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Published: July 23rd 2017
This morning, we headed to the Santa Elena Reserve. The Santa Elena Reserve is a community run cloud forest reserve in Monteverde. Money raised from the reserve goes towards protecting and managing the reserve and providing higher quality education to the local school.
When we arrived at the Santa Elena Reserve, we were given a tour by Sonia, a Reserve intern. We learned that a cloud forest is characterized by a consistent canopy cloud cover, which provides the forest with a continual supply of moisture. The moisture supports so much plant life that there is incredible competition for growing space. Trees are entirely covered with other plants including mosses and lichens to maximize growing space. We also learned about the Figueres tree, a tree that strangles other trees to survive. How crazy is that!!!
On the tour, we had the opportunity to climb to the top of a lookout tower, where on a clear day you can spot the Arenal Volcano in the distance. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the Arenal Volcano.
After the tour, we learned that we just missed a quetzal sighting in the front parking lot. Quetzals
are beautiful emerald birds that are typical found in certain parts of the Central America, the Monteverde cloud forest being one of them. We still have a couple of days left in Monteverde. Hopefully we can come across one during our trip.
After lunch at the reserve, we met with Jonny, one of the Reserve staff. Jonny is very passionate about his job. He showed us footage of various animal sighting detected from the Reserve’s motion cameras. He was incredibly excited when two different rare puma sightings were spotted on the motion camera footage. Jonny talked so much that we didn’t have enough time to start volunteering that day. Tomorrow, we would be put straight to work, according to the reserve staff. Wow, this volunteering is hard work!
We had dinner at the “Tree House” restaurant in Monteverde. At the restaurant we said goodbye to Leo, the trip coordinator from VIDA. He had to leave the group early due to a family situation. Tomorrow, we are meeting Fabian, who is going be the trip coordinator for the rest our time in Monteverde.
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