Letters From Kiana Ch 5- #KianasONeillAdventure

Electric Pulp

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From a farm to another jungle! The next day we were on our way to Monteverde, a beautiful mountainside town in the Costa Rican jungle! Mountain time! The journey there was half the fun. We took our bus to a boat that took us around the mountain followed by a long, hot, bumpy bus ride though the mountains. There was no AC and no paved roads, but the view was absolutely breath taking- endless green hills and clear skies. Beautiful.

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kianas-oneill-adventure

After our long ride we finally got to Monteverde. By the time we reached our hotel, it was cold and rainy. Oh my. I didn’t pack for cold temperatures.  I was in for a treat. Monteverde is at such a high elevation that the jungle town is literally in a cloud. It’s technically known as a cloud forest. The cooler climate is perfect for coffee plantations and endless upon endless species of plants and bugs.

We arrived at our hotel. It was beautiful. On top of a hill! And best of all…it was eco-friendly! As a matter of fact, lots of places in Costa Rica are eco-friendly. So amazing!

We checked-in and quickly headed to our cloud forest nature walk! The chances of rain? Extremely high!  As we walked through the forest, we noticed there weren’t many animals. No monkeys, snakes, or much of anything really. Gustavo, our Contiki tour guide, informed us that the cooler temperatures were ideal for thousands of plants and bugs but not mammals. He told us that just one tree alone can have hundreds upon hundreds of ecosystems living just on a branch or trunk.

The entire forest was so green and damp. It was like walking through my science book. Everything I learned in my AP Environmental Science class was right before my eyes. It was awesome!

We finished our wonderful chilly and rainy walk and heading to dinner. Annette, Meg and I had a delectable dinner at the hotel. Mango chutney chicken and mash potatoes! Amazing.  The fruit in Costa Rica is exceptional! I eat as much fresh fruit as I can and order anything made with fruit. I’ve become addicted to smoothies here!  After our delicious dinner we danced the night away and dreamed of the next days adventures.

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Day 8 was big day! Completely action packed. We kicked off with an amazing coffee tour at San Juan’s Coffee Plantation in Monteverde. Wow! I never knew how much went into making coffee! Did you know it takes a coffee bean 3 years to ferment to then be ready roast? And that there IS a difference between light and dark roast other than color and flavor…there’s a difference in caffeine!

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Guess which has more caffeine?

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Dark roast? Nope! The lighter the bean, the more caffeine. That even means espresso. Espresso is technically the darkest and most roasted of the coffee beans making it fuller in taste and lighter in caffeine. I know…mind blowing! I definitely appreciate coffee much much more!

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I was so amazed of the passion and knowledge our guide had about coffee. She taught us the importance of knowing where your coffee is roasted, because then you know what kind of coffee you like. Every region is grows different types of coffees. Costa Rica is known for producing Arabica beans. Every bag of coffee purchased in Costa Rica is 100% Arabica beans. “Only the best!,” as our guide would say.  Delicioso!

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We even met the owner of the coffee plantation, Don Juan himself!

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Up next…ZIPLINING! So excited to fly above the lush green forest! Fourteen ziplines? No problem! We got our helmets, gloves and harnesses and were ready to go! We clinked our way up the platforms. “Click, chink, buckle… Vamos!”

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Each zipline varied in length and height. Some were short and sweet. Others…not so much! We even did a Tarzan swing…a 50-foot free-fall on a rope. Serious adrenaline rush! The zipline company was so amazing that they gave me my own photo to keep and another for me to sign for them to hang up in their office. Pura Vida!

Two amazing adventures and oh hey! It’s only noon!

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Next was the butterfly garden! I love butterflies they are so beautiful and such delicate creatures. The garden was in a greenhouse dome covered with plants for the butterflies to eat and live. There were so many different kinds!

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I got to hold a few which made me really happy.

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We learned so much. Since butterflies don’t teeth, spikes, venom or any other deadly defense mechanisms, they use their wings to camouflage with their surroundings. Some look like leaves and others are even able to look like owls and snakes to scare off predators. Super creepy.

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They had cabinets full of cocoons and fresh butterflies that came out of their cocoon but couldn’t fly yet. It takes a new butterfly about three hours to “dry” its wings before it can take its first flight.  Muy bonitas las mariposas.

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Next, we were off to the humming bird sanctuary. Wow!! Humming birds are fast! These little birds are so full of life. They are so vibrant in color and shine so beautifully in the sunlight.

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Next we did the canopy tour. We walked through the rain on soil and through several swinging bridges above the forest.

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Something about the forest is so calming. So quiet. So still. So very tranquil.

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Today was a good day. Thank you Costa Rica!

Xoxo..

Kiana

 

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