The Cloud Forest experience

The journey from La Selva to Monteverde was incredible. To break up the drive, we were lucky enough to stop at the hot springs in La Fortuna (home to water parks, jacuzzi chairs and delicious smoothies). As if chilling in the pools, and watching each other fly off the water slide (some with more elegance than others) wasn’t enough, the hot springs even had an amazing view of Arenal Volcano! It’s pretty hard to see the top of the volcano because of the low-lying clouds, but it appeared for a few minutes whilst we were enjoying our lunch. We took a boat across Arenal lake, and saw Great Egrets and Kingfishers; a bit more exotic than the usual wildlife that you can see on the King Harry ferry in Falmouth!

The drive to Monteverde was through towering mountains, a stunning journey because the sky was tinted orange from sunset. The day after we arrived, we hiked up towards the mountain ridge. It was amazing to see how diverse Costa Rica actually is, as the geography and appearance of Monteverde was so different to La Selva. The landscape was dominated by lush green vegetation, which got progressively more dense further up the mountain due to the increased rainfall at higher elevations.

After getting an idea of the local flora and fauna that Monteverde had to offer, we began our group projects. Project ideas were diverse, with groups working on leaf-cutter ants, orchid mimics, hummingbirds and epiphytes on leaves. We had two days to conduct our project, and then we had to present our findings to each other. During the preparation, a break at the local hummingbird café was widely welcomed. It was amazing to see the iridescent colours of the different species of hummingbirds, and how fast they can actually fly.

Credit: Cassie Chanin

credit: Katie Smith

We were lucky enough to listen to an inspirational talk led by Alan Pounds. Alan taught us about the threats of Climate Change, and how sadly the Harlequin frog and the Golden Toad have become extinct as a result of the warming. The overall message is that Climate Change is driving local extinctions, in addition to affecting weather patterns; where drier days are becoming drier and wetter ones are becoming wetter. As the next generation of budding zoologists, this talk was motivational because the realisation that Climate Change needs to be addressed for the continued survival of our environment, is a true and serious message.

es502    January 14th, 2019    Costa Rica    , , , ,

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