Monteverde and Santa Elena: Cloud Forest of Costa Rica
Green trees and birds all around, this area of Costa Rica is a great starting point for any adventure in Costa Rica.
Monteverde and Santa Elena are cloud forest reserves with a town in Santa Elena offering a large amount of zip lining opportunities – including the longest zip line in Latin America.
After my days of buses through various countries I arrived and organised a zip lining tour to get me started. Despite my fear of heights I managed all 19 lines and even the ‘Tarzan Swing’ where you drop from a platform and swing out. There was one line that I (and a few others) got stuck on, so suspended up around 200m on the longest line of 1590m, someone had to come out to drag me along to the end. Good fun!
Fig and Bridge trees
After meeting a couple of fellow Kiwi’s at the hostel, we decided to venture out to the 500 year old fig tree that they climbed up inside (fear of heights stopped me on this one). On the way back we also checked out (and got a tad lost) the bridge tree – a tree with roots that have formed a bridge. Both were pretty incredible sights and I even saw a toucan in the wild finally!
Santa Elena National Park
While you’re in this area you can’t leave without visiting one of the national parks. Monteverde is a bit bigger, busier and more expensive, so I opted for Santa Elena National Park instead. While it is very difficult to see any animals without a guide, it is still a lovely walk through the forest.
I took the longest route and spent most of the time completely on my own with my thoughts and the lovely songs of birds. The birds are constantly singing, but the sounds change from tree to tree.
It’s a lovely cloud forest of various trees and plants, often with strange roots and shapes of trunks. Also plenty of ferns to remind me of New Zealand forest!
Near my hostel in Santa Elena village was a lovely sloth in the tree. One evening she decided to move trees and managed to get everyone’s attention as she crossed two lots of power lines and two roads to a new tree.