Magical Cloud Forest of Santa Elena


Magical Santa Elena Cloud Forest

We were staying in Santa Elena which had a rainforest with primary vegetation. I was super keen to this because I’d heard it was a very different experience to the secondary vegetation I’d walked in the day before on the hanging bridge tour.

From the moment we stepped into the forest it was magical. The forest was covered in moss, the leaves on the forest floor were soggy-soft and there was a fine mist (a cloud) that hung in the air. It reminded me of the West Coast mossy forests in the South Island (NZ).

We Ditch The Kids

I tried to trick the kids into doing the one and a half hour walk by telling them that we would take the short-cut. Once we got to the shortcut, Carmelo and Giselle protested about taking the longer route and convinced Kenzo that mum and dad were heading in the wrong direction.

We split.

Ajay and I took the long trail while Carmelo and Giselle took their little brothers on the shortcut back to the reception area where they would wait for us.

Ajay and I ran off knowing they were in the capable hands of Carmelo. There was no way they could get lost because the forest was too dense to go off the path and they wouldn’t be bothered by anyone because it was the less popular of the variety of tracks available.

Best Decision

We were so glad we completed the trail. The flora was magical.

By the time we reached the shortcut point where we had split it had been an hour and I’d closed all my rings (the app that measures how many minutes I’ve worked out each day). But now it was time to find the kids. We had been moving at jogging pace but now we found the return trip was made of steep stairs going up. This was about the point we began worrying about how we may have worn out Carmelo with the responsibility of carrying one of his brothers on the long trip back to reception – we assumed Giselle would refuse to carry anyone – lol.

We were right. Carmelo had carried Lui on the climb up and Giselle had “encouraged” Kenzo to walk. Everyone was happy to be reunited and focusing on lunch plans.

The Endangered Quetzal

I had spotted the quetzal the day before on the hanging bridge but Ajay hadn’t seen it so I was excited when we bumped into a tour group that were watching a quetzal up the in trees. I was so glad we didn’t have the little two with us at that point because they would’ve been so loud the quetzals would’ve flown away.

Ajay was able to capture a photo of it. The male has the longer tail and is more colourful. In Guatemala, their currency is called quetzal, named after this bird.

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