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Central America – Costa Rica – Monteverde

Monteverde – Costa Rica

Having spent two very chilled out days in El Salvador, we arranged another bus to take us to Costa Rica. This bus ride was an 18 hour trip in total, and involved a private shuttle from El Salvador to San Salvador and then we boarded a Kings Quality Bus (one of two bus services that go there – this one is cheapest) and travelled through Nicaragua and onto Costa Rica. We probably chose the worst time to leave San Salvador (3am) but it meant that we would arrive late the following night rather than spending almost two days on a bus. Mind you the bus was pretty comfortable, there were hardly any passengers and they played some good movies along the way.

Lake Nicaragua with Volcano in the background

Lake Nicaragua with Volcano in the background

Rather than taking the bus directly into San Jose we asked the driver to let us out at a bus stop that was basically on the road to Monterverde (definition for Mountain with a View). We then grabbed a taxi (for $70USD) who drove us to the top of this incredible Mountain. The town of Monteverde is very cute.We stayed in the very small town of Santa Elena. There are some great little bars and restaurants, plenty of travel agents, a good supermarket and lots of souvenier shops. One recommendation for dinner is the Tree Top restaurant. Although a little pricey, you literally sit in a tree top and enjoy dinner and the buzz of Monterverde.

Lis in main street of Monteverde outside tree-top restaurant

Lis in main street of Monteverde outside tree-top restaurant

There are also many activities to do in Monterverde and with 3 days to spend there, which is the amount of time we recommended, we chose a few:

Aventura Canopy 100% – Zip-Lining Tour

If you are in for an adrenaline rush then you definitely must do this tour. The course consists of 11 canopies, a Tarzan Swing, a Free Fall and the grand finale – a Superman Fly (Aventura was the only company where you could do the Superman Fly). Hopefully our photos and footage give you a better idea about what this tour is all about. Although scary and totally breath-taking, you feel great once its all done plus you have a lot of fun along the way.

Cost of Tour per Person $47 AUD

Zip lining through the rainforest is WICKED fun....

Zip lining through the rainforest is WICKED fun....

El Trapiche Coffee and Sugar Tour

Costa Rica is renowned for the growth and production of high quality coffee. While this country doesn’t produce coffee on mass like Columbia,…., they pride themselves on the coffee and are not suppliers of huge chains such as Starbucks. This tour was really interesting. We walked through coffee and sugar plantations, saw the process of harvesting and roasting coffee beans, made our own confectionary from sugar cane and at the end of a 2 hour tour, we all sat down to a delicious cup of coffee.

Cost of Tour per Person $33 AUD

This tour shows the whole coffee making process, including the roasting - shown here

This tour shows the whole coffee making process, including the roasting - shown here

Santamaria’s Night Walk Monteverde

In hindsight the tour with this company was probably not one we would highly recommend although Pete, as always, was very keen to see Tarantula’s, Sloths and other nocturnal creatures so away we went. The tour was very contrived and there were too many groups all looking for animals in a very small area (it was someone’s private farm). However we managed to see two large Sloths, a Tarantula resting in their home and plenty of other small bugs and creatures along the way.

Cost of Tour per Person $12.50 AUD

A red-knee tarantula in her burrow with her egg-sac. Cricket crawling in on the right. Bad move??

A red-knee tarantula in her burrow with her egg-sac. Cricket crawling in on the right. Bad move??

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve Walk

This tour was a really pleasant morning walk that you can do without a tour guide and at your own pace. Our hostel arranged a shuttle to take us to the entrance and then every hour there are shuttles waiting to take you back to town when you are done.While there was no a lot of wildlife in the area, except these beautiful hummungbirds (below), the actual forest is quiet and incredibly picturesque.

Hummingbirds are guaranteed because heaps of them come to these feeders

Hummingbirds are guaranteed because heaps of them come to these feeders

The Cloud Forest is a massive drawcard in Montervede and definitely worth checking out.

Cost of Tour per Person $20 AUD

Moneteverde Cloud Forest, we saw why it got its name....

Moneteverde Cloud Forest, we saw why it got its name....

Many of the hotels or hostels that you stay at will arrange these tours for you which makes booking things at the last minute very convenient. This place is definitely an ‘activities town’ so allow yourself 2 or 3 days to make the most of it. To see where we stayed (and we recommend this place) check out our Accommodation Page.

One thing to note: Make sure you take plenty of US dollars to this town as the ATM’s would only dispense Costa Rica Colons and you get hit with a pretty bad exchange when paying for tours, accommodation or meals with their money.

Photo Gallery:

Hot Air Ballooning, Cappadocia

Tigers in India
MADAGASCAR VOLUNTEERING
GORILLA TREKKING
Ace Way to See Photos:Click
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