My first howler
I've been fortunate enough to see apes and monleys in the wild in Asia, but never before had I seen a New World primate (other than humans) outside of a zoo. On the drive from San Jose to Monteverde our peerless driver, Jorge, spotted a troop of howler monkeys far up in the treetops along the left side of the highway. We stopped and got out of the van to gawk at the monkeys. We slowed traffic and got some curses from other drivers who were probably late for their Christmas dinner. I paid them no heed because I was excited at seeing my first American monkeys.
The Hummingbird Gardens at Monteverde
After a good walk through the cloud forest, don't rush home and neglect the fabulous little hummingbird garden. The park has set out about a dozen feeders about 100 yards from the main parking lot. Like anyone else, a hummingbird is not going to pass up a free lunch so at any time there is likely to be a score or more hummingbirds flitting to and fro. Gulping down free syrup and engaging in little hummingbird squabbles.
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Sky Walk is a combination of trails and suspension bridges built in the cloud forest. It was raining when we did it for a full experience. It costs aroud $15 per person and the walk lasts around 2 hours. You cross 7-8 bridges.No animals again, except for hummingbirds...
See my travelogue for more info and photos.
- Hiking and Walking
Serpentario, Ranario, Butterfly Garden
Out of these 3 I found Serpentario (Snakes and lizards) the most impressive exhibition. The other two, especially butterfly garden, were kind of disappointing as we did not see enough interesting species to make our $8 entrance fee well spent.
- Road Trip
maybe I should have put this tip under off the beaten path or under shopping but if I think of natilla, a yummy sort of cheese, similar in texture to our mascarpone but not so fat and with a stronger taste... my description doesn't do justice to it... anyway thinking of it, it's not so wrong to put this tip here ;-)...
This place is the socalled Lechería, a cheese factory where you can buy fresh cheese and ice cream and from the shop through a big window you can have a look inside the factory at the cheese processing.
It closes at 4 p.m.
At the Jardín de las Mariposas ( the Monteverde Butterfly Garden) they didn't showed me the promised more than 50 species of local butterflies but it was worth the visit anyway...
I don't know if they have a permanent show but when I was there, was taking place a project of a U.S. study on local spiders and its arachnids relatives of which I got a really enlightning presentation...
At the end of the guided tour, you are showed a nest and described the life of the Leafcutter ant...
the Reserva Bosque Nuboso is a Cloud Forest Biological Reserve where for the entrance fee of 8 US $ you can walk one of or all these trails: Youth Challenge 0f 1.4 km, Del Bajo of 2.6 km, Encantado of 3.4 km, Caño Negro of 4.5 km.
I chose the 3rd for its name in reality ;-) but the lady at the ticket counter seemed to approve my choice...
They also offer guided tours but I cannot say for how much as I'm stubborn ;-) and I like to walk by myself... well in reality I had my personal guide... but not an official one of the reserve...
And if you don't want to be disappointed, don't expect mammals, they don't like tourists so much and then you could be double happy when you spot a sloth, up and very far on a tree but... I bother you with it in my best memory of this page...
sky walk in the forest
This is a serene alternative to the various zip-wire tour. Seven suspension bridges stretch high across valleys along a circular trail winding 3.5 km through a 228-hectare private reserve.
Gazing down through green layers of cloud forest from the bridges, birders can see their quarry darth beneath them.
Also check out the butterfly garden and the hummingbird gallery near the entrance..
night walk tour
...I was running to the already booked night walk tour in the hidden valley which luckily is just a few hundred meters from the Jardín de las mariposas.
If you haven't a car of your own, a shuttle bus pick you up at yor hotel for a really worth price (500 colones = US$ 1,35), so worth that I had booked it too when the visit to the Jardín hadn't been thought yet and they were so nice not to make me pay for the service in spite I didn't succeed to advice them not to go to my hotel as I was already on site...
As my guide was an apprentice, I got him as a personal guide: his goodwill was praiseworthy and he made really his best in the nasty wind which was keeping mammals in their hideouts... an advice: wait for a not windy night to join this walk...
Anyway the guide spotted a toucan sleeping on a branch, various tarantulas - one in my pic - lots of small insects, an hollow tree where I coud enter too and which is sometimes used by mamals as an hideout and he was so willing to be a good guide but maybe also a little bit forgetful ;-), that asked permission to read his notes when described the bananas and the coffee plants...
They provide you the necessary flashlight and you just need normal walking shoes as you go mainly through paths and not particularly uneven ground, only better to have closed shoes and I was said it could be rainy sometimes so be ready for it.
The stray dogs in this city are the best! Short little compact things who are extremely friendly and always happy for a pet! Try one out!
Hike The Forest
Admission is only by groups and you must use a guide. There are lots of snakes you will pass so just stay with the guide and you will have lots of safe fun.