We had a nice lazy morning as most the group was headed for the zip lines this morning. Instead we took our time, enjoying the morning chorus of birds and then went down to a late breakfast before hiking to the top of the property to explore the trails. We got to the top just as the last of our group was zipping from one platform to the next and met them as they came back to earth, invigorated and full of adrenalin; a good time was had by all.
We continued on our way and explored the orchid garden with some orchids so tiny they could be easily missed but exquisite nonetheless. Many were not in bloom but we enjoyed those that were. It was a lovely relaxed morning.
We shuttled into town for lunch at the Tree House restaurant, a unique establishment on the second floor of a building, the staircase actually did wrap around a giant tree and the interior was decorated in a tree house theme.
After lunch we walked around Santa Elena for a bit and then drove back to Monteverde to visit a butterfly garden. And were greeted by a young lady who would guide us through the gardens. Asking where folks were from we learned that she just graduated from Oregon State University, a neighbor almost. She was quite charming and took us first through the nature center exhibit of insects, spiders and beetles and forms of very large creepy crawlers. She shared that one thing she had really enjoyed about interning here was that she had lost her fear of spiders, a good thing because there are many and they are not small.
The center raises butterflies here for release and study and she next led us through a series of different gardens, each of the four gardens representing a different local habitat, hot lowland, mid-elevation forest, deep forest and cloud forest. We were given butterflies to release as we entered the appropriate habitat. It was wonderful to see these gorgeous creatures up close and be able to photograph them.
Not far down the road a bat tour, yes, bats. This was located in the same building where we enjoyed lunch yesterday, a strange pairing of activities. The young man that greeted us gave a really excellent introduction to the world of bats and how vitally important they are to our planet and how sadly they are disappearing at an alarming rate. To learn more about the ecology of these amazing creatures, head to Bat Jungle, in Montverde. Bats flit, feed, and mate within a darkened, sealed enclosure that simulates night. While I have never been keen on bats it was clear from the presentation that we need to pay more attention to these insect eating denizens of the night lest they disappear and we are overrun with mosquitoes. They are being threatened on every front and really do us a great service with their voracious appetite for insects. We learned that most of the things we have heard about bats are myths so it was really a worthwhile presentation. I have a new appreciation for their unique place in this world.
After the presentation the owner of the restaurant treated us to a snack of empanadas along with a glass of wine or fresh juice and then brought out sample plates of their handmade chocolates, very nice, we did buy some chocolates for later.
Dinner tonight was right across the street from the hotel at Chimera advertising Latin infused tapas. The same woman who owns Sofia’s where we ate last night owns Chimera and the tapas style food, using local farmed ingredients, far exceeded the local standard owns the restaurant. The flavors and quality of the food and presentation were first rate.
We retreated to our room happy and with full bellies. Tomorrow we move on to Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast.