After an unforgettable time in La Fortuna, we were ready to experience our next location, Monteverde! The little town of Monteverde is a beautiful small hilly town that that gains it's main tourism from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve that is located right next to the main town. If you visit this Monteverde for no other reason than visiting the Cloud Forest, you will be very happy! The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was our main attraction to this area of Costa Rica, but don't count out this small town, it does have a lot to offer too!
After we left La Fortuna, we boarded on a passenger boat to cross Lake Arenal, which was a picturesque ride. The photos below are from our boat on the lake. I don't have a good memory of how long we were on the boat for, but it did not feel long at all. Once we arrived back to land, we all boarded a small van/car and head to the town of Monteverde. The drive included passing through other small towns, seeing their schools, homes, and we even stopped at a small store to purchase some souvenirs. Arriving at our small hotel in Monteverde seemed a little unreal. The hotel was pretty small, there must of been less than ten rooms, also it was hidden back under many trees and looked more like someone's home rather than a hotel. Either way, it was amazing, and I love staying at hotels that are unique to their locations, and this was a perfect example!
For our first night out on the town in Monteverde, we found this really cool restaurant in the middle of the town that was built in a tree, yes in a tree! So cool right?! The food in Monteverde was similar to what we had in La Fortuna, so were the drinks, but overall the restaurant was really fun and an experience to dine at. Also in the town was a lot of cute local shops, and a really good ice cream place. If your plan is to go shopping, there are a lot of little shops that attract tourist and all have the same things, they are usually handmade items, but not all are made by locals. Don't worry, there is hope! There are a few smaller shops that have really unique items that are handmade by locals and just beautiful. In this one shop, I found jewelry made out of the shedded wings of butterflies. Brace yourself, you will want to buy everything in those small stores! Also, don't forget to buy some coffee! The coffee from Monteverde is amazing, I bought two big bags and cherished them until they were gone!
For our first full day in Monteverde, we had ziplining planned, which I was super excited for! Monteverde is home to many ziplining tours, while I would recommend experiencing it while you are in the town, select the company wisely! While I was there, I heard some not-so-good stories about peoples bad ziplining experiences due to the company hosting the tour. Remember you are in a different country with different safety guidelines, that are most likely less strict than you are used to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying something really bad is going to happy to you, so don't let me freak you out! But safety is a concern for me especially when you are suspending yourself above the rainforest. Now on to the positive parts! I had a great time ziplining and it was a highlight of my whole Costa Rica trip.
After you get strapped into all of the gear, everyone in the group starts the walk to the trail. It feels a little like trail hiking in the beginning, but expect a good amount of walking the whole time. You basically walk to a point, zipline to another, walk to the next point, and so on and so forth. As the group walks alone the path to the first zipline point, it really sets in that you are walking through the rainforest. Then once it sets in that you are actually walking through a rainforest, you get to the top of the first zipline point. The view from that moment on are unbelievable. The trees, the mountain views, the canopy of the rainforest, it all was just beautiful! The experience was so much fun too, it was such a rush and about a million times better than any other place that I have went ziplining before. If it isn't on your bucket list, ziplining over the rainforest canopy, definitely needs to be added! On another note, I so wish that I owned a GoPro when I went on this trip, but sadly I did not, but if I were ever to go back I will make sure to bring mine with me so I can share those amazing views with you guys! I did take pictures when we were on the ground and I tried to take a few pictures when in the air, but I can't say they are the best pictures. Overall, I took a bunch of photos and I just couldn't choose which to include and which not to, so I just decided to put a whole bunch below, so I hope you enjoy! :D
So now that we all enjoyed those, on to the next part of this adventure! So after our exhausting yet amazing day ziplining, we arrived back at our hidden little hotel and were trying to decide what to do for the next day. As we stood in the little lobby area looking at the many random flyers of activities and excursions, we were overwhelmed to say the least. There were a lot of random options but all were about the same, related to the rainforest, most were hiking, and some were searching out for nocturnal animals. Let me just cut one of those options off of the list. I have very terrified of spiders and the rainforest of home to nocturnal tarantulas, so nighttime in the rainforest is definitely out! While we were talking about our other options, the hotel owner walked in and asked what we wanted to do. We said we were open to ideas, but were leaning towards hiking. He said hold on, let me make a phone call. This guy, made a phone call, which I didn't understand because they were speaking spanish. Once he got off the phone, he said he knows a guy that is an amazing bird watcher and can fit two more in his group tomorrow, and then we had plans!
Let me start by giving a shout out to the hotel owner that helped us make last minutes plans that day! The next forming our tour guide picked us up at the hotel and we arrived at the Mounteverde Cloud Forest Reserve! The Reserve is of course beautiful, and is definitely worth a good amount of time to visit. This place was pretty massive, and there are so many things to see, you will want a good amount of the day just to explore. But we went for mainly birdwatching. I found out then that birdwatching at the Reserve was actually an extremely popular due to rare birds that can be found in the area. The catch is that the really rare birds are super hard to find and most people go searching for them but never find them. We were hoping to get lucky, with finding birds that is! We were told that our tour guide was an expert in birdwatching and the other two people that were on the tour with us, said they searched this guy out specifically because he is the best, so we felt like we were in good hands. Once we walk into the Cloud Forest, it feels like a different world, or like a really cool movie set, I just can't explain how amazing and beautiful it was.
So searching for birds begins! We arrive to this larger clearing with a bunch of super large trees, our tour guide sets up his telescope thing and within a minute finds birds in the scope. For someone that never went birdwatching before, I had so much fun looking for and at birds. It was pretty interesting because it is something that I didn't expect to do that day nor like as much as I did. So long story short, our tour guide was AMAZING, just as we were told. He was able to find so many beautiful birds and so many of them so easily. He even found the really rare ones that people travel to Costa Rica just to see! I wish I could tell you the name of the birds, but I really don't know nor remember, but if you know, please let me know in the comments below!
Besides bird watching, there were a lot of other amazing aspects about the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. We hiked around the trails a bit and it was unlike anything walking through the different aspects of the rainforest. Some parts were hot and dry, and some were damp and kind of misty, and it was all within a short walking area. So cool!! There were also these really cool trees that grow around other trees in a unique vine-like way. Then the tree on the inside on the vine-like tree dies and all you have left after a long amount of time is this amazing looking tree. I climbed up one a little in the picture below, and also climbed inside that same one in the other picture below!
If all of this excitement wasn't enough for a day, on our drive back to the hotel we were told about a fun Fiesta that was happening that evening. So again we thought, "that sounds like fun, why not!" That evening we got ready and called a cab and literally just told them Las Fiesta, and wouldn't you know it, we got there! The Fiesta was basically like a carnival but with a bull fighting rink. So we bought a ticket and found a seat. First, I must say that I am an extreme animal lover and don't believe in harming animals for entertainment, but me not attending wasn't going to affect the bull's wellbeing, so I thought, why not just experience it. And it is just that, an experience. It was crazy watching these people almost get ran over by a bull and. During one of the riding intermissions people started jumping in the rink and started playing soccer, then out of no where, they let a bull into the rink. And yes, they just tried to play soccer while trying not to get ran over by the bull. It was all very crazy, but it was again an experience, and is one better enjoyed with a beer! After the bull fight ended, there was dancing outside. Dancing with the locals was definitely fun although they make me look like a really bad dancer.
Overall, I loved the town of Monteverde! The people were so nice, the town itself was small but there was still a lot to do, and there was so much to do right
outside of town. It is a town that should make your list of places to visit in Costa Rica!
I hope you enjoyed my Costa Rica adventure! If you haven't read Part 1 or 2, check out the links below!
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