Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cloud & Rain Forest of Costa Rica - Monteverde. Great time meeting another traveling family.

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We left Alajuela fairly late - we had been told the night before there were buses every hour.
Then suddenly the next morning we were told something completely different from a new guy working at the hostel.
He was adamant there were no buses til mid afternoon direct to Monteverde.
So back to finding our first guy.
Fortunately he was still there, and about to leave, so we had him write the town we had to get the first bus to.
We had a taxi take us for an extremely long ride, it should have been 6 blocks, but somehow he managed to go about 25 blocks and I knew we were getting stung.
He was a taxi driver, called by the guy who gave us the wrong info.
So lesson here, is go out and hail one in the street, and negotiate a price without the metre.
We got to the bus station, and they would let us pay in US$, but at a lousy rate.
Costa Rica was costing me a lot - maybe that is the "Costa" bit, says Explorason.

We take what is meant to be a 1 hour bus trip and it was about 3 hours.
To add to that, there is no bathroom, so when it stops I had my son dashing madly to the bathroom.
Somehow we end up on the Pacific Coast - at Puntarenas.
This seems strange as we are going to the centre of Costa Rica.

We get a fairly good deal on lunch at the bus terminal.
We then head across the road to wait for the next bus.
There are only 2 afternoon buses - and 45 minutes apart - more weirdness.

But we get to see the coast, and it is hot and stuffy.

We are then told the bus is 1 hour to Monteverde.
But it is raining and it is a terrible road.

We start to head through the cloud forest.
The trip takes 4.5 hours.

We arrive at Monteverde Hostel Lodge.
This is no hostel.  This is a gorgeous lodge.
To get to our room, we have to cross a suspension bridge.

Our room is all wood.
It is spacious, and clean, with an en-suite.

We had heard about the famous Tree House Restaurant - one of the top 10 most unusual restaurants in the world, so we headed there for a snack and a drink.
So glad we shared a meal, as again we were over budget.
My budget was NOT liking Costa Rica, or as we now called it "Costa Lota".
But it stopped raining and we enjoyed sitting under the big tree upstairs - a novel and fun night, and we had great service too.

The balcony outside our room is a lovely spot for a quiet time in the morning.
I sat and just breathed in the fresh mountain air.

The surrounding cloud forest garden is just lovely.

The birds are singing and we see hummingbirds, and other magnificent birds.
Apparently there are monkeys, but we don't get to see any, and were told we should have left out banana to entice them.

Unfortunately it rained all night, and that morning.
We were drowned rats just getting to breakfast.
But we didn't mind having the day in.
We were waiting for another travelling family to arrive, so we caught up on some blogs, emails and had a lazy morning.

We met up with our new friends and sat and chatted all afternoon.
We then decided to go back to the Tree House restaurant, but it was raining, so that was a shame.
But we added another Australian guy to the group, who had travelled a lot of the area we were all going so we got some tips from him.

Next day we all met for breakfast, and decided to go to the Suspension Bridges.
There are 8 bridges, and we were fortunate they had a car, as it is a long way out of Monteverde town area.

It cost us $60 for entry for my son and I and that included the small Hummingbird Garden.

It is a pretty long walk, and it is a shame as you can't really see the water underneath.
There are no paths the kids could go off exploring.
We didn't see any wildlife either.
In other parts of the world, you wouldn't even be charged, but everything is money here.

We enjoyed the walk - would be awesome if the clouds had moved over whilst on the bridges.

Next was the Hummingbird garden.
It is small with 2 tiers, and a lot of hummingbird feeders.

The hummingbirds are noisy and fast, and fly right close to you - freaky.
My son went on his own and was patient - he wanted to touch one.
I was amazed at his patience, and how he did indeed get to touch one - just!

The garden is better value than the bridges and is $5 to get into.

The colours, sizes and varieties are incredible.
A great place to take kids.

When we headed back to the lodge, my son said the suspension bridges were 'boring'.
I was disappointed as we had spent a whole days budget, just going there, but I was glad he was honest, as I would do other things next time.

Next morning (we are early risers) we were in the forest for a walk.

It was a good lesson - banana palms and flowers forming, so you could see exactly how they grow.
There was also many types of coffee plants, and I found that interesting as they were all sign labelled.

Our friends offered to take us to Liberia to get a bus.
Their car was so packed, it was hilarious, but we managed to all get in.

Driving down we did pass a few clouds floating through.
Monteverde is a great place to visit.
Monteverde Hostel Lodge is new (they only bought it 3 weeks ago).
It is a great place to stay and I would recommend it if you go there.
The staff are friendly and a good place to meet other travellers.

We have decided to leave Costa Rica.
Our budget for world travels would be too dented if we stayed here.
We met ex-pats who told us the Americans are leaving as it has become too expensive.
Shame, as it has so much to see.
So we will head on .....
Good-bye Costa Rica.

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