This past weekend our entire group went to Monteverde which is a quaint mountain town about four hours from San Jose. There is one gravel road, lasting about an hour off the main highway, that is the only way to get into town. Monteverde is home to one of five cloud forests in the world; pretty impressive. Everywhere I looked was picture perfect. Outside of my hotel door I could see miles of just foothills, mountain, farms, and in the far off distance the ocean. It was gorgeous.
Saturday morning we all woke up early for a 7 am hike through the cloud forest. Our guide's name was Adrian and he was awesome. He had great stories about hiking and everything that he has seen. We were able to peek inside a hole on the side of a mountain where a giant tarantula lived. Just a few meters down the trail we stopped to try and see a quetzal which is one of the most sacred birds of Central America. It's very rare and has irradescent feathers. We waited about 15 minutes without seeing anything and then out of no where flies in a male and a female. It was unbelievable! The electric feathers against the miriad of greens in the plant life was lovely. I had seen a few in pictures and wasn't that impressed. It wasn't until I saw the quetzal perched on a tree before my very eyes that I understood how magnificent this bird is. After regaining our breath and taking lots of pictures we ventured forward and completed our hike. We went to lunch at this little resturaunt tucked behind trees. It was Ellen's birthday and Linda (the director of MesoAmerica) had arranged for a birthday cake to be served. It was traditional cake from Costa Rica and tasted quite different than the birthday cake I was expecting. The cake tasted like cornbread and the icing was more like a marshmellow fluff. None the less, it was yummy. In the afternoon we went ziplining! We took a ride to the tree tops, climbed tall metal stairs, clipped a harness to a wire, and sped off to the next tower. At times we were more than 500 feet off the ground. It was absolutely breathtaking. I can't find the words to describe how it felt to "fly" above tree tops in a cloud forest. The views were amazing and even though we got pictures, they don't even give half of what the sights actually were like. I will never forget that feeling of being so free. Once on my way across the tree tops a bird flew with me. When I got close to the next tower it spun and fly higher. Amazing.
Sunday we all relaxed on our porch overlooking the valleys. I love that our group is so close that any 16 of us can sit down and have a real conversation, not just surface level talk. We talked about all sorts of things, packed up, and made our way to the bus. We ate lunch in Santa Elena, a nearby small town, and made our way back home.