Sunday, 29 May 2011

La Fortuna to Monteverde 16/05/2011

The shuttle bus arrived for us on Monday morning at 08h00, and off we set for Monteverde.  This cattle and dairy farming area was settled during the Korean war by a group of Quakers from the United States, who opposed the draft and wanted to lead a simpler life.  It is also well known for it's magnificent cloud forests.

Although the shorter route would have been a jeep-boat-jeep ride across Lake Arenal, we had already paid for our shuttle ticket, so off we trundled (read: rocketed), retracing our route north-west around the perimeter of the lake.  Our driver was particularly "motivated" that day, and we became quite familiar with the grille shapes of oncoming Mack and International trucks.

Macaws at the staging post
We arrived at the staging post a couple of hours later, where we had a brief lunch and then swapped buses for the climb up the mountains into the cloud forests of Monteverde.  After turning off the Pan-American Highway, we headed for the small town of Juntas, after which the climb started in earnest.  The "blacktop" road soon gave way to gravel, and the incline rapidly increased.  Winding our way up, a magnificent view opened up, and each twist in the road revealed a new vista.  Despite the view, our numb backsides were thankful for the relief of sighting the small town of Santa Elena 2 hours later.

More turtles...
Our hotel was a small backpackers lodge called the Pension Santa Elena, with the now familiar eclectic feel of a traveller's rest.  A maze of passages led us to our room, again very basic but sufficient for our needs.  As we planned to stay for only a single night, we thought we'd take advantage of the rest of the afternoon and explore the town.  A large spicy pizza was followed by a walk to the nearby snakepark where we had a very enlightening introduction to the snakes (and spiders) of Costa Rica.  All I can say is that when you walk in the jungle here, you need to keep your eyes WIDE open for these guys...


Coral snake
The following day would be another death-defying bus ride back to San Jose...

Hasta luego....

1 comment: