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Published: June 24th 2013
One the way to Monteverde
PR agents for Monteverde would describe the travel experience as a free “butt massage”, which is the best possible way to describe the bumpy, curvy, unpaved road that gets you there. While I was looking forward to seeing it again, I was definitely NOT looking forward to the drive. Fortunately, traveling to Monteverde from La Fortuna had an exciting surprise. We get there by ferry. You still get the free butt massage, but before hand you carry your luggage down to this small boat which takes you over Lake Arenal to the other side. It was a beautiful bonus…
There are 3 major things to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica – zip-lining, a coffee tour, and a night time walking tour. The first two I was able to check off with my family, so upon arrival (at our adorable cabin themed hostel) we booked the night tour right away. Then, we explored the very hilly town and had a typical Costa Rican lunch. After lunch, a couple of my friends and I stopped by a coffee shop that was right near a hummingbird garden. One of my fellow travelers has been here before and
What a view!
she has been dreaming of the coffee at this one particular shop ever since. We talked, getting to know each other better, and enjoyed a variety of hummingbirds zooming around us until it was time to head back for the night tour.
For the night tour, there were 5 of us with each guide, and essentially it’s a hike, in the cloud forest, in the dark. Our guide would use his “owl eyes” and a flashlight to spot nighttime wildlife. We saw some really cool stuff: lots of different bugs, a venomous green vine snake in striking position, an adorable kinkajou, and another sloth that was one the move (!!). But, what our guide was the most excited about were birds: a male Resplendent Quetzal and a Toucan. I guess the Quetzal is one of the most famous birds in Costa Rica, as it plays an important role on Mayan mythology, and our guide was so excited by the spot that two things happened: 1. the head of the refuge came out to find us to see it himself and then 2. called our overall tour guide to tell her about it. It
Traveling with a group... :)
was very cool, but I think that it was a little wasted on me because I am not a birder. I posted some pictures of these animals but please note: these are all stolen from google (also I need to take a class on night photography when I get home).
After another delicious dinner, I crashed into bed. The next morning, I was scheduled to go canyoning, which is rappelling down a waterfall. I had this option in La Fortuna, and I decided that I would to the Cano Negro tour instead. The major reason for this was because I wanted to see wildlife (at least that’s what I told myself), but I was also definitely afraid to do it. I knew it would be physically challenging, and I wasn’t sure that I was up for it. Fitness and agility are not among my top strengths, for sure. So, I decided to opt for the slow, easy, safe tour – and I even shared with my mom how practical/cautious I was being in one of our “words with friends” conversations. And I had a great time on the nature tour. BUT, there was
Me and my roommate
a teeny, tiny part of me that was nagging at me for choosing the easy one. Then, because I had already done zip-lining and the coffee tour, Adriana (my overall tour guide) and I had to do some serious brainstorming to come up with a fun option for me. The owner of the hostel we were staying in suggested canyoning, and I went for it!
The experience was tough both physically and mentally. My tour guides (one of whom seemed to be the owner) picked me up at my hotel. I was the only one going and I assumed that we would scoop up others along the way. Wrong. It ended up being just me and my guides. The location was gorgeous – an organic farm that happens to have a series of 6 waterfalls (the biggest being 131 feet). The got me set up in my harness and we were off. I’ve done some scary things – bungee jumping, cage diving with great whites – but, this was definitely the toughest for me. With the other things I have done, you just have to put some basic trust in other people –
Our adorable hotel in Saint Elena/Monteverde
that their experience and expertise will keep you safe. But with canyoneering, you have to trust other people and
yourself. That was hard for me. But, it was totally worth it. By the end, I was a little less terrified until the final waterfall when I realized that I had to drop the last several feet into a pool of water. WTF?! Cool but “un poco loco”.
For the rest of the day, I just relaxed. I wandered around Monteverde, which is a almost like hiking because it’s so hilly. I people watched and enjoyed the relatively cool weather. At our evening meeting (which happens at 7pm to discuss the events of the next day), we learned the ins and outs of crossing the Costa Rica and Nicaragua border. That’s when it sunk in that after almost a month in Costa Rica, it’s time to move on. I’ve had quite an experience here. There will definitely be some things that I’ll miss (like butterflies in sight literally all the time) and some that I won’t (CR is surprisingly expensive). But, I’m definitely ready to move on and experience another new culture. Pura vida,
Stolen from google. Specially selected to match what I saw
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