Part 2 - Our “Pura Vida” Costa Rican Experiences!
My “Come with Me” trip to Costa Rica continues! And I pick up Part 2 of our “Pura Vida” Costa Rican experience at the end of the fourth day of our journey. We stayed in Monteverde, a small town in the mountain ranges of Costa Rica and a major destination for ecotourism in the country. This region is 3 hours from San Jose. It is one of our top recommended destinations in Costa Rica.
Monteverde is the best place to experience a cloud forest. The cloud forests got their name because you will see a thin veil of clouds below the canopy. The clouds eventually dissipate into the water on the leaves and drip down, watering the ecosystem. It is breathtaking to see from above. The continuation of my report takes into the cloud forest to tour the famous hanging bridges and zipline tour for the adventurous in our group!
First 1/2 of Day Five: The Cloud Forest
After breakfast at El Establo, we drove 20 minutes to Selvatura Park, located in the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range. We broke into two groups. One group explored the hanging bridges, and our group put on our rain gear and headed to the trail to climb the routes and fly through the canopy above the beautiful trees—a view of the cloud forest canopy in Monteverde, Costa Rica. There is an incredible diversity of epiphytic plants growing on the branches of the trees, which in turn provide a habitat for a variety of animals. There were 13 ziplines in all, and the final one carried you over one kilometer atop the tree canopy! Click here to see me flying through the forest.
Second 1/2 of Day Five: The Cloud Forest
After the thrilling zipline, we had lunch at the park and shared stories of the longest zip line in the world. We then explored the world’s most extensive butterfly gardens, a gallery containing more than 100 beautiful hummingbirds with a friendly Macaw who was part of the bird rescue program to return these majestic birds to the wild. Then, we joined Juan Carlos, our expert tour guide, to experience the “Hanging Bridges” with a walking tour. You gain a different perspective of the cloud forest’s lush ecosystem as you walk through the trees and learn about the vegetation, insects, birds, and mammals that provide fresh and clean water to all of us.
Days Six and Seven: Arenal Volcano and the Hot Springs
The next part of our journey took us to the Arenal Volcano region. As we crossed the beautiful mountainous landscapes to Arenal, we saw spectacular views of the famous volcano along the way. Our itinerary included a cruise on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s most prominent and vital lake, to break up the drive. While pulling into our next hotel, Julio, our bus driver, spotted a two-toed sloth, a highlight of our trip!
Before dinner on the sixth day, we got to know the Costa Rican culture a bit through experiencing a cooking demonstration featuring local ingredients.
We explored the Cano Negro area on a riverboat trip on day seven. The 20,000 acres are home to the most extensive viewable collection of indigenous wildlife in all of Costa Rica. We spotted caimans, river otters, sloths, monkeys, turtles, exotic birds, and rare butterflies. Later in the day, some went to the hot springs, while others visited the spa for a relaxing massage.
Days Eight and Nine: Return to San Jose and Conservation Efforts
We participated in a give-back ceremony on our last full day before our departure. During the ride back to San Jose, we uncover the importance of conservation in Costa Rica at a stop at a tree nursery. Our guide, Adam, shared information about indigenous trees and Monteverde’s reforestation efforts Costa Ricans are proud of their conservation efforts.
Adam, our arborist, led our tree planting project during our itinerary tour. By the time we met up with him, he had already prepared the spot and indigenous tree for us to plant. He explained why the native trees are vital to the ecosystem and why removing the foreign trees brought from other countries caused harm to the environment.
Are you ready for your next meaningful moments while traveling? Contact us so we can suggest a project during your next trip! The itinerary serves as an important conservation project to interact with locals in heart-filling travel.