Monteverde Cloud Forest, Hanging Bridges, and Night Hike
After our time in Arenal, we were off to Monteverde for a visit to the cloud forest! We took a jeep (aka rickety bus) –> boat –> jeep (HA.) from Arenal through the winding, unpaved, slightly treacherous roads of Monteverde.
Our first line of business was a hike through the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. We loaded a bus from our hostel and headed up…and up…and up into the mountains.
I finally understand the term cloud forest. If you sit on our balcony in Monteverde, you can see the clouds roll in and then sit almost idly over the forest while the sky is clear in town. When you’re hiking the trails, it’ll be a moment of openness, then suddenly you’ll be enveloped in the rolling midst of a passing cloud. It’s an unusual feeling (and if you ever come here, bring a rain jacket)!
We hiked the cloud forest trails for a couple of hours, then proceeded to the hanging bridges. Imagine a walkway suspended hundreds of feet over a ravine, which is held in by wire cables from opposite mountain ledges. The views are surreal as you peer over the tops of trees the size of highways and mountains rolling for miles in the distance. I’ve started to take mental pictures of places I want to remember forever, and that made the list.
After our day of hiking, we relaxed for a bit before heading out for another hike…but at night! Our friend Mahmoud from Arenal joined us, and we loaded a bus for the excursion. We met our fellow night hikers, our guide Johnny, and we were off! I was worried because a group the night before only saw ants on their hike – but we got a full show! Our animal sightings consisted of two sleeping toucans, an armadillo, 2 poisonous snakes (side stripe snakes?), a scorpion, a tarantula, and lastly – A SLOTH. We named him Paco the Slotho while he was too high for a good picture, he was awake and moving! I saw his little sloth head, and his little sloth fingers, and his little sloth love just poured down on me. Also, I really like sloths.
Sleep was one of the most glorious rewards for this (long) extremely eventful day!