On the road to Monteverde


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Published: April 27th 2014
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The morning is free time so I get breakfast at the hotel then after packing my bag YET AGAIN, I take a wander around La Fortuna, picking up a tasty pastry shop lunch on my way to sit in the main square and watch the world go by. It's not as quiet as I would've preferred as a noisy children's event is taking place led by a freaky clown. I see Ben trying to concentrate on a book without much success. He says that earlier the kids had been hunting for chocolate Easter eggs hidden around the park.

Later I go with Franziska and Markus to look for a geocache that's hidden in a road quite near to the bakery I'd stopped at earlier. The cache hint says the cache is well guarded and to ask at the nearby hotel reception if we need help. After a bit of fruitless searching in all the usual likely places we go into the hotel and I ask the very cute guy on reception if he knows anything about a geocache, waving my GPS about as if by way of explanation. The cute guy's face breaks into a big grin and he ducks down under the counter and retrieves a large container with loads of travel bugs and the like inside. A travel bug hotel INSIDE a travel hotel - very funny. We take a travel bug each to drop in a cache back home in the UK and Germany. When we look the travel bugs up we find they have only just been set off on a race with each other so we'll be giving them both a good start.

Soon we are ready to begin our adventurous journey to Monteverde. It's a combo trip - first a van ride to lake Arenal where we board a boat, dragging our assorted rucksacks, bags and wheelies down the steep slope and hoiking them aboard. We find out about the lake. It's actually a man made reservoir. A whole valley was flooded in 1979 and all the resident farmers and villagers were moved by the government to higher ground nearby. The lake is used to generate hydroelectric power and for fishing not extraction for drinking water. The lake and surrounding hills are looking beautiful in the hazy light. Miles and Catherine get a few of us to do 'flabby face' which basically involves snorting like a horse while you're filmed with very quick successional photos. The results are so funny. Stu wins with his alternative sideways head shake.

We pull up at a beach and transfer our bags to another mini-bus. This time we are sharing with some other passengers. We get talking to a young couple from Argentina. He is a musician, plays cello back home, but has a eukelele and a more interesting looking small strummed instrument - I forget its name. We persuade him to give us a tune and I promise to post it on YouTube for him. They get out a mate pot like the ones I'd tried while in Argentina a couple of years back. The others think they are puffing on some sort of weed contraption!

Jeez, the roads are so bumpy. They're not tarmacked, just rough stone tracks and we are thrown all over the place - free Costa Rican massage as Brian calls it. The scenery is stunning, very mountainous, with less tree and vegetation coverage and stretching into the distance for miles. It's actually very similar to the look of the Lake District minus the lakes.

We pass a large wind farm, the massive arms turning so slowly you can hardly detect their movement. It seems Costa Rica isn't just green regarding the environment, but through energy production too, most of their energy coming from hydroelectric power.

We roll up in Monteverde and say goodbye to our Argentinian friends. Our hotel is up the hillside out of town. I have a lovely room upstairs this time. Usually us singles have tended to be put in the more hidden away rooms so it makes a change to get a nicer room this time. It is noticeably cooler up in the cloud forest region we are now in and makes a difference to have cool mist all around. We grab much needed showers and then walk into town for an evening meal - thankfully there is a short cut and it proves a wise move chucking a torch in my bag! The stars are looking beautiful tonight as we walk back after our meal. Phew, steep climb!


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