Monteverde help please

Old Jul 20th, 2003, 03:45 PM
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Monteverde help please

Spending 2 nights in Monteverde(2 adults and 2 kids 8 and 11)at Monteverde Lodge and need help with plans.Will be arriving from Arenal day 1 and know this is 4 hour trip. Thinking about doing night hike at Monteverde reserve at 7:30 first day. Next day plan to do Skytrek and Skywalk at Saint Helena reserve . Next morning need to drive to Manuel Antonio. Is this a mistake to see Monteverde cloudforest reserve only at night ? Will wee miss anything that we wouldn't see at Saint Helena reserve?
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Old Jul 20th, 2003, 08:14 PM
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Santa Elena is actually the name of the town and reserve not Saint Helena. You would be missing the hummingbird gallery which is a wonderful thing to see but otherwise it would be just about the same. Don't expect to see much on the zip line. You will be going too fast. It is more of an amusement ride than an actual viewing of nature. The skywalk is where you will have the best chance to see wildlife of those two tours and I would recommend you do that early in the morning and then doing the zip line canopy tour later. Monteverde Lodge is a very nice place run by Costa Rica Expeditions. The food is very good and the gardens are lovely. You can get to Finca Ecologica from there easily too. Good hiking and wildlife viewing there. At the bottom of the trail there is a beautiful waterfall.
The butterfly garden is one of my favorite places there and every time I go up to Santa Elena I enjoy going through it. You would have time to go through it in the afternoon after you get there.
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Hi,
We did the skywalk (suspension bridges) and skytrek ( zipline) as well as the Monteverde reserve. To be honest with you, I liked the Monteverde reserve the best. We hired this excellent guide ( through Monteverde Lodge) by the name of Rodgrigo Solara. He showed us wildlife that we would have otherwise missed ( like two wonderful quetzals). Have fun.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 05:33 AM
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Thanks for the Quetzal reminder Kirsten. I have been to places with a lot better Quetzal viewing so forget that Monteverde is where people go for them. I just enjoy the hike. Going with a guide in either reserve is always much better if you really want to see things.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 09:09 AM
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Now I'm tagging in from the top rope. Suzie2, you mentioned there are places with much better quetzal viewing than Monteverde--would you be so kind as to list a few for the eager and uninitiated among us? Thanks again!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 12:52 PM
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My favorite and what is considered one of the best (but nobody seems to ever go there) is San Gerardo de Dota. They can be viewed year round there. We were there in Feb (last year not this year) and were able to just sit and watch them fly around within feet of us. There were at least 8 of them and probably more at that time. We stayed with the Chacon family at Savegre Lodge. It is a popular place with the ticos and you will see many of them taking their vacations there. Trogon Lodge is also there. Not real touristy because between the two places there aren't enough rooms for it to become touristy. There is horseback riding and a waterfall to hike to also. Trout fishing if you are so inclined. It is mostly a place to go see the Trogons and get away from the hustle and bustle and be with Costa Ricans. The Chacon family are wonderful.
San Gerardo de Dota is only about 2hrs south from SJ and as you descend down into the valley you feel like you are leaving the rest of the world behind. It is like driving into Shangri La. The altitude is pretty high so it does stay cool. You start the descent at about 10.000ft and the lodges are around 7,000. The rooms have heaters.
Another place that I have heard has them but have not been there is the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. It is a private reserve from what I understand that is not too far from the Arenal area. It is just beyond Tilaran.
There are actually several private properties in Costa Rica that have guides and allow people to come in and see the Quetzals. Our first experience with one was at a little place just south of SJ and we were the only people out looking. The guide was just a little tico guy in his little rubber boots who could call the Quetzals in. We went there through Costa Rica Expeditions.
From what I understand, the Monteverde Quetzal population is diminishing a little because of the increased nest predation by the toucans who are coming further up the mountains these days because of the deforestation.
Still plenty of reason to go to Monteverde tho. Seeing even a couple of Quetzals is a real treat and I have heard that someone just recently saw two jaguarundis while walking on the Selvatura canopy tour up there.
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 01:15 PM
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"San Gerardo de Dota is only about 2hrs south from SJ and as you descend down into the valley you feel like you are leaving the rest of the world behind. It is like driving into Shangri La. The altitude is pretty high so it does stay cool. You start the descent at about 10.000ft and the lodges are around 7,000."

Did you drive this yourself and do you think it is do-able in a 4x4 in both the dry and wet seasons? Thanks!
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 09:26 PM
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We actually had a driver bring us down. Our first couple of trips to Costa Rica 10 years ago we did our own driving and now just relax and have someone else do it. The road are better now but still aren't great. The road down into San Gerardo de Dota is not paved but it was in very good shape when we went. Don't know how it would be during the rainy season. You could check with Savegre or Trogon Lodge to see what they think. The mountains do protect that area from the rains coming from the Caribbean side. It can be horribly rainy and cloudy on the Pan Am Hwy driving south to get to San Gerardo but as soon as you turn down you drive out of the clouds.
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