Sunday, April 5, 2015

Costa Rica-Part 4

Monteverde and Santa Elena have so much to do that we really could have spent a lot longer here and still not seen everything. This area is so beautiful and so quiet. It is a hidden gem, way up in the mountains. We would highly recommend it to any one who wants to do ecotourism.

While we were there we visited the REAL "Rainforest Cafe" in Santa Elena.
There is literally a huge tree growing up inside the restaurant.

 We naturally chose a table next to one of the huge boughs.

The smoothies here are so delightful!

 This place is a bit pricey but it was well worth it.

One of our favorite places (does that phrase have any meaning anymore?) was the Hummingbird Park in the Monteverde preserve. Tucked away from the main entrance of the park there is a little clearing with a cute stone patio and dozens of hummingbird feeders all around.

There were literally hundreds of humming birds flying around it was awesome!

We took another tour through the cloud forest, this time in the Santa Elena Reserve so that we could experience the hanging bridges in full glory. It was awesome!
 The bridges are well made, but still a little scary for the acrophobic among us. You can see right through the metal grate that makes up the floor and you can see where said metal grate was patched from time to time (some patches were quite large).

We saw THIS guy as we were walking around the canopy!! It was so exciting!!

Fern unfolding. Looks like a alien.

 People believe these pods are medicinal and use them for everything from fertility to curing cancer.

This little guy eluded us for about fifteen minutes before we snapped this shot.

Rhinoceros Beetle!!
He's so cute.

I don't know what this is called, but I want it for my garden! :)

There are probably uncountable numbers of critters living in these trees.
Maybe a sloth as well. Don't know, everything blends in so well!

Beautiful & Dangerous looking trees!

I think this one was called a crocodile tree...

Beautiful Sunset! Looking down from the cloud forest out toward the Pacific Ocean.

Having seen what the cloud forests had in the daytime, we decided that it might be fun to try our luck at catching sight of the wildlife at night. So we signed up for a Night Hike at the International Children's Eternal Rainforest Preserve. This land was purchased by students in another country in order to save the forest from the encroachment of local farming and industry. We saw a lot a neat animals and our guide was very personable.

We saw sleeping birds all over the place! 
Except of course when you shine bright lights in their eyes!

Leaf bugs!


Tiniest frog!!



 After our last night in Monteverde, we packed up the Sky House and hit the road again. It was a pretty quick drive compared to the trip to the coast. Our last destination was a town called San Pedro. The house we rented there was the nicest of the three. It was a shame that we were only there for a couple of days. It was nestled in the hills about 15 minutes outside of San Pedro. The neighborhood up there was basically an American hideaway. We met an elderly lady who boasted that she had been there for 7 years and didn't speak a word of Spanish. While here we hiked Arenal Volcano and enjoyed the La Fortuna waterfall.

Front entrance. It doesn't look like much, but don't judge a book by its cover.

Once inside you will see that it is wonderfully designed and decorated.

Behold the beautiful kitchen with everything you would ever need for cooking

Upstairs on the right is the master bedroom behind the curtains.
There are two smaller bedrooms down the hall on the first floor.


Master Bedroom

 Nice sitting area to relax

Bedroom on the main floor

And the most beautiful room in the house! ;) 
So happy to finally be able to wash and dry our clothes properly!

Once we were settled in to the new house we ventured out to the little town of La Fortuna. The town sits at the foot of the Arenal Volcano and is a jumping off point for many different adventure opportunities.  Our first adventure of the day was to hike the trails around the Arenal Volcano. Apparently there are several sections of trail owned by different groups. We thought we were in the national park section, until we paid and found out that no, this was privately owned. It turned out just fine though, because the section that we hiked was really fun and quite pretty.

The trail started us out head down a slope, past some farmland. It eventually wound around a beautiful (but mosquito infested) swamp/lake/pond.

We saw lots of different types of birds, until we got up higher, then there was silence in the canopy.

Path up to the Arenal Volcano

Lake Arenal

Arenal Volcano

Finally made it up to the top! 
(Highest point on the trail, not the top of the volcano. That's illegal apparently.)

The clouds never dissipated enough to see the top of the volcano, but we had so much fun climbing up here that it didn't matter if we could see the crater. 
This hike was one of the many highlights of our trip!

Double selfie for the win!

After our hike we drove around the lakefront area and encountered some very quaint little villages clinging to the sides of the mountains and overlooking the lake. There is so much to do in this area, it is a shame we only had one day to enjoy it. Next time we need to take a month off....

We returned to La Fortuna to shop and eat. There isn't much to see in town, but there are some cute little trinket shops and a decent burger joint. The town is really just there for tourists.

La Fortuna Cathedral

Dogs were everywhere! This dog was especially cute!

Yummy Ice cream! Strawberry and Kiwi. Delicious! 
I think this may have been the hottest day of our trip.

 While in La Fortuna we found a map that mentioned a waterfall just outside of town. Now, if we haven't mentioned this before, maps in Costa Rica are pretty unreliable. However, as usual we just set out in the general direction that we expected it to be and found it without too much trouble. The waterfall was definitely worth the effort. It was a good last adventure for our trip.

La Fortuna Waterfall!

 Very cold water, but a lot of fun. Gary stayed in there quite a while, even taking a dip under the surface.

 Powerful currents! It was very hard to stay in one place!

But we succeeded for a couple of seconds!


After some scratches and bruises we made it down to this calm area of the waterfall.

From the calm swimming area, we made our way up and around the basin and found an old access trail that we followed for a while so we could get some different angle pictures of the falls.

We spent the afternoon splashing about in the frigid water until it started to pour rain down on us.  After waiting a little under a covered bridge, we decided to just climb the stairs back to our car. Since we were already soaked and wearing our swimsuits, we weren't really to worried about the downpour.

We returned in the dark, pouring rain, and fog to our gorgeous little rental property, then ventured out to visit San Pedro. This town is a little gem of a place. It was definitely worth the 3 or 4 times we visited it in the 2 days we were in the area. The central park (zocolo-like) area by the Cathedral was a lovely spot to sit and people watch. One of the best parts of San Pedro, however, was the bakery. We have no pictures of the breads that we bought because they were too delicious to waste a moment on photography. However, in lieu of bread pictures we will leave you with a parting shot of the San Pedro Cathedral.

San Pedro Cathedral

No comments:

Post a Comment