Tarantulas, spiders and snakes... oh, my!
Monteverde Travel Blog› entry 20 of 33 › view all entries
January 4th, 2010 – by: lindsaypo
After finally getting there after being told that the roads were closed because a bridge broke (and other transportation issues), we checked into the Pensión Santa Elena, which I (along with Lonely Planet) would highly recommend to any backpacker/traveler on a budget. The friendly, completely bilingual staff got us oriented to the town and referred us to restaurants, businesses and wildlife reserves that they recommended. We checked out the Ranario (Frog Museum), which was the only part of the trip I could have done without.
But our next excursion made up for it when we went on a night hike of Bajo El Tigre, part of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. A picture is worth a thousand words here, as I cannot really explain how cool it was (or how creepy it was, depending on how you look at it) to see sleeping birds, strangler trees, tiger spiders, poisonous snakes and tarantulas up close. I personally thought it was cool to see tiger spiders in the rainforest, but it wasn't so cool when they were in our shower, after the front desk of the hostel had closed, and we couldn't remember if it was poisonous or not (luckily, it's not, as we found out later).
Luckily, we were going on another hike through a different part of the rainforest that day, so showering wasn't really necessary. We arrived at the Santa Elena Reserve, and started hiking with a Dutch couple and a Swedish couple who we'd met at the hostel. But we decided to be adventurous and take the four-hour route, so we split up from our friends and continued on the strenuous path, up steep hills, through mud puddles and tripping over roots the whole way. I was sore afterwards (Andy runs marathons, so he was doing just fine), but really glad we went. We didn't see a lot of wildlife this time, but I wasn't too upset, since we had no guide and call me crazy, but I didn't really feel like running away from snakes and spiders down a treacherous path for four hours.
After the hike, we rested and showered finally (no one knows where the spider disappeared to, but I kept thinking it was crawling on my face as I slept), and went to eat a well deserved dinner of Latin-infused tapas, thanks to the Stein/Pollack parents' extremely generous donations to the Lindsay and Andy Travel Fund. The we learned a confusing drinking game called "Chicago" from our Swedish friends... I didn't really get it. Ironic?
The next day, we went on a tour of Cafe Monteverde, which was really cool to see. Great Fair Trade coffee, great scenery and a great cause, since Cafe Monteverde is a smaller, family-run business with eco-friendly ways of coffee production. Overall, a successful outing.
Aside from being freezing in the high altitude of the cloud forest the whole time (Liberia has ruined me for withstanding any weather below 75 degrees), I adored Monteverde/Santa Elena. It is a place for hippie travelers, scientists, eco-friendly ticos, and most importantly, more than half of the world's wildlife species. I know it's not for everyone (my arachnophobic sister and my ophidiophobic mother included), but it was pretty cool if you ask me.
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