My second day in Monteverde I went on the very popular Canopy Tour through the St. Elena Forest. This is a series of steel cables, or ‘ziplines’ strung across the top of the forest. You wear a harness and with a pulley and several carabineers, you are hooked up to the line and literally zip across the tree tops. Costa Rica has become somewhat famous for these adrenaline pumping tree top ‘rides.’ The canopy tours have popped up all throughout the country. Mine consisted of about 17 different lines of varying heights and lengths. It’s not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights. It’s also not really a good way to ‘see’ the rainforest since you are zipping through so quickly you can enjoy the tree tops, but little chance of spotting any wildlife.
I loved it—it’s scary and exhilarating at the same time. The guides were a bunch of young Ticos who made it even more fun. The craziest part was doing what they call the “Tarzan Swing.” It was basically just a rope they tethered your harness to and with a “lista?” (are you ready?), they would push you off a high platform and you would free fall until the rope caught and then you’d swing into the jungle. I screamed and then kept laughing so hard, I was crying! It was a great rush and as I was whizzing through the forest with no control, like some kind of monkey, I realized this was the ultimate feeling for ‘letting go,’ like I hope to be doing all year.
At the Canopy Tour I met some cool Americans (sometimes sadly that seems to be an oxymoron). There were two couples—one from Buffalo and the other from Aspen, Colorado.We hit it off right away and it was nice to be with fun, down to earth, outgoing people who were my own age. I ended up kind of inviting myself to dinner with them (I’m usually direct, but being alone, I feel I sometimes have to make friends quicker than I normally would) that night. We went to a place called Sofia’s and I had the nicest meal I’ve had since San Jose (these were not backpackers on a backpacker budget). I ordered the chicken in a plantain crust with a mango salsa and coconut rice. It was beautifully presented and delicious.
Later that night I met back up with my roommate, Marcel from Germany, who’d gone away on a sidetrip for a few days and had now returned. Super nice guy—very friendly and easy going—he made the perfect roommate, but alas, he was also leaving the next day for Nicaragua. We met up at Amigos, the local watering hole, and were joined by Daniella and Yasmine, a couple friends from Switzerland who were also staying at our hotel. Also there was my cute Tico waiter from dinner who’d actually invited me to go dancing at the local ‘discothèque.’ He had a cherub face and the sweetest brown eyes with long eyelashes, but I think he was ten years my junior. I think I’d sit this dance out.
I really enjoyed my new friends—we were a mish mash of German, American, Swiss, Canadian, and Tico. Monteverde definitely was a special place and after three days in this small town I already started to recognize and be greeted by some of the locals. That is definitely something I like and a lesson in staying in each town for a good length of time to enable me to meet and get to know the people. I’m definitely starting to meet more people which is great, but many new friendships are fleeting as we go our separate ways. It is so easy to meet and ‘bond’ with fellow travelers and swap road stories. It makes the solo traveling hardly solo at all!