Costa Rica 2006 Day Eight: Monteverde

by Kara on October 27, 2006

Waterfall. Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Waterfall. Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Today we got to take a hike through the cloud forest. The guides were really great. They were wonderful at spotting birds and other species that were camouflaged by the forest. The one bird that EVERYONE apparently wants to see when they come to Monteverde is the Resplendent Quetzel, and the guides tried very hard to spot one for us. Happily, we did get to see one of these beautiful birds. We also saw a slaty-backed nightengale-thrush, a coppery-headed emerald hummingbird feeding her babies, a purple-throated mountain gem, a green violet ear, a magenta throated woodstar, and a bananaquit. We also saw an orange-kneed tarantula, a lizard we think was a rainforest celestus, and a two-toed sloth with her baby. An owl butterfly also landed on my finger.

Sleeping baby variegated squirrel. Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Sleeping baby variegated squirrel. Monteverde, Costa Rica.

After lunch, we went to visit a butterfly garden. I usually prefer to see animals (and insects) in the wild, but we did see some beautiful butterflies here. I had long promised Stephen that if I had the opportunity to hold a tarantula during our trip, I would do it. I am terrified of spiders, so this was a brave plan. In the midst our butterfly garden tour, Stephen pointed to the guide and said, “what’s that in your pocket?” We all looked down to see a little face poking out. It was a baby variegated squirrel, and he was adorable! Happily, the guide passed the little guy to me, and he promptly fell asleep in my hand. I was in seventh heaven. After walking around for a bit, we came to a room showcasing different Costa Rican insects and arachnids. You guessed it. One of them was a tarantula, which we were welcome to hold. Although my resolve to face that challenge was strong, there was no way a tarantula could compete with a baby squirrel. I was simply not going to give up the squirrel until it was absolutely necessary, and in my book, tarantula holding is not necessary. I held on to my new friend until he woke up hungry and was ready for a snack. I promise the next NEXT time I have an opportunity, I will hold a tarantula. Unless something cuter comes along first.

Sunset. Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

Sunset. Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

After the tour we had time to wander around the town of Santa Elena. I had to go to a grocery store and buy a can of cat food for a friend who collects cat food labels from all over the world. I wondered if the hotel maids in the places we stay are puzzled by the unopened label-less cat food cans we leave in the room. We also found an internet café and relaxed for a bit. While we were walking around outside, we often had dogs hanging out with us. When they got bored, they would head back home.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Costa Rica.

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