January 21st
written by Alonna

We made it! We flew into Costa Rica via Los Angeles, getting here at 6:20 AM on Saturday. Here’s a picture I snapped while pulling into the gate in San Jose, CR.

For some reason I thought we’d get here rested and ready to start the adventure. But the 5 1/2 hour overnight flight didn’t quite do it – we were tired. Still, we had a rental car waiting, and a 4-hour drive to our first destination: Santa Elena, home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. This is a small town in the mountains where moisture from the pacific rises and forms constant clouds over the forests. This moisture creates a unique forest with thousands of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. So, we headed out in our small SUV (Daihatsu Terios) Manual 4×4. About half way, we had to turn off of the highway, and start up towards the mountains. The roads turned to very rough dirt/gravel for about 25 miles. The views were great, but it was a bumpy ride. Here’s some photos from the trip:

The rest of Saturday we pretty much chilled out, slept, went out to eat, and did a little shopping.

Sunday we went on a Sky Trek zipline adventure, which was a blast! It consisted of being harnessed and hooked onto cables, then zipping across the jungle. There were 11 cables total and it took about 2 hours. Here’s some photos.

After the zipline, we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest and spent about 2 hours hiking around. Luckily, we happened upon a small tour group, just as the guide had found a beautiful blue/green bird with a red chest. He let us take a look through his scope. It turns out this was a Quetzal, which is a rare bird that people come to see in Monteverde. On the hike we also saw a monkey up in the trees. Other than that it was uneventful – although the forest itself is pretty. Here’s a couple photos of the cloud forest:

Later, we took a night tour of a different cloud forest reserve (called the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest). We were in a group of 8 plus a guide, given flashlights, and basically hiked around in the dark searching for nocturnal animals. We spent most of the time looking for sloths up in the trees, but what we saw were 3 tarantulas, a couple tiny frogs, tons and tons of sleeping birds (who tuck their head under their wings, and puff up their bodies), a long line of army ants (whom Ben tried to confuse by blocking their path), and some large rodents that I can’t remember the name of. The whole thing was pretty fun, the forest is very noisy at night with beetles, frogs, and other insects. Here’s two contrasting photos – one is the sunset we saw before the tour, the other is of one of the orange-kneed tarantulas (yes, I was scared).

Today we’re heading to La Fortuna, home of the active volcano Arenal. We’ll be spending 4 nights here, and plan to do some fun things like biking, repelling down waterfalls, visiting hot springs, etc. We have wi-fi there so stay tuned for more photos!


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