After a few languorous days on Costa Rica’s Papagayo Bay at the Occidental Grand Papagayo, I decided to check out the touted eco-experiences of the interior and headed to the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest. I chose a private excursion booked via highly rated Issys Tours. My guide, Eric, was very knowledgeable with a good command of English and a deadly eye for spotting rare birds and wildlife. The adventurous can do a one kilometer long zip line through the forest and other activities, but I chose simply to walk for several hours through the lush forest. Periodic suspension bridges take visitors across ravines right over the forest canopy. During one such traverse Eric’s keen eyes spotted a very rare Emerald Toucanet, a smaller and greener version of the species. I also managed to snap a photo of the rare Blue Dracnis scoffing down a berry at the top of a tree.
The forest has a cool collection of Costa Rica’s reptilian denizens including the dreaded Fer-de-Lance snake, which, despite rumors to the contrary, does not chase people. It is however deadly poisonous and you need to get anti-venom within four hours. If you get it within 12 hours you may live provided the bite is located on a limb that can be amputated. I also got a close up look at a small frog, white and dotted with green spots that carries curare in its skin and makes dandy dart poison. Curare stops you from breathing while you remain perfectly conscious, not a pleasant way to go so wash your hands if you handle one of these cuties.
Monteverde was settled by Quakers from Alabama in the 1950’s who did not wish to participate in the U.S. military. They’ve gone into farming and make excellent cheese. They are happy to give guests a tour of their operation.
For those who want to spend a little more time “in the clouds” don’t look any further than the Hidden Canopy Treehouses Boutique Hotel. Boasting names like “Eden” and “Neverland” the chalets are actually right in the forest canopy, albeit on stilts to avoid actually harming trees. Guests who don’t want wild monkeys joining them in bed in the morning are advised to keep the door to the balcony shut. The luxurious chalets allow guests to completely immerse themselves in the cloud forest with showers, hot tubs and bedrooms offering 180 to 270 degree views.
I enjoyed touring the hotel but next time I intend to stay a few days!
A Gallery Of Images From The Trip
Click The Thumbnails For Full Size Images
Hidden Canopy Treehouses Boutique Hotel
Camino Sky Trek, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Tel (011 506) 2645 5447; Fax (011 506) 2645 9952
All Photos Are © George Burden – All Rights Reserved