Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Trip Start Jun 06, 2010
Trip End Jun 13, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Limón,
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This morning we were up nice and early at 6:30am to get ready for our guided tour of the cloud forest national park. We arrived at the reserve by 7am in our hotel transport and met our guide Roberto. Off we went for our 2 hour walk/hike through the rain forest. As it was early morning it wasn't raining, just a few sprinkles here and there.

Check out all we saw:
-The illusive Bell Bird through our guide's telescope.
- 2 Resplendent Quetzals.One male flew by as we were walking along and we saw one female with a worm in her mouth perched on a branch a few feet away.
- 2 millipedes. (CREEPY)
- One very very furry orange Caterpillar by a waterfall
- Two monkeys sporting very white testicles
- Lots of butterflies including the Morphos!
- 4 hen-like fowl rushed across the trail while we were walking. 
- One short billed Toucan
- One very large 'turkey' bird (black) perched on a very high branch. 
- LOTS of hummingbirds on the trail and also on the butterfly garden. 

We were so excited that we got to see so much wildlife while we were there and we found the waterfall quite by accident just by following a random trail in the park. 

We headed back to our hotel for our lunch which was OK (pizza and spaghetti) and then got picked up for our coffee tour! Now, you can all imagine how excited Brendan was for this and would you believe it that we had our very own private tour! Our guide Alex and his girlfriend Joyce picked us up along with the driver and his friend who seemed to be tagging along. We headed over to the coffee plantation of the St. Elena Co-op and got to see the coffee beans, the nursery, and the full grown arabica plants nestled in the shade of the Banana and Avocado trees. It was a very laid back tour and we helped them carry some of the 1 year old coffee plants back to the car as the driver's friend's father was part of the co-op and wanted a few more trees to plant in his mini plantation. So we headed over to this coffee plantation to see the way they dry the beans and what the process is. When we got there it was clear that this was a very small plantation run by one family so we were really invited practically into their homes. Our driver machete'd a sugar cane plant when he heard we had never had any and proceeded to cut us a very large piece that we chewed as we continued on our tour. We saw how the coffee is collected (backbreaking work) and also how they separate the beans from the shells once the coffee is dry. From there it was back to the Co-Op's tasting room where we saw their air roasting machine which they say is better for keeping the flavor than fire roasting. It sounded like it was a question of how to evenly heat the beans. Then we tasted four varieties from light roast to dark roast and also the beans that the Costa Ricans keep for their own supply (dried with the red shell on). Brendan was pretty impressive throughout asking interesting questions and correctly identifying 4 of the 5 flavors that their special blend had! (He got, Nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon, something else, and missed the hint of vanilla). For a newbie like me it all tasted really good. We bought two bags of coffee to take back with us and drank one more cup on the premises just for good measure :)

On the way back from the hotel we stopped in the megasuper to buy some water and splurged on some of the Monteverde Cheese factory's Gouda cheese. We didn't have time to visit the actual cheese factory. We took the cheese and crackers back to our hotel and enjoyed it n our wood carved patio as the sun came down and the mist gathered. 

In the evening we headed back into town to check out the local bar (Bar Amigos). It was really empty and so we didn't talk to anyone really but enjoyed two beers (Imperial). Then back to the hotel for some shuteye before our last day in Monteverde.  
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