Monteverde Cloud Forrest: March Break Travel Journal Post #3
After a bumpy bus ride, filled with beautiful views of vivid great mountains and valleys (and a pause for some coati crossing the street) on Thursday, we arrived in the Monteverde cloud forest. We unpacked and set out around 5pm for our night hike through the ‘Children’s Eternal Forest’. Everyone was split into three groups with our own guides and we started off, ready to explore the depths of the forest. The deeper we got into the rain forest the darker it got, with the glowing orange sunset peeking through the increasingly dense trees. The further we walked the more sounds we heard, from the sound of crickets to the chirp of the kill bill toucan, of fruit loops fame. With each of our guides’ animal calls we also heard a growling response from the hidden, but not so distant, howler monkeys.
Between our three groups we saw many different animals, plants, and insects crawling through the forest. The list includes: frogs, tarantulas, scorpions, clicking beetles, army ants, butterflies, sleeping birds, strangle-fig trees, and more. When we reached the furthest depth of our hike the group turned off all the flashlights and soaked in the sounds of the forest and the truest dark. With the lights of the moon and stars hidden by the trees, we could see different colours of fireflies zipping about in a valley, hidden from the wind. After our fascinating venture into the forest we returned for a late supper and early bedtime, to rest up for our next day of volunteering.
On Friday we returned to our community service duties at Life Monteverde, a farm focused on promoting sustainability socially, economically, and ecologically. Our morning started with a lesson of the various aspects of sustainability practiced at the farm, followed by a tour of the farm. We met and fed baby goats, visited the pigs, explored the garden, and toured the coffee and bean plants. Everyone regrouped to enjoyed a delicious lunch, prepared using mainly ingredients found right there on the farm. After our meal we set out, breaking into three groups to work on some different projects around the farm. One group got started by splitting and replanting some long grass, clearing water lillies, and taking the excess plant parts to feed the goats and pigs. The next gathered some baby trees and each student planted one, contributing the Life Monteverde’s reforestation project. The final group planted beans, witness first hand their symbiotic relationship with the coffee beans.
Our time at the farm ended with a tour and lesson on the different ways their coffee beans are dried and roasted, followed by a coffee tasting. We weren’t all accurate in guessing which roast was which by taste, though we certainly enjoyed trying! After returning to the Monteverde Country Lodge, about half the group set out to explore the cafes and shops of the town. They enjoyed their stop at the ‘Tree House’, which, as the name suggests, is a café built around the tree that grows straight through the middle. Another group set out to explore after supper, enjoying some evening snacks in the sleepy cloud forest town.
It’s now Saturday morning and we’re getting ready to head to our last day of volunteering, and visiting the last town on our list. Our next stop is spending some time with the children of Santa Cruz Kids and enjoying some sun in Playas del Coco.