Jeep-boat-jeep or rather minibus-boat-minibus took us on a wet Monday morning across from La Fortuna to Monteverde. The rain didn't let up much in Monteverde either but we still had a fantastic time.
That evening we went on a night tour of Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reseve and it spat for most of our tour but none of us noticed because we were too busy wildlife spotting. Beore we even entered the forest our guide showed us a huge tarantula in its hole and a pair of birds that go to bed in their nest dead on 6pm every evening.
You could set your clock by this bird
Within the forest we saw a toucanete, two side-striped pit vipers, another tarantula, a massive leaf-cutter ants' nest, white nosed coatis (bit like racoons), sloths - a definite highlight, the english girl spotted a tiny frog and I spotted a kinkajou up in a tree (a honey bear). The english girl and I also saw the back end of an armadillo with the guide but I didn't really know what I was seeing until it was gone. It was amazing we saw so much given the weather.
Our first proper glimpse of a sloth
My blurred snap of the Kinakajou
The following day we didn't have half as much luck. The rain was much heavier and as we walked around the cloud forest on a morning tour we saw diddly squat really. Our guide was very knowledgeable on the fauna, the forest and the history of the area which made the walk still very interesting but in terms of wildlife it was very sparse. We saw a few birds, I found a bug posing as a leaf, there were lots of millipedes crossing the pathway and the aussie girl found another tiny frog but not even the monkeys were out to play.
We spent all morning trying not to stand on these millipedes
Insect disguised as a leaf (centre)
In the afternoon we got some shelter in a butterfly garden and ranario (frogs and toads). I went a bit snap happy but I've tried to cut down on numbers for the entry. There's a few more in the photo gallery.
Close up, their heads are so alien looking
I made a friend
Hanging around (Mexican Tree Frog)
I'm watching you (Red Eyed Leaf Frog)
On our final day in Monteverde we only wanted to do one thing so we waited to try and time it right with the weather. Of course Murphy's law wouldn't allow that so we managed to pick the worst hour and a half of the whole day instead. As we arrived at Selvatura Park the heavens opened. It was a torrential downpour and the activity we were doing was zip-lining through the canopy! As you can imagine, water makes everything that bit faster and the brakes work, well they didn't really work, so on the ones where you had so slow yourself down before the end platforms, we didn't do so well! It was amazing though!! There was one line that was 1km long, high above the trees. The wind was blowing me sideways, the rain was pummeling my face like hail stones but the view was breath-taking and I think the extreme weather just added to the experience. If you can't beat it, embrace it! (cheesy!)
For the last zip line we had to go in pairs. Chris and I went together with me in front, his legs around my waist. The safety guide explained what we had to do, I had to be the eyes and Chris would have to brake for both of us. As soon as I could see the guide at the other end signalling to start breaking I had to shout to Chris and he had to break as hard as he possibly could. The guide couldn't stress this enough. I was terrified as we lauched off the platorm, not that I don't trust Chris but with the rain so fierce and the mist I couldn't see anything more than about 20m in front of me so how was I see the guide?! It was incredible though and as we came down into the trees we saw the guide but he kept signalling don't brake. Turned out it had a brake system and we didn't need to do anything, they were just building it up, making it a bit more scary!
The final piece of the canopy tour was the tarzan swing. You drop off a platform for so many metres before the rope catches and you swing back and forth. You seem to get far too close to the ground before you feel the rope tug! I made a weird little ahhggh noise, Chris opened his mouth but nothing came out but the funniest was the aussie girl who was so terrified once she'd jumped that she wouldn't take her head out of her hands and open her eyes until her feet were firmly on the ground again!
Of course the rain stopped as soon as we got back to the reception of the park and then it was a lovely bright afternoon! We still had a great time, there's just not much photographic evidence.
There are lots more pictures in the gallery!