Wednesday, May 30
Woke up feeling refreshed and excited, if a little tired and sore from the hiking yesterday. Ordered the tipico breakfast. The cheese (local?) was especially good.
Packed up the cameras and binoculars used yesterday but left out the field guides to save weight on my back. We drove in the usualy van to the Selvatura canopy tour business outside town a few miles. Here we are getting out in front of the main building:
A few participants signed up for zip-lining while the rest of us walked through the forest. It was nice secondary forest on lands that were cattle pasture a generation ago, before the tourism industry changed the local economy.
We came to the first canopy bridge and I was excited to get out above the forest:
Actually, I think we all were:
The bridges are suspension bridges. Concrete footings at either end hold up tall steel structures from which cables run across the various stream canyons. A steel grate walkway hangs from the cables. The purpose is to get you out in the forest. Here we see a fig fruit plucked from the branches of the tree just above us--and high above the ground. The bridges also serve as platforms for spotting canopy-dwelling birds.
My favorite was the collared trogon:
This Spangle-cheeked tanager was also pretty cool:
The general view of the forest canopy is very impressive:
I used my tablet to shoot some raw video. I uploaded it back at the hotel in unedited form. I may take this down later, edit it and put it back up with a different name. In the meantime, here it is:
As you might imagine, there were great opportunities for plant watching, especially of epiphytes:
At the end, we walked back through secondary forest. I took some more plant photos, such of this handsome little Chamaedorea palm:
I got a glimpse of a mantled howler monkey but no photo (nor of the family we saw yesterday). I also glimpsed a quetzal bird but it was moving too fast for me to take photo.
We loaded back in the van and drove to a women's collective for lunch.
It was served buffet style:
After lunch we took a break and then went to the CIEE center by van:
And went inside the class building:
Where we had a lecture:
along with coffee. The lecture covered ecotourism from the tourist perspective, which often differs from the view of local people. I also learned that many tourists come to Monteverde solely to go zip-lining and never actually hike in the forest, look for birds and talk to local residents. It is not clear what these visitors contribute to the local economy and what they learn about the local area. We had another lively discussion afterward.
Dinner was in the dining room again. We continued learning about each other and sharing the perspectives of our various disciplines on the seminar content.