Up in the Cloud Rain Forest

If you ever want to experience the canopies of a Costa Rican rain forest, then look no further than Monte Verde. Located high above sea level, high up in the clouds, this town is famous for offering spectacular views of the canopy rain forest.

The birthplace of the original ecotourism movement in Costa Rica, Monte Verde offers a wide range of activities ranging from zip lining and repelling to hiking and nightwalks that would satisfy adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike.

Leaf Cricket

If you’re interested in zipling, check out Extreme Canopy Tours, the only place that offers 13 ziplines. For $40, you get free transportation and 13 ziplines, including the superman and a tarzan swing, both of which were extremely memorable. The modern facilities are super clean; all the equipment are well maintained; and the highly trained English speaking guides are extremely professional meticulous.

I felt safe and well briefed while ziplining throughout the entire process.

If you’re looking for something less intense, then check out one of the many night walks. Most hostels and hotels will hook you up with a tour group. The night walks are exactly what you’d expect based on the name. Walks, not hikes, that take place during the night.

The guided walk usually lasts anywhere from 1:30 to 2 hours, and costs around $15-25. More expensive isn’t necessarily better. The overall experience depends on a few factors such as the group size, your guide, weather, and a little bit of luck.

The group that we were assigned to was quite big-ten people. The guide was informative and energetic, however, because of the large group size, I had to struggle to hear his explanations.

I would definitely recommend going with a smaller group, no more than 6 if you really want an experience that is worthwhile and worth your money.

With that said, we did manage to see quite a few animals. Within the first few seconds of the tour, we spotted a two-toed sloth hanging lazily from a tree. The guide also found a orange-kneed tarantula that was the size of a grown man’s fist.

The rest of the tour was not as exciting as the beginning. I did see several stick insects, a green viper, and a few green leafed crickets, but no BIG animals. Perhaps it was the number of people crowding the trails or just bad luck. (Maybe a bit of both)

All in all, the experience was worth while. We paid $20, but you could probably get the same experience for less. As mentioned before, the more money you pay doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to see more things. That largely depends on a few, but quite important, aspects that are outside our realm of control.

Would I recommend the nightwalk? Perhaps. If you don’t really have much time to spend checking out the national parks in Costa Rica, then I would recommend doing the nightwalks. But if you’re not pressed for time, then my suggestion would be to skip the night walk and go to a national park such as Manuel Antonio where you’re more likely to see a lot more wild life.

If you do decide to opt for the night walk, my recommendation would be to go during the dry season with a smaller group, and don’t forget to bring a strong night torch.

Another cool thing to do is to visit the Frog Pond, aka the frog museum. For $10, you get entrance into the frog museum, and a 45 minute guided tour. If you’re a student, bring your student ID to get the student price.

One useful thing to remember is that you get access to the frog pond during the day and at night. So if you visit during the morning, you can go back at night, as long as it is in the same day, and see the frogs in their more active state as they are nocturnal amphibians. So don’t forget your ticket!

Red Eye Leaf Frog

Because we were the only ones in the museum, we pretty much had the whole area to ourselves. The guide spoke perfect English and was spot-on with his frog identifications.

I’d recommend this tour as it offers a great opportunity to come face to face with dozens of different species of frogs and toads, not to mention a face to face encounter with the famous Red-Eyed Green Leaf Frog that is pretty much Costa Rica’s mascot symbol.

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About Panda Writer
Essay Panda here to help dispel myths and answer FAQs for International Students applying to Colleges in the US.

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