To get to Monteverde involved a 30 minute bus ride to Lake Arenal, followed by a 45 minute boat ride to the other side (yes, it is a big, beautiful lake). The journey was stunning, the volcano on one side and lush green forest on the other side.
We got into the bus to take us to the hotel – and that is when I realised that there are no tarmac roads in Monteverde. We endured an hour and a half on super bumpy roads before we got to our beautiful hotel.
Where am I staying?
Historias Lodge is a very pretty hotel. Large dining area, rooms scattered all over the place, lots of chill out places, and the friendliest staff. Tais on reception was super helpful and honest – a great combination.
As for my room? Very cute, one of the smallest but oh my word so dark at night!
My windows were opposite another room – so curtains had to be drawn – I didn’t want to see them as much as they didn’t want to see me! I had to switch on my torch and phone lights at night for additional illumination! Ratings?
- Grubbiness factor = low, but to be honest with the dim lighting, who knows!
- Bed = 8/10. Decent sleep, dark room, nice pillows, not bad.
- Shower = 6/10. Sometimes hot sometimes cold, once again..who knows! Pressure was okay though.
What did I eat?
Breakfasts were at the hotel – fruit, tea, coffee with toast (with my yummy peanut and almond butter) or gallo pinto. Food for fuel rather than the soul.
For lunch? We checked in, and found a little soda around the corner for lunch – Soda Tortilla. Fresh pineapple juice and yes, the staple – Casado. Well. I say staple but this one came with no plantain and extra.. Hash browns?? Interesting addition! I was very happy with the amount of avocado I got!
Here is another casado I had another day for lunch at Selvatura Park after my epic day of sightseeing. Same same but different, but this one had more veggies in it. At least the avocado is becoming a more regular occurrence!
To be honest, I’m not enjoying the food in Costa Rica that much. I loved the food everywhere else in Central America, it is just very one dimensional here (not just for me, but as my meaty friends tell me the same). The options are either casado or arroz con pollo/camarones/vegetales – I’m getting a bit tired of it. But, things were starting to look up. The next day, following Tais’ recommendations, I went to the Monteverde Beer House for a falafel shawarma and chips. Tasty, juicy, homemade humous, and loads of garlic (my mother would have been mortified). You can see the white bits on the chips. Hehehe. or Jajaja as the locals would say 🙂
It made for a nice change I must say. They also had good desserts – homemade chocolate too, I bought a tiny piece of raw chocolate that I had with my coffee later that day. Dinner? Well. Well. Well. We went to the same place two nights in a row – Ristorante D Thomas – (Tais’ recommendation again) and I had the exact same meal both nights. Now. I don’t usually like eating pasta in restaurants (my sister makes the best pasta in the world – I have been spoilt) but this pasta was excellent – just as good. With their home made potent habanero sauce (they even gave me some to take back to the hotel the next night)… this pasta was delicious. Lots of veggies, tasty tomato sauce, full of flavour and FULL of garlic (mortified mum x2). Other options were spinach and ricotta ravioli (v good) and the tuna – which was v v v good.
I also tried the local tipple – Guaro Chili, made from cacique (sugarcane) in the form of a shot with tomato juice and chilli A proper hit of chilli, this was an interesting drink with a strong kick from the booze. Couldn’t have more than one though!
And hallelujah!! Guess what I had in Santa Elena town – a very delicious coffee!! Beso 😘😘Espresso was the place, and they had soy and almond milk too! I did have the owner in fits asking if they have any other milk than leche de moo 😆. I went for a coconut mocha – made with coconut oil – boy it was good! So there is good coffee here – just need to know where to find it!
What did I do?
I might be getting tired of the food (recent meals excluded), but the wildlife is still making me happy. So so happy! I wanted to check out the hanging bridges in Monteverde – compare them to the ones in La Fortuna. The latter being an intermediate forest and the former a cloud forest. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Please don’t miss going to Selvatura Park. Cloud forest, butterfly park (the largest in Latin America), reptile park, insect park, zip lining – you can spend a whole day there. Easily. So as you know, my rule of thumb is to pay for a guide ($30, or $45 with a guide) and once again, I got really lucky with our guide – Juan Carlos. He knew every flower, plant, tree and bush around. He knew every bird sound and could make them too.
He made the tour really interesting. The hanging bridges were magical, the cloud forest ensuring cooler weather and misty rain. All the trees were covered with moss – very ethereal and findhorn-esq. magical. We saw coati, hummingbirds in the wild and coming to artificial feeders (both breathtaking), lots of fungi (I’m obsessed). The forest and walk itself was amazing.
I then decided to do the reptile and butterfly parks ($25 for both including a guide) and they were so worth it.The butterfly park was brilliant. A massive space, loads of butterflies fluttering around (hard to photograph, so therapeutic to watch!), but we had enough time to try and take pics of some (still) beautiful butterflies – including watching new ones hatch. I loved this place.
Just as much as the reptile park lots of snakes and and and – check out this green and black poison dart frog – my favourite.
I also wanted to go on another night walk to check out the wildlife. We saw a lot – very many and all very noisy. Unfortunately they were the human kind, scaring all the wildlife away. The guide tried his best (especially since people in my group hadn’t even seen a sloth – how lucky have I been!), but we didn’t see much. But once again, I was happy with what I saw – a tarantula, another green viper, an armadillo (only for about 4 seconds), and this super massive ant colony. The sunset on the way was magnificent though!
I spent the rest of the time walking around the town – not very big, but interesting enough way to spend a couple of hours. Brilliant murals and art work dotted everywhere – very nice! Selvatura Park was the highlight – I really enjoyed being here and taking it all in. Most enjoyable…
The next day was the highlight of the trip – we went to Curi Cancha Reserve.
This is more intermediate forest, stunning in it’s own way. The trees, flowers and plants and the scenery in general was so so so beautiful.
And then to top it all, I saw the bird I’ve been hearing about since the start of my travels – the Quetzal. Sacred and revered by the Maya, mentioned by every guide – and I saw it! Both male and female!!
We also saw other amazing birds and lizards. It was excellent – don’t miss out on going here, another place I highly recommend going to.