The rainforest of Central America

Crossing the land border into Costa Rica was less stressful than I had anticipated. I had heard some horror stories, so arrived prepared. All I remember now is being extremely hot and there being quite a bit of walking. I have a lovely photo of me at the border, which no one needs to see! First thoughts though, love the money!

First stop in Costa Rica was Monteverde, the cloud forest. This little town had such a great feel, if a little touristy, but immediately I loved the vibe. As we were making our way along the windy, bumpy roads the heavens opened. The rainforest quite literally.

Our hostel was up the top of a very long and steep hill, luckily 4×4 taxis were around in abundance. Dinner was local, and had Casado, beef, rice and beans. Came with a delicious local tamarind sauce (just fyi – this gets confiscated in Canadian airports when trying to bring home. I am still not ok). Local beer – Imperial. Also delicious.

Turns out Monteverde is brilliant for spontaneous nights out. Headed to Bar Amigos where there was a lot of dancing, beer, some shots, hat stealing and fuzzy but amazing memories. Side note – squirt (genuine Costa Rican soft drink) and rum is an excellent drink to start the evening with.

The next morning however, I was less excitable. Had an action packed day planned to make the most of my time in this town. The day began with a 6am alarm, 5 hours sleep and a raging hangover. However the best way to get rid of this was an early morning walk through the Santa Elena Cloud Forest. This is a must do. We decided not to splash out the extra for a guide. But in hindsight I think this was a mistake. While the forests absolutely beautiful, we did miss out on the nature which I think a guide would have been able to point out.

There was an amazing tower, which when you climbed had the most stunning view of the Arenal volcano in the distance.

Next up on the days agenda was zip lining. Anyone who has been to Monteverde will tell you this is something not to be missed. I was a little nervous about this but have learnt to give (most things) a go. I never got the hang of the whole braking part which meant the end of the first 6 lines were absolutely terrifying. The longer lines after this were much better, they did the braking for you.

The highlight however, was the superman line. Attached to the line by a harness to your back, you are essentially flying unbelievably high over the tree tops of the forest. The first run I was slightly terrified, and irrationally clung onto my harness for dear life. However on the return line I spread my arms. Honestly the closest I ever got to fly and I have never felt so free.

I did however draw the line at the Tarzan swing. I watched others do and knew that was absolutely my limit!

For lunch, yes it was still only lunchtime, we headed to Taco’s Taco’s in town. Oh my goodness. So tasty.

Refuelled, we headed off for the afternoons activities. Disappointment. We went to a coffee plantation and chocolate tour. It was quite a let down, not helped by the absolutely torrential rain. The one good thing was that we actually saw a sloth!

I enjoyed my time at Monteverde, I would have liked to take things a little slower. And there were definite cake places I wish I had time to visit, but all in all a couple of days here definitely suffices if you are pushed for time. Unless wandering deeper and deeper into the rainforest is for you, then really there is no where like it!

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