Sky Adventures and Bats
When we woke up the sun was out so we were excited to get to Costa Rica Sky Adventures to go on their sky walk and sky trek (canopy tour) in the nice weather. Just a fifteen minute drive back toward Santa Elena got us there.
Fortunately, Rayna and I got a great nature guide for our sky walk. Brian proved amazingly knowledgeable and patient with all of our questions. By far, a guide makes the walk through the rainforest canopy more fulfilling. There were a ton of things we would have walked right passed that he stopped to point out.
One of the best finds Brian enlightened us about were two bird nests right along the path! At about knee height, he pointed out two different nests of the black-faced solitaire. He explained that they nest there, because they know people will keep other predators away from their nests.
We also learned that the tree known as the strangler fig is a hemi-epiphyte, which means it begins life as an epiphyte (a plant that lives on another without stealing nutrients) and later in life gets its nutrients from the soil. The fig starts as a seed on a tree and its roots (in the form of hanging vines) start to reach for the soil. When the vine reaches the ground it begins to grow, eventually surrounding and killing its host tree, which leaves the fig hollow. So, while it is never a parasite, taking nutrients from the host, in the end the host dies. It is an interesting story and the result is a huge twisted tree trunk which looks like it would be great for climbing because there are so many nooks and crannies!
Our canopy walk with Brian was very interesting and seemed to be over in a flash. During the walk, we crossed six suspension bridges with the longest being over 900 feet long! Just as we were finishing the sky walk, there was a sky trek, or canopy tour, getting ready to leave. So, we harnessed up to join them.
With just a small group, we headed out for the first zip line. The weather was beautiful so we were again lucky enough to enjoy some amazing views. With really fast lines, their longest and highest lines were far longer and higher than any other I have been on. At approximately 2310 feet long and 480 feet high, I was a bit frightened, while simultaneously having a great time!
After a quick bite in Santa Elena, Rayna and I went to check out The Bat Jungle. Recently opened to the public, this is an interesting and fun museum for all ages. With interactive aspects to their exhibits, kids would love this place. Both Rayna and I learned a good deal about bats, including the invaluable part they play in pollinating flora as well as spreading seeds in a given area. We were also shocked to learn to what extent many species are in danger world-wide due to humans. Beyond beautiful and informative displays and an auditorium featuring documentaries on bats, The Bat Jungle has an area where you can view live bats (though they will probably be sleeping when you get there)!
After another long day (of having fun), we headed back to Vista Verde Lodge for dinner and a relaxing evening before bed. The large, exposed-wood, dining room was welcoming. Though the fog had not lifted to give us a view of Arenal Volcano, the smell of warm fresh bread brought a smile across our faces. We had a lovely dinner of squash soup, fresh whole grain bread, chicken and sauteed vegetables. With full bellies, we headed back to our room to get a good night's sleep.