A Treetop Walk, Canopy Tour and Bio-Art Exhibition
We woke up to a clear morning and were able appreciate the view from Hotel Don Taco's restaurant while we had breakfast. It was an early morning today because the van from Selvatura Park was scheduled to pick us up around 8.
As luck would have it, the sky grew increasingly cloudy during the twenty minute van ride to the Park. However, poor weather is not something that necessarily impedes fun at this place. With a canopy tour, a treetop walk, a hummingbird garden, a bio-art exhibition, as well as a reptile and amphibian exhibition there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. Also, the Park provides rain gear for those on the canopy tour, if necessary.
Since it was only misting, we got harnessed up for the canopy tour first, hoping to finish before the rain picked up. There must have been at least fifty other people with the same idea, but the large number was no problem for the Selvatura staff. They had plenty of guides to handle the group, with one always receiving people at the platforms and another sending them off. There were about 12 lines that took us whizzing through the canopy with the longest stretching approximately 1800 ft long and the highest at 240 ft. It was spectacular!
Talk about scenery, the best way to see the rainforest is via mini suspension bridge! The treetop walk at the Park winds through the cloud forest for about a mile and a half, crossing eight bridges. The paths are well-kept and the bridges are remarkably stable considering how long and high some of them are. Every bridge we came to seemed to provide a better view than the one before it. Being at "canopy height" we were able to see a variety of epiphytes (a type of plant that grows on another and depends on it for mechanical support, not nutrients) and tons of tree ferns -- our favorite!
Near the end of the treetop walk, Rayna and I stumbled upon what Selvatura calls their Bio-Art Exhibit. The exhibit is amazing not only for the number of butterflies, beetles, as well as numerous other insects that are housed there, but also for the way they are creatively arranged. Years of collection by entomologist Dr. Richard Whitten made this exhibit possible and it should not be missed -- it is truly phenomenal. In addition to the staggering numbers and varieties of insects, there was also a great deal of information offered. For instance, I was particularly drawn to the section which highlighted the rashes, infections and viruses one can catch from insects living in tropical locations like Costa Rica. (I admit I was hyper-sensitive to any and all insects the rest of the day.)
By this point, the rain was really coming down, but we still went to check out the hummingbird garden before leaving. Unlike us, the birds were unfettered in their pursuit of the sugar water from the many feeders in the garden. We did not stay long because we were getting chilly and the shuttle back to Santa Elena was about to head out. We had previously made reservations at a new place called Bird Watcher's Paradise for tonight.
A little out of town, we found the lovely new cabin in the middle of a field. With a stone patio, a full kitchen, bath, two queen beds and a single bed we were both pleasantly surprised at what charming place we had found. There are no other houses, let alone cabins, in sight and what we found to be even more spectacular than the seclusion, the cabin and the idyllic surroundings, is the sky at night.
As the sun set, Rayna and I soon realized what a stargazer's paradise this place is! Since it was such a clear night and Rayna got some fabulous pictures of the stars from the patio. There was a cool breeze that kept the bugs away, making the patio the perfect place to listen to the house geckos and tree frogs chirping.