Our final destination before heading back to San Jose to continue on to Nicaragua was Monteverde, one of Costa Rica’s major ecotourism destinations located in the Cordillers de Tilatan mountain range.
Our main purpose of visiting the area was to explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, “the jewel in crown of cloud forest reserves” as described by National Geographic. And it did not disappoint.
The drive to Monteverde took about three hours on mostly good roads however the last hour plus was essentially uphill on extremely narrow and winding pothole filled roads. If you got stuck behind a slow moving vehicle there was really nothing you could do except wait for a short reprieve from the road curves and step on the gas and hope like hell no one was going to come around the corner ahead. Fortunately things went smoothly and if anything, we had SUV’s on our tail just dying to pass us. We weren’t in a rush but we were driving above the speed limit. So there.
On a side note, the route back to San Jose was different with mostly nice paved and wider roads and mostly downhill.
We stayed at a nice lodge, Miztli Lodge and Adventure, but it was a little away from town, which was downhill from the lodge and a “no way jose” hike back uphill so we took taxis to get to town if any alcohol was to be on the evening menu.
The day after our arrival we booked a 9:00 am bus ride to the entrance of Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, paid $42 USD entrance and spent the next three hours exploring this incredible area of biodiversity. Plants grow upon plants grow upon moss grow upon rock. The area was bursting with growth. Pictures don’t do justice to the this amazing landscape and once at higher elevations you enter the clouds that literally speed through from the Caribbean side towards the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Kind of at a loss for words to describe.
After a little rest later in the afternoon we took a taxi to the local watering hole, Bar Amigo, had some cool ones and then ate at a very average Italian joint near our place. I say very average because Joyce ordered a glass of vino tinto, red wine. When the waiter brought the wine Joyce had a sip and it was very cold. I said something along the lines of “cold, no”. So he came back with the same glass of wine but had added ice cubes. Very entertaining. So, I then put on my Spanish speaking cap and slowly explained that vino blanca should be cold (fria) and vino tinto should be room temperature (ambiente). Joyce got her glass of ambient temperature wine and it was apparently quite good.
We had one day left in Monteverde before heading back to San Jose so we spent the next morning hiking a secondary and primary rain forest that was very close to our lodge, Reserva Bajo Del Tigre, also known as Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica’s largest private reserve. The reserve was founded by donations from children in 44 countries and is run by a nonprofit conservation organization, the Monteverde Conservation League. Visit acmcr.org for a lot more information on this reserve.
The hike around this reserve was substantially more difficult than the cloud reserve with large gains in altitude, rooted and rocky trails and steep inclines. It was a real workout.
We wandered around town afterwards and had lunch then went back to the lodge for a siesta and then went across the street from us to a nice little hotel and had a very good but expensive dinner. And for some reason they really didn’t like to give you much butter for your buns.
We headed back to San Jose the next day, March 4th and then departed to Managua, Nicaragua March 5th for the next leg of our journey.