Blogs from Monteverde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean - page 6


Actually the fancy dress wasn’t to bad! Howard and I went as Poms on Tour – he wore his Boro shirt and I rolled up my trouser legs, wore socks with sandals, put a knotted hanky on my head and stuffed a towel into my t shirt to make a beer belly! Grabbed a bottle of beer and put a fag in my mouth - It got a few laughs, others made more of an effort and Martin went as the Prince of Persia using bed sheets etc with his girlfriend on a leash dressed up as a panther – where she got the ears from I have no idea! Ronnie had arranged for the local dance school to come and do some traditional dancing for us which was nice, even nicer as they didn’t try ... read more
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Monte Verde, Costa Rica
Monte Verde, Costa Rica

We made the decision early on to blitz through Costa Rica, just picking out some highlights. Though beautiful, it's comparatively expensive compared to the rest of CAm and after two weeks in the Corn Islands we had our fill of beautiful beaches. Along with Mike we traveled a couple of hours up into the hills of Monteverde which is renowned for it's pristine Cloud Forests and abundance of birds and other animals, and famed for a host of outdoor activities including ziplining, hiking and canyoning. The change in temperature was remarkable, having just come from the Pacific Coast, we suddenly found ourselves digging out jackets and long pants to keep warm as the thick mists descended upon us. We came here to go ziplining in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. We chose Salvatura as it has 3km ... read more
Dave coming in for a landing
Swing Bridge Monteverde
Melbourne Cup Sweepstakes

12/10/11 Woke up, weather still really bad. Grey, windy and rainy but not cold still 28d. Had a typical Salvadorian brekkie of scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions served with refried beans and some salty cheese like feta. You also normally get fried plantain as well but they must have ran out as had papaya. The coffee was bad. Got a lift to El Cuco a village a 15 min drive away down a bumpy road. The town is pretty shoddy, we went to a place to use the internet and managed to check the weather and surf forecast but the internet was really slow and we had a power cut three times so we gave up in the end. We did manage to find out that we’re in a tropical depression as there’s a ... read more
Concrete barrel
Sleeping swines
Flood in Nicaragua

Sorry, not a lot of pictures for this one... Today we decided to relax a bit. We woke up later in the day and ate some breakfast. Then, headed down the hill to the Frog Pond. We bought tickets and got a guided tour. Lots of frogs... But, they were all sleeping! Almost all of them. Apparently frogs are, for the most part, nocturnal. Luckily, the tickets were good for the whole day, so we left and decided to come back later. Nap, eat, nap... After some much needed r&r, the sun had gone down and we returned to the frog pond. At night, the pond was a different world. The frogs were all awake and croaking. Most of them were right at the front of their cages. Plus, they were much easier to spot given ... read more
Monteverde streets

First thing in the morning, dropped off the rental car, walked to grab breakfast, checked out, then hopped in a van for the jeep-boat-jeep to Monteverde (it would be more aptly named van-boat-van). The van took us down some decent roads to Lake Arenal where we hopped into a large boat. This was the first point in the trip where Shavonn and I wish we'd brought backpacks instead of luggage. It was pretty muddy from the van to the boat, and we had to carry the rather heavy suitcases. The boat ride was about 45 minutes and consisted of relaxing in a cool breeze surrounded by beautiful scenery. It more than made up for carrying the luggage. :) At the end of the boat ride, we hopped into our next van (with a quick photo shoot ... read more
Shavonn enjoying the trip
Beautiful hills
Our van


Monteverde is a little town high up in the mountains, north of San Jose. Due to the poor road network, it takes a long time to get there. Traveling to this area is best in the dry season, as many of the roads are impassable in the rainy season. Monteverde is a cloud forest and is home to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and several smaller biological stations that conduct research and work on sustainability and preservation initiatives. Monteverde was interesting. Besides being very challenging to get to, it was also challenging to live in. We thought our first apartment was too good to be true, and we were right. After purchasing a months worth of food, we were asked to leave after only 2 days. We were particularly bad tenants, you know, we did foolish ... read more
Monteverde National Park
Arenal & Monteverde 032
Arenal & Monteverde 039a

We have been here since Sunday, but today was the best day by far. Unfortunately Alli was too sick, so she stayed in the house to sleep. Mike, Mo, and Amelia - and Shannon and Kai (I'm Shannon) got a fairly early start (though not by Monteverde standards) and were off to the Ecological Sanctuary. The Ecological Sanctuary is a privately owned reserve, and much of it was formerly banana and coffee plantation, and other parts of it are secondary forest. I don't think there is any primary forest, so it's not at all like, say, the big reserves. We pulled into the parking lot and a woman explained - in Spanish - about all the trails. She spoke slowly and we understood it completely - some trails are very easy, others a bit harder, and ... read more

We knew Friday would be our last day in Monteverde. For this reason, we saved the best for last. We decided to finally see the eponymous cloud forest that is the reason that so many people come to this place. Yes, it is immensely popular and we saw more people there than anywhere else we went, but there was definitely a reason for it. The forest is amazing, with all the moss growing off the trees, trees growing upon trees, green everywhere - it looks much like the move Avatar - otherworldly. At one point, we came upon a vista of a huge tree that seemed like all of its branches had other trees or plants growing on it - it was so big, that it reminded me of that big fake tree in the middle ... read more

On this day, we decided _not_ to hike. It was Wednesday, mid-way through our trip. It was one of the most trying days we had with Kai, and Alli had a fever to boot. So in the morning we went on the "El Trapiche" tour, which is a family-owned farm that makes sugar and coffee and fruits. The farm tour takes you to their tilapia pond, through the banana and plaintain fields, pass pineapple, to the coffee barn. An oxcart takes you (or not, if you have babies in a backpack) from the coffee barn to the "Trapiche" where the sugar products are made. You got to see the oxen grind the cane so that the juices run out, and the more modern machine that does it now. We had the chance to make our own ... read more

Or at least, I think it is. The Eternal Children's Rainforest (or El Bosque Eterno de Los Ninos - it sounds better in Spanish) is a preserve created by schoolchildren around the world. Mainly it is reserved as a wild place, but there is one trail, that we could pick up near our hotel, called "Sendero Bajo De Tigre". I believe we breakfasted at Stella's Bakery that day, and continued up the road to the turnoff. We were being followed by a Dalmatian with a fresh wound on his leg. When he ran, he would pick up that leg and run with three legs. Generally he seemed friendly and inclined to be with us, although we had not fed him. However, walking to the reserve, Kai had his first encounter with unfriendly "woof-woofs". The dalmatian drew ... read more

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