Monday, 16 October 2017

A Trip to Costa Rica: Monteverde & Quepos

 Our next stop was Monteverde, one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting. You see, I LOVE cloud forests. Mindo in Ecuador is one of my absolute favourite places, and I couldn't wait to get exploring and to show Chris his first one.

 It turns out that what Monteverde does very well, is food. We ate our first meal here at the Orchid Coffee Shop and it was SO GOOD. I loved my lunch. They had these amazing looking desserts as well that sadly we did not get to try, as every other time we went back they had been replaced with far more boring looking things! Admittedly, probably still delicious, but we had our heart set on the brightly coloured dishes we'd seen on our first day.

 We stayed at the Jaguarundi lodge, which would have been perfect. Would have been. The cabin itself was great, it was a good size and we loved that it was within the cloud forest as it meant we saw all sorts of animals (including one giant mammal that terrified us and we still don't know what it was. We were specifically out looking for frogs when this thing ran at us, and thus ended our attempts to find nature) however it did have it's downfalls. It's very hilly and the cloud forest rains a lot, meaning even in our hiking shoes it was slippery and hard work. There also weren't any curtains, which is fine if you don't struggle with sleeping in the light but I DEFINITELY do, and there was a light just outside our window that never went off. Still a nice lodge that I'd recommend, though.

 Unfortunately our time in Monteverde was not all we'd hoped for. The first day we were there it rained and thundered literally the entire day, meaning we didn't have anywhere near as much time as we needed to do what we wanted. The national parks in Costa Rica all close at 4pm so we didn't get the chance to squeeze them all in, and it was at around this point that we were both getting a bit ill (too much fruit and beans!) and were a bit achey from the altitude. A real shame as Monteverde was beautiful!

 What we did do, however, was go zip lining. There are plenty of options in Monteverde if zip lining is what you want to do, but we went with 100% Aventura who boast the longest line in Latin America. And at over 2km, it really is long! It comprises 9 lines including 3 really long ones - two of which you do in superman style! I've done the superman lines before in Ecuador but for some reason that wasn't anywhere near as scary as this one was. It is quite pricey and you are rushed through them- literally, you'll get off one line and be attached to another one almost immediately. It's a lot of fun though, and if you enjoy the adrenaline I do suggest you do one in your time here.

What you will definitely see a lot of is hummingbirds! And if you're struggling to get a photo, head to the gallery just outside of the entrance to Monteverde Cloud Forest. You'll find lots of hummingbird feeders there, and it's free to visit!

 And yes, I do recommend you go to Monteverde! However, you should definitely spend more time here than we did. We had two nights here, and it wasn't enough. We were completely rained out on one of the days, and it does rain A LOT here. I'd suggest at least three nights here, and four if you'd like to visit the other cloud forest as well. There are lots and lots of hiking opportunities here and wildlife is everywhere, so do maximise your time here if walking is something you're interested in.

 For our final night, we headed to just outside of Quepos, where we stayed in La Palapa EcoLodge. This was a lovely lodge with lots to explore and lots of animals - we were greeted by a very large black lizard who had apparently been hiding inside of my pillow! Was not expecting to have him launch out at me when I picked the pillow up to move it over a bit.

 Nearby is the Manuel Antonio National Park, and its beaches filled with overly aggressive monkeys. We saw lots of parrots in the area, but sadly no toucan.

 Quepos itself is a little depressing. I just didn't like the vibe of the place, and it was a bit of a disappointment. In fact, the only reason I'm even mentioning Quepos to you as a suggestion, is because it's where we found our absolute favourite meal of the entire trip at Sun Rice, a little Japanese restaurant in the marina. This place was AMAZING, it wasn't expensive, and I could have eaten my bowl of salmon, avocado and mango rice every day of that trip and still have been happy.

Should you visit Quepos? Well, probably not for too long. I do suggest two nights here if you'd like to spend a day visiting Manuel Antonio, but otherwise the area lacked the charm and character that I found throughout the rest of Costa Rica.

  Sadly, this marked our last stop before returning back to San Jose and flying back home! Next week I'll be putting up a more general guide to Costa Rica that I hope will be helpful if you're thinking about visiting but not too sure on the specifics just yet.


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