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Costa Rican Rainforest By Darryl Dressler

We woke up in our San Jose hotel around 7:30 and ate breakfast before our departure to Earth University. We were able to get an extra hour or two of sleep because of “tico time” (Ticos, the name for the locals, are not as active on Sundays and have no care for time). Breakfast included cereal and yogurt.

On our travel to Earth, we passed through the Cloud Forest and stopped for a picture opportunity. It was a beautiful jungle along the steep mountains with many exotic plants and waterfalls. As we traveled further down the mountains, we departed the cloud forest and entered the rainforest. There was a great amount of humidity here. Earth is located 5 to 6 kilometers from a main road and sits in the middle of the rainforest. The first activity for the day was visiting the botanical gardens, which are cared for by the students of Earth. The gardens are filled with many gorgeous flowers and trees and our group was excited to see the many poisonous dart frogs. We came back for lunch at the university’s cafeteria. Everyone enjoyed the meal of rice, beans, beef, and juice. The most exciting activity of the day followed lunch. We traveled to the forest reserve to take an hour hike in the jungle. Our guide, “Ron,” led the way while pointing out many of the interesting wildlife. We were welcomed by the loud bellow of a howler monkey located a good distance away from us. As we walked we were amazed to see large spiders, leaf-cutter ants, monkey ladders, and some of the biggest trees I have ever seen. Near the end of the hike we had excitement seeing one of the howler monkeys in the canopies. Tom was followed by a tarantula! At this point it started raining in the rainforest, oh the irony! We left dripping wet and smiling. At our bungalows it rained all night but we were happy to have visits by armadillos.