April 2nd, 2003
Travelling went much faster than we had expected and at all the places we had seen what we wanted to see, so we have now some days extra. As we were told that this stormy weather would continue a couple of days, we thought it has no use to stay in Tortuguero. We had read that at Monteverde last year a ranarium, a frog garden was opened, which means frog minded people and guides who know something about frogs. As we had good memories of Monteverde we decided, let us flee the bad weather and go to Monteverde. So yesterday we had booked a flight to San José and made a reservation for a direct bus to Monteverde. Tortuguero airport has no waiting room or a shed so in a heavy shower, completely soaked we were waiting for the plane, as raincapes do not held with these weather conditions,. There were heavy gusts of wind, so we were really hoping those small planes would be able to fly in, even 3 small planes arrived after one other. In the middle of the afternoon we arrived at Santa Elena. It was really cold here. The depression had also reached Santa Elena. So we picked our sweaters out of our backpacks and went to the frog garden. It was set up nicely, some tens of large terrariums with the most common and most known frogs of Costa Rica. All visitors received a guided tour, a guide who told a lot about the frogs. Before we went to see the frogs we asked for a good guide who could show us some of the frogs of this region. They made straight ahead 2 phone calls, although they said this is the worst period to see frogs. Mark Wainwright, who had made the plastic Costa Rica field guide of amphibians, would be the best guide. He told us that in this period we only could find 4 species, in a few months this would be over 40. We said we would be happy to see 4 species. But unfortunately he had the coming 3 days no time. Tomorrow the Monteverde musicfestival would start, and he was organizing this festival. At the moment there were no other good frog guides in Monteverde. Meanwhile it had started to rain here as well.
April 3rd, 2003
After a very cold night, as Monteverde is located rather high in the mountains, we took the early bus to the Santa Elena Reservation. This Reservation we did not know, as we had visited 4 years ago Monteverde's Cloud forest. But this is also a cloud forest. I like those cloud forest even more than the tropical rainforests, as they are so indescribably beautiful, fairytale like with all the hanging moss, a very mystic atmosphere. And then all the tree farns. Only you do not see many animals, but these forests are perfect for birdwatchers. It was a beautiful walk although it was very cold, so at certain viewpoint you could not stay for long with the cold wind. At night we did a night-excursion at Valle Escondido. Everywhere you could read the advertisements for this excursion and what you possibly could see. But none of this. We stopped at almost every tree and were told about the peculiarities of those trees, although we told our guide several times, we were not interested in trees, specially not at night. We would love to see reptiles and amphibians, which wa written as well in the leaflet.. We had to repeat this several times. We wanted to see animals. We just saw a few sleeping birds.