First of all – Costa Rica is unreal. We went from one end to the other and the change in scenery, culture and climate was awesome. But what remained the same was the extremely kind and helpful nature of Costa Ricans. They were always more than happy to point two wayward Canadians in the right direction.
Monteverde translating to Green Mountain, is known as the mountain top paradise. The weather was much cooler than the Caribean Coast. We were literally in the clouds.
Day 7/8 – Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Our first day in Monteverde was pretty quiet. We checked out the town and got groceries (or as Kik calls them “supplies”). We learned a little about the history of the town. During the 1950s Quakers from the US came to Monteverde because of their pacifist beliefs after several were arrested as draft dodgers during the Korean war. They chose Costa Rica because the Costa Rican government had just abolished their military and the soil was good for dairy farming.
On our second day, we walked to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Don’t be dumb asses, take the shuttle or taxi to the forest reserve. We were told it a 4-5 km walk with restaurants and artisan galleries along the way. Which is half true – In fact, it was a grueling 7 km uphill hike on gravel and uneven terrain. We did enjoy fresh watermelon drinks and visit the Monteverde Cheese Factory along the way though!
Finally, we arrived…or so we thought. There’s basically a “fake” entrance about one kilometer before the park entrance. We walked up to the ticket booth and asked to purchase tickets but declined a guided tour. They handed us our “ticket” and told us to pay at the top. Weird right?! Apparently, this is kind of a scam. They’re basically a separate company trying to get you to book their guides and not the actual reserve guides. Good thing we were doing the non-guided hike or else we would have fallen right into their trap.
After going through the real park entrance, we paid $26.00 USD/pp to enter the park. The hike took us three hours to complete, but it was worth every penny. We were fortunate to see some wildlife, a mountain peak view point, a suspension bridge, and a water fall. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of it. Needless to say we took the bus home costing us a whopping $2.50 USD combined. Kik’s phone calculated 22 500 steps or 19.61 km completed by foot.
Day 9 – Night Walk
You’d think after all that hiking, we’d had enough? Kinkajou Night Walk would offer us an opportunity to learn about the nocturnal wildlife of the rain forest. The hike costs $23.00 USD/pp including a shuttle to get you there and back. At first, it was a little lame. There’s about a billion tourists running around with flashlights (we were the losers with headlamps) but then things picked up quickly. We saw deadly vipers, frogs, sloths, a toucan, a possum, insects, and a armadillo. Our guide was really great and not only let us take our time to check out the animals but seemed to have a real passion for wildlife.
Day 10 – En route to Liberia
We left Monteverde this morning at 6:00 AM and headed to Liberia, Costa Rica. There’s no direct bus to Liberia so we had to jump on the bus heading to Puntarenas and then hop off about two hours later when we hit the Pan-American Highway. It’s always weird being left in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, our connecting bus to Liberia came by shortly after. This cost us about $26 total and took about 4 hours. You can get shuttles for the trip but they run around $50 + per person. We are spending the night at the Hotel Liberia and then off to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua tomorrow.