Monday, July 25, 2011

{Costa Rica 2011} - Day 2 - Monteverde

You want to go to here. This region in the cloud forest of Costa Rica is simply amazing. It was settled by draft-dodging Quakers in 1949 or so and they've worked hard to keep it from getting too populated or highly trafficked. In fact, the last 12 miles or so are uphill, unpaved and barely maintained roads that require a 4x4 vehicle. The road up to Monteverde, while crappy, affords a lovely view of the lush, green, mountainous landscape. Since those last 12 miles are not paved it does take about 1.5-2hrs to cover the distance.

At the end of that road is a charming area that has so much to offer there's no way to do it in one trip. Monteverde is Tony's mom's favorite place in Costa Rica, possibly anywhere. She would love to retire there someday and I understand why! Monteverde is actually the region and it's made up of several little towns and has a very relaxed vibe about it and it's quaint as can be. The mix of building is eclectic and the population diverse. I'm not sure I can do it justice with this post or photos but I hope to give you an idea of what it has to offer.
First of all, a primer. Monteverde is in the Cloud Forest. Only 1% of the woodland in the world is considered Cloud Forest so that in itself makes Monteverde special. It's set on top of Costa Rica's Continental Divide which, if you hike about an hour you can stand at the divide and if you go 3ft in either direction you can feel air from the Pacific on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do that this time but I MUST do it next time! When we were planning this trip we originally planned for one day to do the zip lines and coffee tour. His mom insisted on at least two days and she was totally right. There's so much to see and do there I could easily spend a week and not be satisfied. I'll definitely go back as soon as I get the chance.
Our first day was a nice little intro to the area. We got into town around noon and headed to the cheese factory for a light lunch and some delicious milkshakes. The area was chosen by the Quakers partly for it's conduciveness to dairy farming so it's no surprise that they make wonderful cheeses and ice creams. There's nothing quite like having a milkshake where they turn a spigot in the wall and fresh milk gets added to it directly from the holding tank.
After that we went to the Hummingbird Cafe. OMG. This was amazing. There are several Hummingbird feeders hanging around a small cafe and gift shop and countless colorful hummingbirds flitting about. They'll buzz right by your head and the sound of their wings is incredible. It's like a giant bee or a spoke card in the wheel of a bicycle that's going 100mph. You can get right up next to them and I've heard they'll even land on you. All types of hummingbirds come here to eatand I could watch them for hours. I took a video to try and capture the sounds and sights since it was just so cool to be there and I wanted to share it.  I'll try to get it edited and uploaded eventually.

After the Hummingbird Cafe we headed to the chocolate chop and had delicious chocolates in the European style. There are a lot of Europeans that run hotels and shops in Monteverde so finding good quality European chocolates wasn't a surprise at all.
We then headed back to our Hotel, Poco a Poco, to swim and relax a bit before his mom's birthday dinner. She visits the area often and has some favorite restaurants. Tramonti is one of those. It's an Italian restaurant that is known for it's wood oven pizzas and cozy atmosphere. The food was delicious. Dinner took a couple of hours and we had a big day ahead of us so we all headed to bed after dinner, thus why I didn't blog right away. :) I did have WiFi in the room, however, so I tried to get pics posted via Twitter and Facebook when possible.
Day two coming up in the next post!

1 comment:

Kari said...

Looks like a great trip. One of our favorite adventure travels we've taken!