Today we went on a tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, more well-known and heavily visited then Santa Elena – and there is also a better chance of seeing the Resplendent Quetzal there. Wendy, our bird expert, is very excited! We are too, this bird is amazingly beautiful and not many people get to see it. Our guide is named Melvin and I instantly invented a name for his website: INeedAMelvin.com. I think it’s a cultural thing . . .
I can’t say enough about these cloud forests, they are so beautiful and hold an amazing variety of life. About 100 varieties of orchids alone! Monteverde has at least 20 times more people today than we saw yesterday at Santa Elena; it’s at a lower elevation and on the opposite (Pacific) side of the continental divide, so the plants and birds are slightly different. It’s stunning! An earlier tour group saw a female Quetzal so our guide took us to a spot where he thought the male would show up – and we waited for about 30 minutes, full of hope! But alas, it was not to be and eventually we moved on down the trail. Many more birds here than yesterday! Eventually, Melvin takes us down a different trail where he immediately declared: “I can smell a Quetzal!” I’m not sure if he was serious or not, but within 10 minutes he has spied a male Quetzal about 60 feet up some huge, epiphyte-covered tree, roosting on a branch and looking stunningly gorgeous! Melvin had a very nice telescope so we all got a good, close-up view of this so-beautiful bird. That Mother Nature! Plus Doug got some very good photos, which he will post just as soon as we have time to upload them . . . we are very busy on this vacation! You can tell I’m having trouble keeping up on this blog – today is Friday and I’m just getting to writing Wednesday’s adventures!
In the afternoon, Doug, Judie and I went to the Selvatura Park to walk on the hanging bridges, so-called because they are long bridges over gorges in the cloud forest. So you can actually look down on the forest from above it. Spectacular! They have zip-lines here so you can actually zip over the top of the trees if you dare, but I sure don’t! Yikes, they are 200 feet or more in the air. But the people who are brave enough to step off that platform sure seem to be having fun! There are 8 bridges to cross in this park, varying from about 200 feet to over 500 long over the gorges. They are made of steel, but if there are other people on it, it shakes and rattles – and did I say the bottom is mesh so you can see straight down? But the views are totally indescribable and breath-taking! We spent hours here and loved every minute. I think this is my favorite experience of the trip so far.
To celebrate our wonderful day, we headed back into town for another delicious seafood dinner at Marquesa (the same dinner place we went to Monday night), so Mitch and Wendy can experience those fantastic shrimp! This time we added hearts of palm salad to the mix (fresh hearts of palm, grown just over the mountain!). Home to bed. We love this place. Pura vida!