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Published: January 31st 2008
Many beautiful vistas of the mountains and the gulf on the 2 hour 36 KM drive up to Monteverde.
We have to go to Monteverde. When the McLeod’s visited Costa Rica some 17 years ago they never made it to the famous Costa Rican community of Monteverde because they didn’t have a 4x4. Monteverde has a unique history, climate, geography, ecology, and is very difficult to get to. Therefore people want to go there. Monteverde, means Green Mountain in English, and after spending two nights in Monteverde I wonder what kind of green the name refers to. I'm pretty sure you know it isn't the green that Puerto Viejo is known for and that what I'm talking about is dollars. The area has outstanding attractions including adventure tours like zip-lining, and nature tours and attractions such as the insect, bat, frog, serpent, night hike, horseback riding, quad, and tree planting tours...all at a cost. Since you've made the trip and there isn't much else to do...why not buy yourself a great time!
The plan was to go to Monteverde to hike in the Cloud Forest and enjoy the fresh weather and views from the top of the continental divide. Since we didn’t want to punish our little car Lachlan picked us up and dropped us off at the bus
Benjamin was amused by the towel swan.
right on schedule. The three hour bus ride from Esparza to Monteverde offers some spectacular views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the mountains. When we arrived we were welcomed by the McLeod’s, who despite leaving an hour after us had already checked in to the hotel and were exploring the town when we pulled in. The hotel, Poco a Poco, was very clean, and check in was smooth. We were welcomed in our room by one of the towel swans and we were off to explore Monteverde.
Our first stop was the Monteverde Cheese Factory. The $10 pp tour we went on explained how the community of Monteverde was established by a group of Quaker pacifists from the United Stated who decided to leave the US rather than serve in the military. We also learned about how the cheese factory was established and of course how they make the cheese and other products at the factory. After the tour we decided that we needed a rest and the headed back to the hotel to enjoy the pool. The McLeod’s headed off to the Bat Jungle and enjoyed an enthusiastic and educational $8 pp tour of the bats of
Monteverde Cheese Factory
The tour was interesting...$8 interesting...maybe a bit steep. The samples made it all good in the end.
Costa Rica. Jared has a keen interest in bats and the tour did not disappoint. Our time at the pool was also enjoyable, however, the wind was picking up at an alarming rate. The temperatures in Monteverde are normally about 5-10 degrees cooler than Esparza so with the wind gusts it was actually feeling cold. We did pack our jackets and for the first time in Costa Rica we were wearing them. As it was New Year’s Eve we wanted to make sure we got seats in a restaurant but after calling around we decided that picking up pizza and having a party in the room would be better. The kids played Super Banco, the Costa Rican version of monopoly, and the adults chilled out with drinks and conversation. Some made it to midnight and ….I didn’t. There were fireworks going off all night and the wind was howling at gale force strength.
After having a great sleep we started the New Year off with a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. After paying the $15 pp entrance fee we headed off on a hike in the forest. We all hiked together to a beautiful waterfall and then
Poor Man's Umbrella
The boys found this shelter on our hike through the cloud forest. If we keep on our spending pace maybe they'll need to use one of these for real when it rains.
we took the short loop back to the office and the McLeod’s went on the long loop hoping to see some wildlife. The loop we took back was shorter than expected and with plenty of time I decided to take my family to a vista I found on the map. The viewpoint was about a kilometer away from the office and on the trail the McLeod’s would be using so off we went. After hiking uphill for 45 minutes we found the McLeod’s but no vista. We told them what we were looking for and they said they didn’t see any vista nearby. We hiked down the steep trail together and perused the overpriced gift shops. Owen really wanted a wooden owl puzzle carving and after much discussion he bought it for $8. After we walked to the Hummingbird Gallery right next door and enjoyed seeing an amazing amount of hummingbird of all sorts of colours and sizes. With plenty of hiking under our belts we headed off to the Tree House Restaurant in town for lunch. We ordered our lunch from an impressive menu and then we waited…and waited…and waited. I thought for a moment we might be celebrating
Look it is a waterfall.
Benjamin’s birthday in that restaurant but we would have had to wake him up as he had a one hour long sleep with his head on the table waiting for the food to come. Apparently there was a problem with some equipment in the kitchen but when the food did arrive it was delicious and Ben was well rested.
Seeing Ben sleeping on the table at a restaurant has become quite commonplace. In our last entry I mixed up some days and inadvertently forgot to tell about a night at a wonderful restaurant in Mateo Limon a small coastal community near Esparza. The night of the wedding proposal was the second last night in Esparza. The last night in Esparza we went to for seafood at Lena’s. Everyone was excited about having the highly recommended Camarones con Arroz, or Shrimp with Rice. Notice that the dish is called shrimp with rice and not rice with shrimp. Of course we had a very busy few days preceding that evening, including the zip-lining that afternoon. We arrived at the restaurant around 6:15 and on the way Benjamin had an appetizer and fell asleep. We carried him in and he woke for
This restaurant and hotel have been built interlaced with a giant living tree...cool and weird.
a brief moment only to lay his head down on the table and fall back asleep for the entire evening. Actually he never woke up until the next morning. It was crazy sitting at the table again in Monteverde two days later with Benjamin sleeping soundly with his head on the table.
With the winds howling our plans for some pool action did not seem appealing so we went off to the Frog Pond $10 pp. The tour was outstanding and with our tickets we were permitted return at night to see the nocturnal frogs in action. The guide at the Frog Pond was great and so knowledgeable. The kids really loved it and learned so much. With an early morning ahead of us and a huge travel day back to Esparza by bus and then driving to Samara the next day we ate dinner at Poco a Poca and went to bed early. Dinner at Poco a Poca was very good and we enjoyed the evening. The winds were so strong the glass doors of the restaurant were being blown open and we saw an elderly man get blown from the entrance to his car. We caught the
Either Benjamin was very tired or the service was very slow...or BOTH.
6:30 AM bus from Monteverde to Esparza without a hitch and were on our way to Playa Samara and Hacienda San Fernando for five days of relaxation.
We added our contribution to the Green Mountain with pleasure. Monteverde was great but it is a place where it is difficult to do anything without paying an entrance fee. Monteverde is a place where you could experience most everything Costa Rica is famous for except the beach. Unfortunately the amount of visitors has likely scared off most of the wildlife and the only thing you’ll see in the forest is trees.
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