Tarantulas, spiders and snakes... oh, my!

Monteverde Travel Blog

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Sunset from the rainforest
Back in Liberia, getting back into the swing of teaching and trying to catch up on the sleep I've missed out on for the last two weeks. After the new year, I headed off with Andy to Monteverde, where we had quite the adventure.

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.
Andy and me... The sunset was supposed to be in the background... Damn flash.
It was fine, just overpriced for looking at a bunch of frogs in glass cages when you're two kilometers from one of the world's most dense rainforests.

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).
Walking stick!
So Andy and I skimped on showers for the night, as I preferred to be dirty rather than naked with a spider the size of my hand right next to me.

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.
Dusk


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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Sunset from the rainforest
Sunset from the rainforest
Andy and me... The sunset was supp…
Andy and me... The sunset was sup…
Walking stick!
Walking stick!
Dusk
Dusk
Tiger spider #1
Tiger spider #1
Tarantula #1
Tarantula #1
Sleeping toucan!
Sleeping toucan!
Tarantula #2 creeping out of its h…
Tarantula #2 creeping out of its …
Look at that thing!
Look at that thing!
Froggie!
Froggie!
Really big tree with fungus
Really big tree with fungus
Culebra venenosa!
Culebra venenosa!
Tiger spider #2... in our shower.
Tiger spider #2... in our shower.
Reserva Santa Elena
Reserva Santa Elena
Hiking with our Euro pals
Hiking with our Euro pals
Spider web
Spider web
Andy hurdling the gorge in our path
Andy hurdling the gorge in our path
Being a mountain momma
Being a mountain momma
Cool plant
Cool plant
View of el Volcan Arenal from Sant…
View of el Volcan Arenal from San…
Again, trying for the cool backgro…
Again, trying for the cool backgr…
Strangler trees, that grow from th…
Strangler trees, that grow from t…
Lookout point on the way to the Co…
Lookout point on the way to the C…
Grinding coffee beans
Grinding coffee beans
Banana Plant
Banana Plant
the Coffee Roaster and his grandda…
the Coffee Roaster and his grandd…
Monteverde Hotels & Accommodations review
Great for backpackers looking for a cheap, social place to stay. Nicer rooms also available. Extremely helpful information about canopy tours, restaur… read entire review
Monteverde
photo by: smhirsch