Aug 27, 2012

Honeymoon to Costa Rica (Monteverde, Part 1)

We got up early Wednesday morning to head to Monteverde from Arenal (read about Arenal here). What we didn't realize is that we would be traveling a bit unconventionally, though. See, we figured we'd take a van there, just like we had from San Jose to Arenal. So when a van showed up to pick us up at our hotel, we had no hesitations. Twenty minutes later, though, when it stopped on the side of the road, we realized how we were really getting there. By boat. We later learned that this shaved about three hours off of the normal route, since we went through Lake Arenal (the largest man-made lake in the world, apparently) instead of around it.

After the boat ride, we drove for about 2.5 more hours to Monteverde. Why so long? Because we maybe went about 15 miles per hour the entire way there -- the roads were SO bumpy, and unpaved, that you couldn't go any faster. It was long, but not too bad. John and I were happy to finally arrive and get settled. The first night there, we decided to take a night walk. It was pretty amazing, and we saw so many different animals that night. It did end up raining most of the time (July is the rainy season in Costa Rica), so that was a bummer, but we saw snakes, frogs, toads, leaf-cutter ants, tarantulas, scorpions, and more. It was pretty amazing!

The next morning, we went on another nature walk, this time in the cloud forest. When we first met up, our guide decided to take us to the hummingbird section. There, tons of hummingbirds were buzzing around waiting for breakfast. Because John and I were wearing our red rain-jackets (again, it was rainy season), the hummingbirds were instantly attracted to us. One even landed on John's hands! It was amazing to see all the variety of species they have there!

After we left the hummingbird gardens, we headed into the forest. It's amazing to see the ancient trees inside the darkness, and we were fortunate to see some amazing animals. One interesting thing we saw was a wasp who had fungus growing out of its brain. The fungus attaches itself to the insect, and grows in their skulls -- it even controls them for a while. Then, the wasp gets paralyzed and ultimately dies. There's a picture below.

While we hiked, we saw some amazing things. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to grab SUPER pictures of anything, so I tried to just capture our surroundings instead.

not sure why this won't size right....oh well.
Finally we made it to our destination - a gorgeous waterfall in the middle of nowhere. Of course, we stopped to get a few pics before heading back.

On the hike back, we got word that there were some monkeys in the trees. We were so excited, as we hadn't been able to see any yet! Once we finally found the pack, I decided to just enjoy watching them instead of trying to get some pictures. They were amazing to watch - you could see them jumping from tree to tree, and knowing that they were wild animals made it that much better! I think everyone was pretty amazing, and we watched them until they all roamed away.

It was definitely an exciting day! But it wasn't over yet! Stay tuned for Part 2 of Monteverde!

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