Monteverde geocaching

Published: May 5th 2014
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The next morning we're not meeting up for our ziplining activity until about 10am so I get an early breakfast and then set off down the hill into town to pick up a couple of Monteverde geocaches that had shown up on my gps. I have to run the gauntlet of the mass of yapping little dogs halfway down the hill. One little guy is more friendly and decides to join me in my early morning jaunt. He accompanies me all the way into the town, stopping every so often to let me catch him up or to mark his territory by cocking his little leg. I take a left turn and it seems this isn't the way he wants to go and the little dog and I part company.

The first geocache is right in town but it gets me confused. The exact direction isn't obvious when I get near to ground zero. The cache is called 'Near the Guitite tree' so I know to look for a tree at least, but the direction seems to be pointing me straight into a busy builder's yard with guys shifting timber about. That can't be right so I try to the right of it - no luck. Then I see an entrance to a hotel to the left of the builder's yard. Aha I'm in the right place; the metres gradually ticking down as I get nearer and nearer to where the cache is hidden. And then I see the guitite tree with a very obvious, large geocache tub attached to a branch. My fellow geocachers from my group had already been to find this one and told me there was a barber opposite who smiled and waved at them when he saw them finding the cache. I must be too early as there is no-one about to witness my find. I sign the log book, take a few photos and then replace the cache. This is my second geocache in Costa Rica guarded by a hotel employee. The caches must go walk about quite a bit if they need protecting in this way. It's so great finding geocaches in far flung places. I love that this is such a globally popular pastime shared by so many different people all around the world.

There is another cache a bit further out of town heading up the steep hill on the opposite side of the valley to my hotel. As I have plenty of time I decide to go off in search of it and start the climb up the stony track out of town. For once it's pretty hot in Monteverde and there isn't any cooling mist or rain showers. It's rocky, dusty trek up the hill. All the roads in this region are untarmacked and as a result very rough and bumpy, particularly noticeable when in a vehicle. Tourist guide books say this is how the locals prefer it, explaining that they are happy with the number of tourists visiting currently and don't want to make it easier to visit thereby increasing numbers to the area. Brian had been talking to the locals about this issue and found out a different story. Nearly everyone he asked was desperate for the roads to be improved as their vehicles were getting completely wrecked. They also felt that the number of hotels in the area would necessarily limit numbers visiting anyway. So basically what the guide books are saying about Monteverde's roads is complete rubbish.

As I climb higher I can see right across the valley and, hazy in the distance, even down as far as the sea. There are a couple of vultures flying and soaring below and I finally get a half decent photo of them that isn't just a dark speck in the sky. A few vehicles trundle by giving their passengers a free Monteverde Massage.

I pass a row of houses and shops all with the corrugated tin roofs that are popular in Costa Rica. I'm up really high now and the metres are ticking down so I must be nearly at the geocache. I appear to be approaching yet another hotel. I'm seeing a bit of a theme here. This time the cache is named after the hotel as there in front of me is the Rainbow Valley hotel. I walk straight towards the cache hiding place and can see where it is straight away. The clue said it was hidden under a tile at the base of a tree and there it is, very obvious. There's no-one about so it's really easy to extricate the box without anyone seeing me and sign the log book. There's a travel bug inside (an item, with a unique code marked on an attached dog tag, that you move from cache box to cache box). This one is a toy helicopter and I decide to take it so it can come back home with me to the UK. My geocaching friends haven't been to this one as there's no hotzenplottz and x-franzi signature in the book. Yay I beat them to it! I take a few photos and then start off back down the hill.

Sadly there isn't enough time to attempt the other geocache in the area so I head back to my hotel to log my finds on the geocaching website. When I log the travel bug I find that it is one that hotzenplottz and x-franzi had brought with them from Germany and left in the Poas volcano geocache before meeting up with our group. Someone else had brought it to Monteverde and put it in the Rainbow Valley cache and now I had it. I show my find to Markus and Franziska when I see them and they find it funny that their travel bug has followed them around Costa Rica only to be going back to Europe where it came from.

Enough geocaching silliness - time for some ziplining...

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