Blogs from Santa Elena, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


People don’t really come to Santa Elena/Monteverde to see bats, but it turns out there is an excellent live bat display just outside town. The connection is that there are plenty of bats native to the Monteverde area, there’s not a huge amount to see, but it’s the sheer enthusiasm of the folk who run it that makes this a great place to visit. I’m surprised but we can take pictures of the bats, though it is very hard to get good ones as the bats aren’t keen to stay still for too long. The main attraction here though (excluding the adventure parks which might well be the main reason for some to come) are the cloud forest reserves. There are actually 3 separate reserves you can visit, we do 2 of them, both on self-guided ... read more

Tuesday Nice sunny morning, but very windy. We had our usual good breakfast here. I asked the host when the parakeets would be here in his tree, and he said they were there at 5am. Missed them! They may be back about 4pm, but sometimes they don't show up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Our original plan was to go to the Santa Elena Reserve, but since we were in Monteverde yesterday, we decided to pass on this one. This reserve is smaller than Monteverde. However, ten percent of the species here aren't found in Monteverde, which is on the other side of the continental divide. Spent the morning making online reservations for stops later in our trip. We had an easy, relaxed day today, but we did spend quite a bit of time walking around ... read more
Morphos Cafe
Bob and his Imperial
Our Hotel

Monday Bright sunny morning. We could see the ocean in the distance from our balcony. Breakfast is included at our hotel...big fruit plate, toast, and home-grown, organic coffee. Delicious! Just perfect for us. Today we were off to the Monteverde Biological Reserve. This is a cloud forest, and has been labeled the most famous cloud forest in the world. It contains over 100 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds, over 3000 plant species, and the largest orchid diversity in the world. Only 3% of the reserve is open for visitation. We caught the bus to Monteverde at 730am, just up the hill from our hotel, in front of the drugstore. The reserve lets in only 160 people at a time, so it is best to get an early start. The road inclined quickly, and ... read more
Old Tree in Cloud Forest
Bob on the Suspension Bridge
Cloud Forest Mist

Sunday Quiet here in La Fortuna except for the 5am rooster! Got a little more sleep, packed up, said good-bye to the cat, and walked to the bus station to catch the 8am bus to Tilaran, heading for our final destination of Santa Elena. Tilaran is a small town on the SW end of the lake, Laguna de Arenal. It is known as a regional ranching center. The ride from La Fortuna to Tilaran took about three hours, leaving exactly on time. Tickets cost $11 total. The bus goes around Laguna de Arenal, which is supposed to be one of the best wind-surfing places in the world. We drove past several metal structures, as well as some fancy hot springs, expensive hotels, and near-manions. The greenery was lush, with many horses and cattle. Then drove through ... read more
Brunch in Tilaran
Tilaran Church
Central Park in Tilaran

Grace had a flight booked for early Thursday morning, but we convinced her that if she came to Monteverde it would be totally worth it. So, our mission was to fit in as much as possible in 24 hours. Our bus from San Jose left at 6.30, and is supposed to take 4.5/5 hours - but the roads are good (dry) at the moment so we were in Santa Elena at 10.30! The whole area is beautiful and green, and although it was sunny it was much cooler than we've had since arriving in Central America - still warm, but much nicer! We checked into El Tucan, and our mission began - we had until 2pm the next day, when Grace needed to be on a bus back to San Jose. Our hostel was very helpful ... read more

Monteverde was one of Costa Rica’s top attractions. Its cloud forests formed an otherworldly landscape of misty forest vistas and rolling mountains that are home to a stunning array of wildlife. It is a bird-watchers’ paradise that draws people from all over the world who come hoping to get a glimpse of its most famous avian resident the emerald green and red resplendent quetzal. The main town in the region is Santa Elena, a compact tourist town with a laid-back feeling about it. We arrived in Santa Elena at around 2:00 in the afternoon. Our journey from Bijagua had been long, but enjoyable. The majority of the drive was on paved roads and, with the exception of a one-lane construction zone where I got to carry the red flag signifying that I was the last car ... read more
Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 1
Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 2
Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest 3

Our journey to Costa Rica was long. Leana, Dan & I met up with a British couple we had become acquainted with on the island and took a boat back to Rivas in the morning. We then met a couple girls from Germany and so we all shared two taxis to the border because it was pretty cheap since we had a group and obviously quicker than taking the bus. I believe the drive only took about half an hour. On the way we saw tons of wind turbines and I was impressed that Nicaragua had so many here. When we inquired about them to the driver he told us some of them had been there a few years and some were just a year old. We got to the border and went thru several lines ... read more

"Pura Vida" (pure life) is the slogan of the Costa Rican people and that's what you hear a lot and how they live their life: relax and enjoy, everything will be ok! As we told you, we were planning to visit the Marino Ballena national park last sunday. After we woke up with the shouting of the howler monkeys (brulapen, our hotel was close to the forest), we took a boat trip. The guide told us we would see dolphins, but no whales, unless we would be very lucky. After about half an hour, the guide received a phonecall: another boat spotted a whale (yeah that's how it works a few kilometres away from the coast on the Pacific Ocean...). So we turned to another direction and went full speed to the place to be. And ... read more
Marino Ballena National park
Brown pelicans in Marino Ballena
Gyanendra enjoying the see and the sun

Once again there will be an English version after the Spanish! Don't fret. Tengo mucho escribir. Hoy, el domingo, fue un día ocupada. Salí de Monteverde a las ocho de la mañana y encontré la familia que voy a vivir con por las próximas dos semanas. Y no pude dormir anoche porqué tuve miedo que voy a perder mi paseo de Monteverde a San José. Pero antes de hablo sobre hoy, necesito escribir sobre miércoles, jueves, viernes y sábado, 4 días en Monteverde. Miércoles: No recuerdo mucho de miércoles. Tuve clases y después de clase, pudimos cocinar almuerzo con la cocinera de la escuela. No recuerdo que se llama el plato pero fue delicioso y tuvo arroz, carne (estofado), ensalada, y plátanos fritos. Creo que después de este, regresé a casa e hice nada excepto mi ... read more
My Canopy mates, 2 Aussies and a Swiss
You get a bit dirty
It is a bit scary when you don't know where you are going

Disclaimer: The Spanish may not be correct but I tried hard! After the Spanish is a more detailed account in English of the past 4 days! Enjoy. Hint: You can enlarge the photos! I suggest doing this with the ones of the monkeys so you can actually see them! Tengo mucho para escribir y no tengo mucho tiempo. Después de escribiendo mi blog, necesito hacer mi tarea y ya son las nueve y media de la noche. Clase empiece a las ocho de la mañana y si quiero comer, necesito levantarme a las seis y media de la mañana por lo menos. Han sido cuatro días desde la última vez que escribió por mi blog. Tengo que hablar sobre sábado, domingo, lunes, y hoy, martes. Primero sábado. Sábado miré el partido de fútbol americano de los ... read more
she salted everything!
Adios Amigos
So beautiful

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