Monteverde, Costa Rica
We were exhausted and have a hard time getting up. We sat for breakfast but our driver was already in the lobby, so we had to leave without eating. Fortunately we had some nuts and a bar. The Monteverde reserve is within walking distance from where we are staying. Our guide is a naturalist and shows us and explains the fauna and flora which lives in this phenomenon that is the Cloud Forest. Unfortunately The Cloud Forests of this world are becoming smaller as years advance because of climate change, yet they are vital to our world for their biodiversity . We hiked for 2 hours with our guide, he took us to a cascade, up and down various paths, explained how some trees grow on the trunks of other trees, strangling it, which causes the trunk to die, so the interior becomes hollow; fascinating to see! We saw some animals like the Coati from the raccoon family. Like everyone else we were looking for the QuetZal which is a colorful beautiful bird, most majestic in flight. But we saw it while it was digesting, sitting still on a branch. We stopped for lunch with our guide at a great coffee shop in the middle of a hummingbird garden. There were some beautiful species I had never seen before. The coffee was great, lunch not so much! This is where our guide left us. We decided to continue in the cloud forest where our objective was to see the continental divide!We walked through a tortuous pathway to a valley, finally arriving at the long red narrow hanging bridge. Walking on it was scary, with its squeaky noise every time you advanced but it was breathtaking. It was like being in Avatar except this was real! With the forest starting way down there enough to give you vertigo, when you look down and as you lifted your head it felt like the trees stretched up way into the clouds; some trees with huge leaves, others with beautiful flowers, birds singing everywhere but you couldn’t see them. We were lucky enough that the sun came out and flashed its rays through the trees. Wow! Is all I can say! We continued on the other side of the park, these pathways were quite treacherous as they were narrow and vertically sinuous. It’s not for the faint of heart! It’s physically challenging. We finally got to a platform and for a second when the clouds lifted I saw a glimmer of the gulf of Nicoya in the Pacific side. But we never got to the continental divide; if it had been clear you would see both the Pacific and the Atlantic at the same time. I can just imagine. On the way back we took a wider slightly less strenuous pathway where there were lots of wide trees with hollow trunks and huge valleys with tall trees where tons of lianas hung from the top( that’s how Tarzan traveled!). We finally exited the park sometime in the afternoon and slowly walked back to our hotel. We sit in our veranda taking in the view of the Monteverde Cloud Forest, being grateful to have witnessed such a wonderful phenomenon! We changed and decided to take the 4 o’clock local bus in front of our hotel to the town of Saint Helena; about 4km down the unpaved bumpy road, but what a view! We decided to have a drink and some nachos at the tree House; it’s literally that; a building built around this huge tree and you have to walk under the thick branches to get around. Great concept, mediocre food. I can’t say there is much in town. The Sabor Tico was recommended to us for dinner. That was not great either. We decided to go to the market, which was quite huge for the amount of people living here. The prices are high for the type of wages people earn here. We got a few apples and some water. In total today we walked a good 7 miles, I’m sure we’ll feel it tomorrow! We take the cab and go back to our hotel. It’s great that we can keep up with each other! We watched a bit of the most horrible news where ISIS killed 128 people in various parts of Paris at the virtually the same time. These are scary times. I feel sad for the people of Paris and France, to be subjected to such horrific life altering events We hit the pillow and truly are grateful for today!