We had so. much. fun. today! We woke early and took the bus to the Curi-Cancha Wildlife Reserve for a morning of sightseeing and a little hiking. We were lucky enough to catch Melvin, the guide recommended to us, at the entrance of the reserve, so after paying our entrance fee of $10 a piece we took off right away to begin what would be a 3 hour long tour of the forest.
Melvin was so enthusiastic and had an obvious passion & love for what he did. Before we even started on the trail he pointed out a giant green caterpillar that we would have otherwise walked right past. He listened intently to the birds, telling us exactly which one made which sound, and explained the small species of avocado that they eat. We saw strangler ficus trees– ficus’ literally strangled by a vine that feeds off the tree’s nutrients and what eventually results is a ficus that is completely hollowed out, yet has vibrant leaves still thriving at the top.
As we moved on throughout the trail we saw the birds that Melvin heard earlier– Three-wattled Bell Bird that has a fu manchu-like mustache, Common Bush Tanager, White-tipped Dove, and a ton of hummingbirds. We also saw a Mexican Hairy Porcupine sleeping in a tree– something I never would have spotted with my own eyes. In the same tree we saw a rustling in the branches and saw a White Nose Coatimundi [part of the raccoon family] foraging some fruit. We saw a giant rodent called an Agouti scampering along the path and later a Red Brocket Deer that is smaller than the North American deer we’re used to with two small horns pointing towards its tail, which was explained to us that they won’t get caught in the low-hanging branches & vines throughout the forest then. We even saw a family of Spider Monkeys swinging through the trees– a type of monkey we hadn’t seen yet in CR!
It was fantastic to see so much and have someone so knowledgeable & passionate provide us with such a plethora of information about the reserve and its flora & fauna. Totally worth the extra $15/person for a guide– and completely something I’d recommend for anyone coming to the area. We took so many great pictures– especially with the help of Melvin’s scope, which allowed us to see the critters close up.
We walked the 6km back to town, stopping along the way at a women’s cooperative that has awesome handcrafts & a small natural food store where we picked up some amazing herb goat cheese and a few veggies from the freshest produce selection we’ve seen in all of CR. We love the Monteverde/Santa Elena area so much that we decided to extend our stay until Friday! Sometimes mountain air & a little bit of nature to explore is all you need : ] Enjoy the pictures!