Cloud forests grow on high areas of mountain ranges, and one of their main characteristics is their high level of humidity. Because of the humidity there is abundant vegetation and an enormous diversity of animals. With so much vegetation the battle for sunlight is intense enough that lichens, moss and epiphytes envelop any open spaces on tree trunks and branches. Thanks to these plants the forest ia a crisp, cool home to many species of insects, birds, amphibians and mammals. We caught an early 6:00am bus to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
. The rains were keeping everything wet and we hired rubber boots for the walk. The initial reaction was a feeling of entering an enchanted forest where the folk of the faraway tree from Enid Blyton's childhood classic books might have lived. We experienced a beautiful landscape, nonstop birdsongs and lush, wet vegetation. We walked the parts of three trails, the Encantado, Del Bajo and Challenge trail which took us around 4 hours. The highlight for us was when a whole tribe of white faced monkeys swung around in the canopy above us. There were many babies and they made lots of funky monkey noises. We felt very blessed as the people who hired guides with binoculars didn't see this family of cuties, it wa a special display just for us. We had most of the park to ourselves, As we were leaving we spotted hummingbirds coloured metallic green, yellow or silvery blue flapping and buzzing around as they fed on feeding pendants at the entrance to the park. I managed to photograph the birds and the monkeys and record the sounds of streams and waterfalls on my micropohone.
Tried to make some phone calls again, to no avail.
The adventure tour company, Extremo picked us up an hour later for our zip line canopy tour which turned out to be a crazy adventure and more than we expected. We did rappeling and a tarzan swing on top of the 14 zip line cables. I don't think we knew just how high we would be up on the cables or how long they would be. One of the cables was 750 metres long across a huge valley. The cows were dots below us. The height of the cables was between 225ft and 450ft high. We were given a helmet, gloves and a harness. You had a rock climbing type cord clipped onto titanium clips which latched onto a metal pulley that sat on the zip line cable
. You climbed up a platform then jumped off with one hand resting on the cable to use as a brake. You slid down to another platform, sometimes through the canopy at tree height. I took the monkey tied to me. At one point i braked too early and was hanging high above the valley below. One of the guides came out to rescue me. Hanging in mid air was scarier than the zip line itself. We rappelled 30 metres from a tree and then did a tarzan swing where you jumped off a very high platform and free fell until your rope had run out of slack and you were thrown out into the jungle, very high up. This was a crazy experience and alot of people come here to do this because it is the best zip lining in the world. We bought a disk of our photos and i will upload some photos when i stop long enough in an internet room.
On our tour was Contessa, our new dorm mate at the hostel. This girl was extremely manic, fast talking, loads of fun and from Los Angeles. Contessa was absolutely hilarious and had ridiculous amounts of energy. Exhausting to be around though. We spent the night chatting with her and a big gentle giant of a man from The United States, he was a rough looking bikie that looked like he would eat children for dinner but was actually a soft, vegetarian book reader with a nice heart and even offered to cook us dinner.
The road to reach Monteverde was treacherous, full of rocks, craters, tight turns and steep angles but this place was worth the effort. The feel is a little like Montville on the Sunny Coast, the crisp mountain air vibe and much cooler than the lowlands. Zip Lining is by far the craziest adventure activity we have done, madness and fun, a massive rush.