We are in Costa Rica’s Cloud forest. The nine of us and three others were standing out side looking at a map while the guide explained the route we would be taking. He said that the area we would be hiking in was part of a huge conservation park known as The Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Tourists are allowed to hike in only a little bit of the park. The guide said that The Children’s Rainforest was started when a group of kids from Sweden raised awareness about the fact that Costa Rica’s Rainforests were disappearing. They wanted to raise money to buy a part of the rainforest and turn it into a conservation park. Their message spread and more money was raised until over 2000 hectares became The Children’s Eternal Rainforest. The guide told us this as he walked us down the path towards the jungle. We were going on a night hike to see the nocturnal animals. At first we didn’t see much (some spiders, a katydid, crickets) but then the guide pointed out a tiny frog sitting on a leaf. The frog was about the size if my thumb nail. Then the guide cautioned all the kids to stand back while he poked a stick down a hole. He then invited us to bend down one by one to see what was in the hole. It was an orange-kneed tarantula. After that we saw an Emerald Toucanet sleeping in the trees.
We found out that our tickets for the night hike were valid the next morning as well so we decided to take a quick walk on one of the trails. The minute we stepped out of the car we were showered with guava bits. We looked up, and there were White Faced Capuchin Monkeys in the tree right overhead!
The next thing we saw was a Blue Crowned Motmot.
We saw some nice butterflies including the AMAZING Blue Morpho. There were some bugs and spiders but nothing much. We were nearing the end of our hike when my mum spotted a Toucan in the tree. It flew away just then but we saw where it landed. Everyone got a good look a it. It turned out to be a Keel Billed Toucan. Just then a large branch snapped and the toucan flew away for good. The monkeys were back! They had a baby with them. It seemed preocupied with taking every leaf it could reach and sticking them in it’s mouth, then spitting them out and watching them spiral to the ground.
Today is our last full day here in Monteverde and we were going to go on one last hike. We started out and the first thing we saw was a Blue Morpho. We walked on. After hearing some bird calles, but not finding their sources we spotted an Agouti, which kind of looks like a fat Guinea Pig only a little bigger. Tayo and Zaylie had gone ahead and I was about to duck under the branch hanging over the path to follow, when I suddenly saw that what appeared to be leaves on the tree was actually a bright green snake.
I screamed and leaped back. Then everybody crowded around to see. The snake slowly lifted it’s head, and flicked it’ s tongue out a couple times. Then it settled again.
When we got to the front desk we identified it as a Side-Striped Palm Pit-viper. The person at the front desk was quite excited and called some other people to look. He said that it was the first Side Striped Pitviper that had been seen in years.
-Jet, Monteverde, Costa Ricq