Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Costa Rica Part 2: Monteverde

 Our stay in Monteverde was spectacular!

We stayed a total of two days, 3 nights right on the outskirts of town in a super cute Airbnb cabin rented to us by two charming brothers who are local night hike tour guides in the area.  Upon arriving, they set us up with our Organic Coffee Farm tour - Cafe San Luis (they arranged for a van to come pick us up and take us to San Luis for the tour)!  They were also nice enough to alert us to a wild 2-toed sloth in the area!

 Monteverde (Santa Elena) is such a cute little town, only slightly touristy due to it being a prime zip-lining location in Costa Rica.  Although the town center is small, it is loaded with cafe's, pastry shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. 


Our time in Monteverde Included:

Day 1: Organic Coffee Farm Tour
Day 2: Hiking in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Besides these two activities, we also frequented Beso Espresso for our morning coffee fix. Monteverde also ended up being where we did the majority of our souvenir shopping...it was the cheapest town for souvenir items we came across during our time in Costa Rica. 

We happened upon a craft brewery here in Monteverde...the one and only brewery we encountered on our trip.  The "Monteverde Beer House" had a nice selection of beer and also had pretty amazing Mediterranean food. 

Below I have added a few photos from the town center of Santa Elena....


One of my favorite things about this small town was the amount of beautiful murals located around just about every corner!

Getting our Espresso Fix @ Beso Espresso


Day 1: Coffee Farm Tour
Our Organic Coffee Farm tour was a very memorable part of our trip.  It is one of the last remaining purely organic coffee farms in Costa Rica.  We learned so much about the process the coffee beans go through to get to that end product.  Being a coffee fanatic, it was such a cool experience to actually see a working coffee farm! The farm we visited was Cafe San Luis in San Luis (pictured below).  (appx. $30 US per person)

 
Organic coffee plant



 Learning about the process of removing the layers of the coffee beans


Pictured below are the views coming out of the San Luis Valley.  It was STEEP - do not attempt unless you have 4-wheel drive (luckily we had the van to come take us to the farm and back)!


Day 2: Hiking in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

No, we didn't do the hanging bridges...but yes, there was a hanging bridge on our hike!
When planning our trip to the Cloud Forest, I was like "Wow, I must do these hanging bridges!"....after seeing how much it actually costs, I quickly took it off the list of things to do.  The  hike had it's own hanging bridge and was gorgeous - that feeling of being in the clouds, the moisture on your face..ah, so refreshing!  Once we made it to the overlook (pictured below) we could see how surrounded by clouds we actually were. It was amazing just to sit and watch these clouds move quickly through the trees. (entrance fee approx $20 US per person)

 Hanging bridge..
 Photos from the hike...




 The overlook of the cloud forest 


The Road to Monteverde...
If you have done any research on Monteverde, you have probably come across the many articles and blog posts that mention the rough road getting there.  I had so much anxiety about this road, having rented a small, compact car.  I kept having these visions of being stuck in a ditch with no cell service in the pouring rain! After doing tons of research on this matter, I decided that taking the slightly longer route from La Fortuna (Hwy 606 from the South ) would be the best bet.  Every post I read said "do not drive this road during the rain..do not drive this road at night...do not drive this road without 4-wheel drive".  Well, guess what...I drove this road in at night..in the rain....with a 2-wheel drive, low clearance car!  I wouldn't recommend doing this, but it can be done if necessary! 

 If you don't have much experience driving on dirt roads, renting 4-wheel drive may be the way to go.  It is steep, with lots of pot holes and large rocks and is a good hour drive of unpaved pothole/boulder dodging.

 When chatting with the locals about our drive in, we were reassured that hwy 606 from the South was the better route to drive in our small car.  So, if in doubt, drive in from the South!

Other Local Attractions:
The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens 
The Hanging Bridges
Coffee, Chocolate or Sugarcane Tours
Birding Watching (try and find the Quetzal!)
Of Course...Zip-lining! 

Travel Tip: Want to eat cheap in Costa Rica?
Instead of going for the touristy or more popular restaurants, try out the local places!  They will be called "Sodas" and have amazing local food for much, much cheaper than the alternative. Average meal will run you between $5-10 US and it is normally a TON of food. 


Enjoy your trip to Monteverde and feel free to ask me anything!

Cheers!
Kristine


P.S. 2-toed Sloth!


2 comments:

  1. We really liked Costa Rica and did the coffee farm too, Britta. We stayed for 4 months. Two years in Peace Corps in Panama in coffee country- liked Costa Rica better although our local coffee was fabulous. And did see a lot of birds too, and the howler and spider monkeys. CR's wildlife is more diverse, seems to me, and their cuisine is better to boot.

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    1. Awesome! I absolutely loved Costa Rica as well. Loved the amount of wildlife we saw during our time there. I wish I could have 4 months there, would be amazing :D

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