Awaking the next morning, Monteverde was exactly what a mountain lodge would be: chilly, dark, and wonderful. Plus, there was the most beautifully colored bird blocking the path outside of our rooms, without a care in the world but the scrumptious morsel he was trying to eat.
Karen and I sent postcards to loved ones back home as we made our way out with the group to our first nature walk of the day within Monteverde’s cloud forest. We moseyed along with Papa Carlos as he navigated us through the forest pointing out various flora and making bird calls. At this point, we were all pretty much over looking for birds. If you’ve seen one sparrow, you’ve seen them all.
Before long, we came to a hanging bridge. Brightly colored and so high we couldn’t see the ground, we hopped on to get to the other side. But not before Carlos could show us some of the “sexier” flowers.
When we returned to the start of the trail, we came across a familiar looking animal, though we’d never quite seen anything like it before. Behold, a coati.
These little rascals are a cousin to the raccoon and they have the same behavior of scrounging through trash and whatever else they can get into. According to the locals we talked to, these are quite smelly creatures and can be rather mean. They sure are awfully cute little buggers though. Karen, Bliss, and I decided to play a little prank on the Biddies (they were just so gullible). We told them that the locals called this animal “la chancla feroz” which roughly translates to the ferocious flip-flop. We even got some of the vendors persuading the Biddies that it was true. We about died laughing when they finally believed us. You gotta have a little fun.
Before loading back in the van, we stopped to see the hummingbird farm and we weren’t disappointed.
Dozens of feeders had been set up and you could feel the wind as the tiny birds zoomed past our heads ready to get another sip of the sweet liquid. I never knew there were so many different types of hummingbirds and in a rainbow of colors. They were green and blue, but my favorite was the royal purple. This was the hardest hummingbird to snap a photo of and clearly the dominant of all the others. The pictures don’t do these birds justice for the shimmer to their feathers and the speed in which they flitted from feeder to feeder was fascinating.
With the day warming up and the women craving ice cream, Carlos took us to the Monteverde Cheese Factory where we got to watch how the fresh cheese that we had been eating for days was made.
The factory also specialized in other dairy products—hence the ice cream—and we eagerly ordered frozen cones in various flavors. Unfortunately, when it came time to pay, there was some confusion and the cashier tried to double charge Bliss and I. We explained the situation, that she had taken both of our payments, but she wouldn’t have it. Luckily, Papa Carlos sorted the whole thing out, but it still left a bad taste in our mouths.
We did another short nature walk when we returned to the lodge and saw another coati. This one was a little more at ease in front of the camera.
The best and most amazing part of our second day in Monteverde was checking off item #13 on my 30-Before-30 list: zip-line.
At Selvatura Adventure Park, the group decided to split up. I had never zip-lined before and I couldn’t wait to hook up and fly through the air. Karen and one of the Biddies had been before and they were eager to go again. Bliss and the other Biddy stayed behind with Papa Carlos to walk the hanging bridges over the canopy.
We hiked to our first line, received a few words of instruction, and then put our trust in the cable as we left the platform with nothing beneath us but the ground (which we couldn’t see). With the wind in my face and a ridiculous smile smeared across it, I couldn’t believe I was finally doing it. It was incredible.
We conquered fifteen cables that day, but none of us was prepared for the challenge that awaited us before the last cable: the Tarzan swing.
And it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Karen and I were all for it and hiked right on up the ten-meter platform to get strapped in. The great thing about the Tarzan swing was the fact that they didn’t tell us about it until we were right there in front of it. There was no time to get psyched out or stress about it as we were zip-lining. It was presented and we went for it.
I’ve done a lot of thrill-seeking over the years. I’ve jumped out of a plane twice, I’ve gone on the crazy roller coasters, but leaping off a platform was not something I was expecting. I will be the first to tell you that a scream did escape my mouth as the guide gently pushed me off the ledge and I was in free fall until the rope caught. I’m glad I did it though and even more so that the Biddy, who swore that she would poop her pants if she did it, soon climbed up there and took the swing for herself. At over 50, she could have passed for Tarzan’s Jane. We were a wild bunch.
When we got back to the lobby, the rest of our party hadn’t returned so we hung out with the giant plants, saw another coati, and watched the fog roll in.
And before we knew it, another day was over.