Our first day in Costa Rica started with a hike in the forest at the University of Georgia campus. We spent much time discussing the ecology of the flora and fauna of Monteverde. One interesting thing we learned was the symbiotic relationship between the cecropia tree and the aztec ants. The tree provides shelter for the ants, as it is hollow on the inside. The ants, in turn, ward off any potential predators or disease that may plague the tree. As we trekked further into the jungle, we witnessed more astounding organisms that inhabit the forest. We also spent our first day volunteering at a tree nursery where we pulled weeds and prepped areas for seeding. In conclusion of our first day, we explored the same jungle, but at night, where it became a different world. It gave us a completely new perspective of the tropical forest. We saw tarantulas, frogs, bioluminescent fungus, and heard the songs of many insects. Lots of "oos and aahs" were said.
Day 2: Adventure in the Cloud Forest
"Nothing is wrong in nature."
This quote said by one of the tour guides, Manolo, that rings so true; and how amazing it was to view the forest from so many different angles today. Some of us made our way to the Continental Divide at the top of a mountain, while others saw a rare bird called a Quetzal. Later in the day, we were able to get a bird's eye view of the canopy via zip lines. It was a nerve wracking, exciting, adrenaline rush. There was a series of 8 zip lines that took us through the clouds and over the forest. We had a blast and would recommend this exhilarating opportunity! We wrapped up the day with another delicious meal here at the UGA campus, exhausted, but ready for more adventure!