The best way to get to Monteverde from La Fortuna was a bus/boat/bus combo, so I booked myself just that for $23. The bus picked me up from my hostel at around 8:30 and my friends Sam and Julian just after. We got taken to Arenal Lake, and on the way there a cloud lifted and we saw the most of Arenal volcano that we’ve seen yet! What a treat!
On arrival at the lake, I popped to the loo before we boarded the boat and somehow the boys managed to put us onto the wrong boat. We only realised once we’d pulled out into the middle of the lake and the driver did a headcount, called out names and asked why our names weren’t on the list. Turned out we found ourselves on a slow, wildlife watching boat! Wondering why noone had mentioned anything beforehand… Our driver called the bus drivers ahead and we spent the rest of the journey feeling guilty that everyone would be waiting for us the other side of the lake. Turns out it was the other way round, and our boat must have left way before theirs, so we were the ones waiting! The second bus was a much longer journey- it took about three hours but we passed the most beautiful scenery, it was amazing. Some views had Arenal in the background! At a couple of viewpoints we were allowed to get out and take photos- one of these times was at a hilltop cafe which had the most unreal views of Costa Rican countryside. Absolutely beautiful scenery.
Ziplining Canopy Tour
We arrived in Monteverde at 12pm and there was a ziplining canopy tour due to leave in one hours time which we decided sign up to. A bus picked us up and took us to Extremo, the centre. We spent the next three hours ziplining from tree to tree, canopy to canopy along zip lines that were as high as 180 metres above the jungle! I had done ziplining like this before in Thailand but it was a few years back and it was cool to do it again. The highlight of the afternoon was definitely a 60 metre Tarzan Swing, which was insane- it gave the biggest rush of adrenaline! You essentially got pushed off a platform really high up, and just before you go, the instructor cruelly says ‘oh no wait’ as if there is a problem with your harness! It caught every single person! The other exciting bit but was a rappel which is essentially an abseil down a rope without a wall to bounce down. The whole thing was super fun but it rained hard the entire time we were there so I was absolutely freezing by the end! Had some pretty nice views of the rainforest though from above.
That night we went for a dinner in an incredible restaurant in Monteverde called Taco Taco, that had unreal Mexican food and had some delicious fruity craft beers. It was so good we ended up heading there everyday. Then later we went to some more bars and a club called Los Amigos, which was also so much fun. I thoroughly recommend these two venues in Monteverde!
The main thing people visit Monteverde for is the cloud forest nature reserve. We were lucky to make friends in the hostel with a group of boys who had hired their own car for Costa Rica, with six seats so they were able to drive us there. This was ideal because the reserve was much further away than my hungover brain had calculated- about a 45 minute drive when I thought it was in walking distance! We had a bit of a road trip singalong so the journey went really quickly.
On arrival at the reserve we paid $22 entry, and got told it takes most people three hours to walk round the whole thing. It was basically a big rainforest reserve so was really nice to walk through- we were told to watch out for animals because apparently many live in that rainforest but unfortunately we didn’t see many; only a couple of bugs and a few birds from a distance. We saw plenty of clouds though! We also saw lots of unusual looking pretty plants and trees, and a lovely waterfall.
That afternoon, as our second activity of the day, we headed to a recommended cheese factory museum which we were really excited about, to be told it had recently stopped doing tours. So we gave up and drove back to the hostel! There are a few other things to do in Monteverde but nothing we fancied spending the money on, as everything is so expensive in Costa Rica! That evening we went back to Taco Taco, classic and then went for a few beers.
The following day we sadly split as a group, Sam and Julian headed one way and I went back to La Fortuna with the other English boys we had met because they were driving that way, and then caught a bus down to San José from there, to make the journey safer. The bus took forever and I arrived in San José quite late at night. I had been told it is dangerous there and therefore didn’t leave the building until the next day for my flight to Guatemala- this was helped because the hostel ordered in pizzas! These days had once again been more of my favourite of my trip!