Monte Verde is our first stop in Costa Rica which means another border crossing. This was probably the most arduous crossing. The border was chaotic with people everywhere and lots of people trying to nick things from pockets. I had nothing in my pockets but they had been opened. In addition to this we had to walk quite a distance from the border gate in Nicaragua to the border gate in Costa Rica. All the time carrying my 22kg back pack. It was a perilous work as there were no pavements and the road was muddy. Many of us slipped and given lots of huge trucks were flying past us, it gave you a real sense of life and death. Then having managed to survive this stage we then had to wait for 25 minutes in a queue to get our passport stamped. Apparently we were lucky as that was fast. It was so hot that sweat was literally dropping off us. I stood incredibly still, slowed down my breathing, ceased talking and prayed for it to be over. We finally got through and had lunch in dodgy looking canteen with surprisingly good food.
Monte Verde is a really little town which is a good base for so many activities. You can visit the cloud forest, cheese factory, butterfly garden, zip lining, night walks, snake park and much more. Again we had to pick! L
I went zip lining. It was an exhilarating but hair raising experience. You are attached to a steel wire by a karabiner and a harness. Then you go flying at great speed high above the canopy of the forest below. You had a few small ones to build up your confidence and then came the fastest one - wow! Followed by the second longest at 0.5km. Unfortunately half way over, the film Cliffhanger came to mind and the scene at the beginning where the woman's Karabiner snaps and she plummets to her death. Never been good with timing!
Then we had a free fall drop, similar to an abseil so took that in my stride. This was followed by Tarzan. This is a huge swing which starts with a 6ft drop. I could not do this! I tried, got all attached and then freaked! He thankfully released me and I had to do the walk of shame past all the other eager beavers with my head hung low. I was totally shaken and it took me some time to regain my nerve. I had a couple of easy ones before the 'Superman'. This was the finale - a full 1km on a zip wire attached from your back and your ankles. This means that you are facing down as they fling you off the platform to speed down over the tops of the trees. Was it scary? Well it took 3 Our Fathers and 2 Hail Marys to get across, I need say no more I think!
The night walk was really good. It's the first time in my life where I have actually gone looking for creepy crawlies. It felt weird actually going into the jungle at night. It is really dark and you know there are some dangerous animals in there, so you do wonder why you are doing it. However it was worth it. We saw so much. Stick insects (15cm long); millipedes; leaf cutting ants; porcupine; endangered kinkajou (a native mammal); 2 toed sloths; birds; tarantula; lizards; salamander and more. The best moment was seeing the 2 toed sloth which was on the lowest branch of a tree. They are normally really high up and you can barely see them We could have reached out and touched this one. It was merrily munching on a flower. It was cute in the same way as an Ewok. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Lucas hadn't based his Ewok on the sloth.