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16Jun14

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Postman Butterflies

Welcome to the cloud forest! We rented a car and made the drive up Monteverde’s notoriously rocky and rutted dirt access roads. And we’ve been rewarded with beautiful sights, cool insects and even cooler climate.

Monteverde is a well-trodden tourist destination, so we won’t be staying here long or we’ll blow our monthly budget. But so far, our most memorable experiences have been a morning nature hike in Reserva Santa Elena, afternoon coffee prepared by Chemex, and learning about beetles and butterflies at the Jardín de Mariposas, which we highly recommend.

Last, but not least, a big happy birthday to my dad today!!

 

Goodbye to Samara

Saying good-bye to our home away from home in Sámara, with our kind hosts, Cindy and David

 

Drive to Monteverde

The view while driving up to Monteverde

 

Santa Elena Preserve 2

Reserva Santa Elena rainforest

 

Donald Santa Elena

Our naturalist guide, Donald, talking to us about the plants and insects

 

Beetle Monteverde

One of the many, many species of beetles that inhabit the forest

 

Angelina Jolie flower

This is not a flower, but a leaf that a flower will grow out of

 

Donald Tarantula

Donald using his cell phone flashlight and a stick to try to coax a tarantula out of its burrow — thankfully it didn’t work

 

Butterfly Santa Elena Reserve

Glasswing butterfly

 

Santa Elena Preserve

More Reserva Santa Elena, including this river that leads to Lake Arenal

 

Buttress Root Tree

A tree with “buttress” roots

 

Tamara Chemex Coffee

Eagerly waiting for our caffeine fix at Stella’s

 

Hercules Beetle

The Hercules beetle, clinging to a banana — those aren’t for pinching, they’re horns for fighting other males

 

Owl Butterfly

Our butterfly garden guide with an owl butterfly — notice how their pattern looks like an owl on the left and a snake on the right to fool predators

 

Morphos Butterfly

The Morpho butterfly, which prefers to eat fermented fruit, is essentially drunk most of the time and flies in a zig-zag pattern which makes it difficult to track by predators, despite its vibrant blue on the inside (see video below)

 

 

Leafcutter Ants

Leafcutter ant colony — the leaves decompose and feed this fungus that is their home

 

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