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Cloud forest and zip-lining!

Written on: Monday June 6th, 2011

A journal entry from: Costa Rica 2011

I spent the last few days in Santa Elena, a small town between the Monteverde and Santa Elene Cloud Forest Reserves.  

On Saturday, I travelled with Abby on the "van-boat-van" transport from La Fortuna across Laguna Arenal (Lake Arenal) to Santa Elena.  It was quite a lovely trip, despite the Monteverde side of the van ride being quite bumpy, hilly, and winding.  We stayed at the Pension Santa Elena, which is conveniently located at the very point the bus stops.  The staff at the hostel were extremely friendly and helpful -- truly the best experience I have had so far in Costa Rica.

Saturday evening was spent getting oriented in the town, with no real activities.  I did play Set with Abby and Rory, another traveller from Wyoming.  Neither of them had played before, and I won quite handily.  But it was fun teaching them the game.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early to get the shuttle to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest, since we had booked a 7:30 am tour.  We were supposed to be picked up at 6:30.  But by 6:50, the shuttle hadn't arrived.  At this point, the man at the hostel realized he had forgot to call the shuttle for us.  So he called us a taxi and paid our fare to the cloud forest.  It was really very nice!

We arrived in plenty of time and had a wonderful tour.  Besides myself and Abby, there was only one older coulpe from Florida on our tour.  The guide was quite good at explaining the wildlife, especially hearing and spotting birds.  It was good that he had a telescope, so that we could see the birds and other items up close.  We saw glass butterflies, a hive of stingless bees, black turkeys, and several other birds.  We heard Queztals, the rare bird everyone wants to see in Costa Rica, but we weren't able to see them.

After the tour, we headed back to our hostel.  In the evening, Abby started a 1000 piece puzzle of Gondolas in Venice.  Rory and I both came over to help her.  We worked on it for a few hours that evening, but then headed off to bed.

Monday morning was another early day (quite a trend developing here!).  I was picked up at 6:30 to go zip-lining with Extremo.  Abby had planned to go, but she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay behind and sleep.  I was in a group of about 8 people, mostly from the US.  I was really nervous before going, because I didn't know what to expect.  After I started on the first zip line, I relaxed, because it was not as scary as I had feared.  In addition to 12 regular zip lines, we also did a vertical drop, tarzan swing, and Superman.  The scariest part was the start of the tarzan swing, when the guide pushes you off the platform and you have a bit of a free fall before the rope becomes taut.  I'll admit I screamed during the drop, but it was loads of fun after the first few seconds!

The tour was over and I was back at the hostel before lunch time.  The afternoon was spent relaxing, and getting organized for the next leg of the journey.  Luckily, the bookstore across from the hostel did laundry (weird, I know), so I was able to get clean clothes!  I spent a few hours finishing the puzzle, with a little help from Abby, Rory, and a couple from Denmark.  It was pretty satisfying to finish it, except there were 7 pieces missing.