Our adventure tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica promised a unique adrenaline rush in the heart of the cloud forest. It 100% delivered.
After San Jose/Heredia, we took a public bus headed to Monteverde, which is where the cloud forest is located high up in the mountains. The journey was incredibly picturesque as we climbed higher and higher into one of the mountainous regions of the country. We arrived that night and our couch surfing host, Larry, met us to take us to the cabinas where we would be staying for the next four nights. Our host was very excited to meet us and even more excited that we had arrived on the night of a big latin/salsa music festival in the town. So we quickly dumped our bags off and headed to town where we enjoyed wonderful music, singing, and then snuck away early to sample the mountain cuisine. We ended up at a beautifully decorated restaurant where I had my first ‘typical’ Costa Rican dish, which consists of rice, beans, steamed vegetables, fried plantains, and avocados and cheese if you get the vegetarian dish. It was also the first place we noticed that Costa Rica was filled with delicious shakes and ice cream dessert dishes.
The next morning we were greeted with a bountiful breakfast of the best fried farmer’s cheese I have ever had, toast, tortillas, eggs, banana pancakes, and what would become a new staple of our life: Costa Rican coffee. I can still taste the delicious blend of coffee beans now as I close my eyes. This breakfast was Larry’s gift to us every morning, and it could not have started our days off better. That first morning was also our chance to fully appreciate the beauty of Larry’s organic farm and how truly breathtaking the views of his land were and how close we were to the forest.
Larry introduced us to a young guide named Watson, who took us to start our day of adventuring with a stealthy climb up a strangler tree. The tree had been hallowed out inside with time, and it was almost like an intricate ladder that we climbed in order to reach the top. As we got closer the space got harder to find a perch for our feet as well as small enough that even I as a small person felt the walls of the tree trunk on either side of me. Once we made our way all the way up the tall tree, we perched at the top and marveled at the wonders nature hides that all we have to do is find and bask in its infinite splendors.
From the tree climbing, we headed to the rain forest to go on our scheduled Canopy Zipline Tour with the company 100% Aventura. I was excited and nervous all at the same time, in a mix of apprehension about heights but excitement with how awesome the views would be and how many people never get to have the adventures I was so blessed to have the time and ability to go on. Our tour group was large, but we mainly ended up interacting with a core group comprised of a group of British tourists, a three person group of a couple and their friend from New Jersey, and a petite traveler our age from Canada named Timmy-Rose, who I became close with through this adventure and a few more. The tour wasted no time once it started, and as soon as we were led up a few steps, we were fastened on to our first zipline and the break-neck pace kept going from there. One zipline to the next, they kept getting longer and longer, until soon we were riding on ones where we could not see the other side. This tour had the longest zipline in Costa Rica, at about over 1km in length. At that point we were over 600 ft elevated and above the canopy. It was time for the superman cable. The superman cable is on the same type of line for the zipline, except you are held up by two harnesses so you are hands free laying on your stomach completely suspended high above the forest canopy. After making the guides double check my straps, I was pushed off unto the 1 minute long adventure, screaming and forcing my eyes to stay open so I could witness the sheer awesomeness of the green lush below. Once to the other side, I had no time to reflect on how long and how high I had been on the superman, as we were thrust into a second one of faster speed, though shorter distance. Once that was complete, we had one more piece of the adventure to complete: the Tarzan swing. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a Tarzan swing, it is a rope that you clutch on to and then jump from a base, resulting in a free fall of several seconds, where you believe you will die, but then the rope catches and you are swung up in the air (just like if Tarzan was swinging from tree to tree) and free fall backwards before the rope starts to slow you down. I was terrified. I don’t do free falls, and this one was tall–the tallest in Latin America. I got the end and looked down and told the men holding the harness that I could not do it. I had promised Timmy-Rose that I would. A long time back on the adventure tour I had lost Thecla and Ruthie, and Timmy-Rose was talking me through each section that I thought I would not be able to do. I had done it all, and this was the last one left. I knew she was at the bottom hoping that I would change my mind. And I did. I went back to the previous station and had them reharness me. Then I walked back up to the edge of the Tarzan swing, and told them to just push me because my body would freeze and not jump. So they did, and I went hurtling down in a three second free fall, fearing that it was not the right choice and my rope would not catch. Of course, it did and as I eventually came to a slow twirl and was helped down from the harness, I shakily smiled at the girls and Timmy-Rose, ecstatic about overcoming my fears. I was proud of myself. I had to do it. I can’t tell my students to try things they are fearful of if I am not willing to overcome my fears myself. Timmy-Rose also taped the whole thing and once she sends me the video, I will post it here on my blog, and share it with my students as well. Until then, sadly we have no photos because our cameras would have been destroyed on the journey, so we left it at the starting point in lockers.
Once the adventure was done, we went dancing with our new friends to celebrate a journey well ziplined.