A Day in Monteverde – the Cloud Forest

Our last day in Monteverde would be devoted to wild life. In the morning we went to the Curi-Cancha forest reserve.

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Strangler tree

The first thing pointed out to us was a strangler fig. This begins as an epiphyte, lowering its roots to the ground. Then it takes over, gradually outcompeting its host for the groundwater and light, until the host dies, leaving a hollow core lined with the fig’s multiple trunks. There were many examples of this kind of tree along the trail.

William also spotted a juvenile porcupine in a tree, but I did not see it well enough to get a picture!

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Avocado tree

We saw this avocado tree.

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Tangerine lime tree

In a clearing, William pointed out this tangerine lime tree. William cut open one of the fruits, that looked a bit like an orange, but had a lemony taste.

We were in a part of the reserve that consisted of old growth cloud forest. The bulk of the reserve was classified as cloud forest.

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We were descending toward the parking lot when William pointed out a blue crowned motmot – this is hard to pick out, but it is centered in the picture.
Blue Crowned Motmot
Denise Flory got a much better close-up of the same individual blue crowned motmot with her digital camera.

After this we went for a snack at a bakery called Stella’s. This is well reviewed by TripAdvisor. In addition to baked goods, coffee, juices and hot chocolate, there is a bird feeder platform on the patio that was fun to watch. We then went to the nearby Bat Jungle. This was quite interesting, but a real challenge for photography because of the very dim light. Our fellow tour member Rainer Heller got some good pictures though.

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On the way back to the hotel I got a picture of a destroyed home by the roadside. All through this part of the country there was evidence of mudslides and floods caused by a huge storm that struck the country recently.

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In the late afternoon there was a good opportunity for sunset pictures. Here are two of mine:

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Looking west from our balcony.
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Looking east a few minutes later from the balcony, through the plate glass door into our room.

Before dinner we had a lecture by Sarah Stuckey, who provided a lot of specific information about the climate change situation in Costa Rica. She has a science degree, and is currently running a dairy farm in Monteverde. She practices organic farming and employs solar panels to provide electricity to her farm. This is an energy strategy that is not widely used in Costa Rica, which favors hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind. She finished her talk with a slide of references, shown below. The links in the picture have to be copied letter-by-letter, sorry.

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The Monteverde area is famous for its large wildlife refuges, which grew mostly thanks to the stewardship of the Quakers. Scientists came to study the rain forest, and Marvin Rockwell became famous in conservationist circles. Over the years, he and others attracted funding from school children in Sweden and all over the world and later from large organizations to acquire land for the refuges.

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