Tropical Rainforest of Monteverde

Trip Start Dec 17, 2007
Trip End Dec 27, 2007

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hi Everyone,

     This is my 8th day here in Costa Rica. This morning after my dad and I had our typical Costa Rican breakfast (consists of rice and black beans, eggs and fried plantin), we took a jeep-boat-jeep transfer to Monteverde. This area Monteverde is located in north central Costa Rica where 11 Quaker families moved here back in 1945. The Quakers believed in peace, the same ideal as Costa Ricans. During WWII, the American government had to imprison several Quakers for their refusal to be drafted into the miliary. The Quaker family became upset and decided to moved down here to start their peaceful farming lives. Things are going very well because the area of Monteverde is very isolated with very limited roads linking it to major cities. Getting in and out of this place has always been difficult due to the roads full of giant pothole. Their roads can easily flood over during the rainy season. However during the past 20+ years this area was discovered as a heaven of wildlifes, as a result, flood of tourists started to come in. In response to the increase in tourism, the Costa Rican governement tried to build road to access this area. But the area residents (including the Quakers) strongly opposed to such move. So up until this day, getting from La Fortuna to here would take up to 12 hours by car. But this Jeep-boat-Jeep option actually uses a 4WD to access this bad road as well as crossing the beautiful lake Arenal. The first part of trip to the lake took 15 minutes, then the boat ride (absolutely beautiful) and followed by another 2 1/2 hours on the pothole ridden road. The ride shakes so much that your butt actually hurts when the whole thing is over.
       We made it to Santa Elena without much problem. The place we are staying is acutally the house/office of the men who operates the jeep-boat-jeep ride, how interesting. After dropping off our bags, we headed over to the town of Santa Elena for our rainforest tour. The company we used is callled Skytrek, nthey are known for their Zip line tour using these strong wires hanging from tree to tree where the tourist holds on to their spook-wheel and roll down these lines from tree to tree. Its pretty intimidating hanging from a wire thousand of feet from the ground, so our acrophobic mind pushed us into doing something a little more mellow, namely the Skywalk. This is just walking on the nicely paved trails  as well as these hang-bridges. In order to get up to the first hang bridge, we must climb up the spiral staircase with minimal support about a hundred feet into the sky !!!! That was quite scary. The first hang bridge was just as intimidating with it swaying wildly to its sides!!! Good thing is I quickly walked across before I am overcomed by acrophobia. The rest of the rainforest hike was quite nice with 5 more hang-bridges, and by the time I got to the 3rd and 4th hang-bridge, I was stopping along the way to see wildlifes. The only catch is the bridge can only support 10 persons at a time so we must wait for the other tourists to clear before we get on the bridge. Its interesting that whenever more people get on the bridge, it resonates every footsteps with shakes and sways throughout the entire bridge. We didnīt see too much wildlife due the constant rain but the rainforest and the plants are just breathtaking. When we finished the walk, we were sitting and waiting for our van to arrive and some of the other tourists we spoke to had the same complaint about that first bridge and spiral staircase being scary....
     That evening, I visited the the Ranario, which is a frog pond where 26 out of 126 species of Costa Rican frogs are house here. The place is pitch black since frogs are nocternal. Our guide used the flashlights to show us these beautiful frogs and toads hidding inside the glass enclosed ponds. There are poison dart frogs, green frogs, toads, bull frogs and green frogs with black strips, very pretty. I walked back from the Ranario back to the pension when the wind and rain started to pick up. The wind was really howling so I gave up the night walk tour and tour in the morning. We are heading to the beach tomorrow.
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