Saturday, November 27, 2010


The tourist visas we received when we arrived in Nicaragua only gave us 90 days and until we apply for residency we'll have to cross the border into Costa Rica to get another 90 days when we cross back. This time we decided to take a few days and see some of Costa Rica's famed natural parks -- specifically the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.

It took us about a day to cross the border and make our way up to Monteverde. The park is super-touristed (at least during the dry season) but somewhat difficult to reach on public transportation. Supposedly this is to protect the reserve by making it harder for tourists to day-trip up from the beach. Anyway, the cloud forest is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and since we came in the off-season we mostly had the trails to ourselves.

Here's Quinn setting off down the trails.

Capuchin monkeys visited us at our hotel.

The cloud forest felt to me like a cross between a low-land tropical rainforest (like in the Amazon) and the misty coastal redwoods of California. Although we didn't see many mega-fauna, every tree was covered in moss and epiphytes and every plant seemed like it could be its own species. Everywhere you turned your head your eyes took in tremendous levels of visual detail and living abundance. A one point we actually disturbed a rabble (or some other collective noun) of giant butterflies. Photos just don't do it justice.
Also, it turns out that its pretty wet in the cloud forest. We got soaked, which was kind of cool since it was the first time we had felt cold in months. Unfortunately, the rain finally finished off our poor, abused camera, so we don't have pictures after the first day. In addition to hiking we also did a canopy tour, although the kind where you walk along bridges through the treetops, not the kind with zip cords and helmets and adrenaline. (For an example, check out this photo from flickr.)

The three days we spent there seemed far too few to really appreciate how beautiful it is. Monteverde is also home to a group of American Quakers who settled there in the 1950s to avoid the Korean War draft, and who were also instrumental in the far-sighted plan to protect the forest in a nature reserve.

No comments:

Post a Comment