Wandering the Treetops

Saturday morning we discovered there was no hot water.  The cool mountain air was accompanied by freezing cold water that made showering an affair reminiscent of Pipi Camp, though not quite as bad.  After rinsing all the shampoo out of my hair and waiting for the resultant brain freeze to go away, I went out to the dining room where they served us pancakes or eggs and toast for breakfast.

After quickly eating, we all got in the shuttles sent from Selvatura Park and headed out for that day’s main activity.  The first stop when we got to the park (other than the bathroom that is) was the hummingbird garden.  There were hundreds of humming birds, of many different varieties flying everywhere.  They would zip right by you, drinking from feeders and zooming back into the forest or to a different feeder with less competition.  I’ve never seen so many humming birds in my life, it was really cool.

We then set out on the leisurely hike/walk Fernando had planned for us.  It was basically a giant loop around the park but it included 8 different bridges across the cloud forest canopy.  According to the park:

Selvatura’s Treetop Walkways is a 1.9 mile (approximately 3 kilometer) trail that crosses through Monteverde’s Cloud Forest . Here our visitors will walk on eight different bridges with various lengths ranging between 150 feet ( 50 meters ) up to 510 feet ( 170 meters ) and altitudes ranging between 36 feet ( 12 meters ) up to 180 feet ( 60 meters ).

One of the many long bridges

It was really cool.  Some people had issues with the height in some places but the bridges were pretty sturdy (though they did move) and everyone made it through the whole hike fine.  They said there was an opportunity to see the Resplendent Quetzal from one or two of the bridges, but we never saw any.

When we were through hiking, wandering, and collecting souvenirs and gifts, we took a shuttle back into the main part of town.  The majority of the town consisted of one street (I’m telling you, this place feels more and more like home every day) but we soon found a good place to eat that would give us a group discount.

Our waiter at Don Juan’s was really helpful.  He gave us lots of information of things to do and places to go in the area and we were happy to find that it matched what our guide Fernando had mentioned.  When we finished eating, a small group of us wandered the town a little bit more before heading back to the hotel.  I then took a quick nap before we met at 4:45pm at the hotel to go on a night hike through the forest.

We hiked through the BEN Reserve (Bosque Eterno de los Ninos)

The “hike” wasn’t amazing.  We saw some cool tarantulas and sleeping birds, along with a lot of rainforesty plants (some of the strangle figs were amazingly ginormous) and firefly larvae but it wasn’t much more than a walk in the dark with flashlights [remind me later to recount the story of a REAL night hike through the rainforest in New Zealand with two young kids, no flashlights, and lots of slippery slopes].  Our guide Juliano was nice and very informative though, I heard some of the other guides weren’t very good (we had to split into 3 groups).

As soon as everyone was finished with the hike, we all piled back on the bus to go to dinner at the Tree House.  As we entered the bus however, we realized some of the people who had gotten on before us had let in a giant hornet, which was hiding in the lights along the ceiling.  It had to be at least 3 or 4 inches long and Fernando had to push it and chase it down the lights from the back of the bus toward the door trying to get it out.  Eventually, he succeeded and we got it out without anyone getting hurt or stung.

The Tree House where we ate dinner was an interesting place.  I really liked the ambiance; it was a really nice environment.  We all ate at tables made from polished tree stumps while listening to live music in the tree top.  Everyone was exhausted but the food was good and we got a couple of pieces of cake for Alex and Danielle.  Their birthday was coming up so we all sang to them and gave them funny party hats to wear.

After returning to the hotel, about half of our group went out to Bar Amigos in town but most of us were exhausted from the day’s activities.  Tyler claimed to have figured out how to work the shower to get hot water but his “special trick” didn’t work when I tried it.  I just took another cold shower in the morning before we headed out to go horseback riding.

They're ready to ride

We all got up early and took our bus to these stables where we signed a rather questionable waiver (it was just a list of your name and signature, no information), put on helmets, and were paired with horses.  I had the most riding experience out of the group (other than maybe Fernando) and so was paired with a horse named Dorado.   He was a nice horse who loved to be at the head of the line and jumped at any opportunity to trot quickly across open fields (which is why they gave him to a more experienced rider).  I really enjoyed my time with him though it made me miss my old Arabian gelding Bass (short for Ambassador).  Everyone had a fun time and we were soon on the road back to San Jose.

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Categories: Costa Rica 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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