After a whirlwind of classes, field trips, and cultural experiences this first month, it is definitely a good idea to sit back and reflect on my experiences in Costa Rica thus far. Although it seems like every day is better than the last, I have to admit that I have a favorite moment that will be hard to beat: class in the clouds.

On Valentine’s Day, we left bright and early for Monteverde Cloud Forest. Compared to the forest we visited the week before, this tropical cloud forest was much colder and wetter. Everything shimmered in a light dusting of dew from the passing clouds. We sat along one of the trails, listening to our morning lecture. Honestly, it felt like I was in a scene straight out of Jurassic Park.

We spent three days hiking different trails in the park, attending classes, and conducting our own experiments for Tropical Ecology. My partner and I decided to analyze the variation in spider web diameters across an altitudinal gradient. Basically, we measured the diameter of webs we found at different elevations in the park. Although this might sound tedious or uninteresting, it was actually one of my favorite activities.

Just when I thought the trip couldn’t get any better, we went for a hike at Bajo del Tigre. What we thought would be a casual stroll before dinner turned into so much more. One of our professors spotted a two-toed sloth! Although some people may not define a sloth as “exciting,” we were all overjoyed to see the furry guy (especially since before our trip our professor said there was only a 0.1% chance of seeing one). All in all, I’d have to say, it was just another productive week in paradise.