Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica… The Passport Series

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica is filled with tall trees and massive vines. These Strangler Vines once surrounded a tree. As their name implies, they strangled their host. Now only the vines remain.

The drive from San Jose, the Capital of Costa Rica, to the Monteverde takes around 3½ hours. Our guide and driver from Costa Rica Expeditions picked us up at our hotel. He was funny and knowledgeable, which made the journey pass quickly. We learned and laughed a lot.

Monteverde’s claim to fame is its cloud forest where mists hang out in mythical proportions. Luxuriant plant growth and abundant animal life have turned the area into a major tourist destination as well as a center for ecological study.

The area has an interesting history dating back to the 1950s when a group of Quakers and other pacifists out of Alabama arrived. They had moved from the US to avoid being drafted into the Korean War. Eventually a portion of the land they farmed became the base for Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

We climbed some 4000 feet to reach the Montverde Lodge, the hotel where we were staying. The lodge perches on the edge of the rainforest and its rooms provide a front row seat to whatever action is taking place. I kept expecting a Howler Monkey to appear on our window ledge. The Lodge also features attractive gardens.

Leaving the valley floor, we climbed over 4000 feet up into Costa Rica’s central mountains to reach Monteverde. This photo is looking back over the way we came.

The Monteverde Lodge features a flower filled garden including this beauty.

I also found this pair of flowers at the Monteverde Lodge quite attractive.

This fern at the lodge.was particularly interesting. it made me think of gears within gears.

This butterfly we found at the Monteverde Lodge is a member of the Clearwing Family.

Our objective was to explore the rainforest, however. We went on several hikes including one at night and another that took us to a platform high in the forest canopy. The pitch-black night tour was quite interesting, especially when we turned our flashlights off.

On one of our hikes, we climbed to a platform high in the canopy of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. I think Peggy is smiling because we made it to the top.

This is a view of the Monteverde Cloud Forest looking down from the platform we climbed up to.

We spotted a pair of Howler Monkeys up in the trees. The one on top is all limbs and tail. The lower Howler looks like he is gnawing on a thigh bone… Hmmm.

We came across this strange army of insects about to take flight on our night walk. The look ant-like but my guess is they are termites because of their thick bodies.

This colorful fungus was another denizen of the Monteverde Cloud Forest we came across on our night walk.

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