. Zip lining is where you are attached to a harness and then the harnass is attached to a strong taut steel cable that goes from one high vantage point to another. Gravity pulls you down the cable and you go down at speed over the top of the forest.

We got hooked up and shown how to go about going down the zip lines. There were about 11 zip lines in total, some at the start were quite short to get the technique down pat, and then the big ones were at the end. It was hair raising to be flying along at probably 200 metres height, well over the tops of even the very highest trees. The views were very cool. The last zip line we did was one of the largest in the world at about 1km long. We had to do this one in pairs and we got up a rocketing pace on the way through.

At the end they said they had a surprise for us, where we could go out to a swing they have and do a jump. We walked about 10 minutes around to the swing, which started on top of a metal structure that you climbed up, maybe 10 metres from the ground. I was first in line so I went up. The two guides at the top pushed me up against the front fence of the structure and hooked the swing into the harnass. Without any warning they suddenly opened the gate in front of me and pushed me out. It was no different to being pushed off a 10 metre building because the swing doesn't catch taut until the end, so I just dropped off and had a moment of terror before the swing caught tight and I swung across the ground and then back and forth a few times until the guys at the bottom grabbed me and brought me to a stop. It wasn't a huge jump but the surprise of suddenly being pushed off made it a lot scarier than it otherwise would have been. It was fun at the bottom to then watch the others do the swing and see their reaction as they fell.

After the swing we went back to the hotel and had the most amazing dinner at this restaurant on the edge of town where we had the most amazing meals including the most amazing steak and the most amazing dessert. It was amazing.
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photo by: smhirsch