Night Hike in the Cloud Forest (Costa Rica)
When we arrived in Monteverde and at our eco-lodge I had hoped we would have time to check in and head straight over the the bat jungle before chilling for the night. We had a big day of adventure planned for the next day and I was worried I would miss the Bat Jungle all together if we did not hit it right when we arrived. Sadly it closed early! We met a family from Austin, TX who was also sad to have just missed the cut off. They arrived about 15 minutes before us and told us when they were told to come back the next day. I had a jam packed schedule so, feeling a little defeated I headed back to our lodge. We were to hike the cloud forest in the morning and zip line and then a night hike in the evening at the preserve we were staying in. Surely there would be no time for bats. As luck would have it, we were able to switch out night hike for this evening and free up the next day. Woo hoo!
A night hike was not even on the radar, or recommended during the trip planning. It was something I stumbled upon when I was searching for places to stay in Monteverde. The place I chose was the Monteverde Inn and it was situated on a private preserve, Valle Escondido. It got excellent reviews and from what I could decipher had lots of hiking trails, waterfalls and wildlife on property. The website, and I ran into this with most research I did, left out much information when it came to details, but it mentioned that they offered night hikes. Many of the reviews I read said they were the best part of their stay in the area. For $20 I figured what do we have to lose.
We met in the main grassy area in front of the lobby and restaurant. We were introduced to our guides and split up into smaller groups. Equipped with flashlights we headed down the trails in opposing directions from the other group in the fading light. We watched the sunset and the forest come alive while some of it went to sleep. Obviously it is a little difficult to get the best pictures in this situation. This is really something to experience. So spooky and cool! Hector was an excellent guide and it was another amazing thing I will never forget about this trip.
We climbed inside this huge tree that is usually home to bats during the day.
I am obsessed with these stick bugs. We saw quite a few of them!
You never know what you are going to see on these hikes. These aren't done in a zoo or wildlife preserve. Your are out in the forest and each time is different. If I stayed in the Cloud Forest more that 2 nights I would have done one every night! We saw several types of toucans sleeping, along with many other birds. Mostly we saw lots of insects. The glass winged butterfly is really neat but the tarantulas were definitely the highlight of the hike. I could not hike anywhere the rest of the trip and not spot a tarantula home. Scary and cool!
If you visit Costa Rica, I recommend doing one of these. It was really fun. This is where a guide is worth their weight in gold. They can spot things I would never in a million years be able to see. Be open minded though. It is nature and sometimes you don't get to see a lot, sometimes you get to see lots of stuff. That is what makes it so exciting.
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