Aidan, Quincy, and I found a good vantage point to watch them come across the last few wires and cheer them on. When they were finished we hiked a short ways along the Sky Walk, which is where Pop and I enjoyed a majestic display by a Quetzal returning to his nest.
On Thursday morning we departed Monteverde. Unfortunately this was goodbye temporarily to the Reiffs. Just outside Santa Elena we stopped at the Frog House and got a guided tour of their many display cases. We were happy to see another Giant Toad like we had seen before and several more poison dart frogs like we had seen on the raft trip. We learned that the female Giant Toad is much larger then the male and will carry her mate for up to a couple months on her back. I had to ponder the tradeoffs of my wife carrying me around versus her being twice my size. We also learned that there are 4 differences between toads and frogs. Frogs have smooth skin and long legs for escape. Toads have bumpy skin and secret poison as their defense. Toads’ eggs are laid in a line while frogs are laid in a clump. Those frogs that are poisonous get their poison from their diet – we were told the Blue Jean frog we had seen in the wild ate ants and termites – while the frogs in captivity weren’t very poisonous as they didn’t have the same kind of diet.
We were happy to have gone to Monteverde but its inaccessibility and the availability of many other forests (albeit not cloud forests) and canopy tours makes us think we would probably not go back on the return trip, as there are other new places to see. We were expecting a quaint Quaker village and Santa Elena is a typical 3rd world crossroads for adventure travelers – it didn’t look much like the villages we had passed on our way to La Fortuna. However we had a nice hotel, found good restaurants, and enjoyed some great activities.
Here is the full set of photos for Monteverde:
The road out of Monteverde (to the south) was immediately much drier, a little shorter and a little less bumpy then the road we came in (from the west). By the time we reach hardtop the jeep had developed a shudder making us wonder if the wheels were knocked out of alignment. However the next day the shudder was gone so perhaps it just took the passengers 24 hours to stop shaking! As we approach Quepos and Manual Antonio we had to cross a series of ever more rickety one-lane bridges. We found our hotel, El Mango Moon B&B (http://www.mangomoon.net/), without trouble. The hotel had a wonderful panoramic view down the side of the mountain to the ocean. The hotel was a delight with what struck me as all of the extra gay touches like flowers nestled in the towels. Our first stop was the pool, which has a disappearing edge where you can gaze out at the view.