From Arenal we drove to Monteverde, once more surrounding lake Arenal.Once more leaving a reasonably sunny place to arrive at our destination in pour down rain. The little village of Santa Elena, next to Monteverde has a lot of charm and plenty of food and sleeping options. It also offers all kinds of adventure activities. We’d heard that this was the best place to do the zip lines and most of the other activities. So we ended up doing them all here, in light to moderate rain. For the first day I had picked to do tree-climbing and canyoning. While the canyoning did not quite live up to my expectations, the tree climbing was absolutely amazing. The tree to climb was a 40m high strangler fig who had long since killed the original tree it climbed up upon. Since I was the only person doing the activity that day, the guide let me try all three possible climbing options: By rope, by an external via ferrata or inside the tree. I picked the most exciting one first: Climbing up inside the tree. It was truly beautiful (and also rather easy) being surrounded by the tree, seeing how the different branches of the strangler fig intertwined to build one solid hollow tree. The light shone through the remaining openings and bathed everything in a very soft light. The second option I chose was the external via ferrata. It was a lot harder than expected, so much so, that I ended up failing at roughly the middle of the tree, my arms shaking. I’m going to blame this on the fact that garden gloves and hiking boots are not the perfect climbing equipment. It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that I had neither the strength nor the technique necessary.
I ended up surprising myself by making it up the tree by use of the rope and I’m happy I did, as it allowed me to see the tree up close, but far enough away to see it entirely. Actually the via ferrata is probably the one with the least amount of view while you climb.
After climbing the tree and a short rest, we set out for the canyoning, or rather the rappeling down waterfalls. The waterfalls turned out to be slighly afected by the amount of rain falling in the previous days. They were quite strong and had a lot of water. Making it hard to see where to put your feet. Always the optimist, my guide suggested I jump down the waterfall, to get a bit of distance between me and the water… This ended quite badly, as I did not land flat on my feet.. Some bruises were created that day. Nevertheless I made it down safe and sound and the little gorge they’d picked for the canyoning was really picturesque.
When the rain finally stopped, we decided to give the hanging bridges a go. The hanging bridges is a path, including multiple bridges, that will lead you through the upper levels of the forests, giving you a chance to look at the treetops or look down onto the forest. It is an interesting experience because you get to see the amount of orchids and other plants living on the trees at incredible heights. The weather, while almost dry, did try to remind us that this is a cloud forest after all. There was a lot of humidity, clouds and occasionally rain. But, by now, we’ve all bought ourselves some ponchos to keep us (mostly) dry. We’re prepared, nothing can stop us!
The next day, the weather announced itself slightly better in Santa Elena with sunshine and almost no clouds. So we set out for our final adventure: The fastest, longest and (obviously) bestest zip line in central america. Unfortunately, once we got into the bus, it turned away from the sun and steered straight into the deepest clouds and rain available. The best poncho won’t protect you, if you don’t bring it and so we did our zip-lining in the rain and in shorts and a shirt. Luckily it wasn’t very cold. The zip-lining was fun, but it wasn’t amazing. I’m glad that I did it, but it has definitely confirmed that the zip line is not my type of adventure.. I might just be too safe.. Although several of the employees saw my (admittedly impressive) bruise from the canyoning and asked if I’d slipped on the bridge and whether I needed help. Apparently the part where you’re on the ground is the dangerous part when you zip-line.