Monteverde – Day 2 : hikes and mammals

Today, we went in a national park. Wouldn’t have been hard to guess, they are the main attractions in the city, which has 3 of them. The most famous (named Monteverde) is owned and was founded by American Quakers, who came to Costa Rica to avoid being conscripted into the Korean war (cultural minute : check !). The second one is the one we were at today, it is also privately owned and is named Curi Cancha. We will tell you about the third one later.

Since we were lazy, we missed the bus, and went hitchhiking instead. Since the region is very touristy, it’s very safe and efficient. The parks’ idea around here is to protect a piece of jungle, but mostly to make tourists pay for the entrance in exchange for a very good care of the forest and nice and clear signs on the trails. We paid our 15$ fee (each)(ouch !) and got a very clear map of the park and its trails. This forest is not all old : a part of it is only growing since the park was founded, in the 70’s. But even these younger patches are impressively green, and the whole is mostly dry (for the region) and belongs to the Pacific divide. The park is known for having a lot of wildlife, and we actually met some !

As we arrived, we saw a group of around 10 monkeys, but they were so fast and jumping around in the trees that we can’t really be sure of the number, especially since some of them were carrying babies on their backs. They were small and black, with a white mane around their faces. They were also eating oranges, parts of it being peeled and devoured in the tree (with bits of peels raining around) and the rest was collected and brought back (somewhere ?), but mostly ended up falling because an orange is huge compared to a little monkey’s hands (so not many people dared walking under the orange tree). After that, they ran around in the nearby trees and we got a few long looks at them, but pictures were really hard to take…

We then walked, admiring plants, bugs, fungus, trees of course… It was a very nice hike, the weather was clear but not hot and we walked for around 3 hours.

During that, we also met agutis, sort of crossing between a groundhog and a coypu (sorry if that’s not accurate in english), with reddish hair, and also 2 coatis, more like a crossing between a badger and a dog, with black hair and white face. The agutis were scared of us, but the coatis, without coming too close from us, weren’t to rushed to hide either.

After a while, we stopped for a picnic at a stone table in a clearing. That’s where the unforgettable meeting happened. We had left our groceries bag (out of thick plastic) under one of the benches while we were opening an avocado (that’s was too ripe and not edible). At this moment, we saw a coati walking straight to us, calmly. We thought it was amazing and took pictures. It went closer to our food, so Ben grabbed the bag to put it on the table. At this moment, the beast understood that the banana flavor emanating from the bag was going to stay a fantasy and it went all in : it threw itself on the bag with all claws and teeth available, tearing threw it like nothing, and starting to eat the bananas. At this time, Ben was pulling on the bag, lifting the thrashing animal (the size of a regular dog). Since it wasn’t letting go, I decided to scare it by shouting as loud as I could, 30 cm from its face. It didn’t give a single fuck. Finally, a good slap in the face unhook it but didn’t scare it at all, since it stayed at our feet to eat the banana shreds it had managed to get.

It finished eating quite quickly and started to stand as to jump on the table, so we left it our avocado, and it scraped it thoroughly. Since it also finished that really fast, we had to spend the rest of the meal establishing dominance by standing tall and stamping our feet to prevent it from going to close to the table. Suffice to say, we didn’t want to piss it off enough, because the claws and teeth were kinda big, but food is sacred !

Ben agrees

Besides the crazy coati, we also met a nice American couple who brought us back to the village, after we were finished admiring the hallowed trees in the park. Chosen pieces :

The last tree trunk in this article is seen from the inside !

We aren’t very clear on how trees work around here, but it was cool to put our heads inside of this one !

At night, we went for beers and pool with a two german travelers, and that’s why we didn’t write sooner !

See you tomorrow, X