Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde is a small community in northern Costa Rica. It is a very popular tourist destination and is home to the Monteverde cloud forest as well as the Santa Elena cloud forest. The small town of Santa Elena is located close to the cloud forests and is where many tourists stay when they visit the area.

I travelled to Santa Elena from La Fortuna in the morning and got there around lunch time. When the shuttle dropped me off at the hotel I was hungry and wanted to get out and stretch my legs. All I wanted to do was to check in, visit the bathroom and get some food. But the man in the reception of the hotel was really chatty and managed to sell me some tours that I really didn’t have time to think through…

Before I headed to the Monteverde cloud forest I went out to lunch. Taco taco had gotten nice reviews and I decided to try it, and yes the food was really good. After lunch I had time for a short walk through town before I took the bus.In town there’s a tree house restaurant which apparently is one of the ten most bizarre restaurants in the world. It’s a restaurant built around a tree. I thought it was a very cool restaurant and the food was really good as well. So I really advice you to go here if you’re in town.

Monteverde cloud forest

At 1.20 pm I took a public bus to Monteverde cloud forest. It was very easy to find the bus stop and it was really cheap to ride. The view from the bus was beautiful and there were a lot of people standing by the road taking photos.
I didn’t have much time in the park since the last bus was leaving at 4 pm. I was talking to the man in the reception who said I wouldn’t have time for the hike to the viewpoint, hanging bridge and waterfall, cause that would take 3 hours. If I would do it all I would have to take a taxi back.
Challenge accepted! I started hiking at 2 pm and headed straight for the viewpoint. I wasn’t in a hurry and was quite happy to do some hiking.
The hiking trails were nice and easily walkable. Hiking boots are no need, but running shoes are recommended.
I didn’t see any clouds in the forest but of course from the viewpoint. It was sooo windy here!
After the viewpoint I hiked the trail to the hanging bridge. The hike here was a lot uphill.

After the hanging bridge I had the choice of different trails, either the one back to the reception or to the waterfall. I checked the watch and decided I would have time for the waterfall.

The guide said the hike I did would take 3 hours but for me it took 1 h and 45 minutes. It was 6,3 km long. I was walking very fast in the end, but it was a nice workout. It was nice I could take the bus back and didn’t have to call a taxi. Many of the people working in the park took the last bus to town actually. I figured there would be taxis outside the park when I was done, but it was pretty empty, so yeah, happy I managed to take the bus.

Santa Elena cloud forest

The second day I had decided to go to Santa Elena cloud forest. The man in the reception at my hotel managed to sell me a tour with a guide that I really wasn’t in the mood for. The tour started in the morning where I got a ride to the park and then I had to wait in the reception for the guide.
With the guide we walked a short path of the park and he talked about the micro climate of the forest and more. Some things were interesting, but I had been on many guided tours this far and after a while it’s pretty much the same information.

After the tour I wanted to get some lunch and maybe I would have time for another hike in the park afterwards. I liked this park a bit more than the Monteverde cloud forest. So I ordered some lunch at the restaurant in the park and was looking forward to take another walk by myself before I headed to the other place I had planned to visit. Unfortunately they forgot about my order, I waited 35 minutes and my lunch never came. I was a little upset (maybe most because of my hunger), and left the place. There’s only one place here to get lunch and I didn’t want to wait longer. So, no more hike in that park…

Hanging bridges in Selvatura park

The Selvatura park is just a downhill walk away from the Santa Elena cloud forest. Outside the Selvatura park there’s a restaurant that looked much better than the one at the cloud forest, but I picked the wrong thing on the menu… The Selvatura park is one of the many parks in this area where you can go ziplining. I didn’t try the ziplining, but hiked in the park instead.
So, still a bit upset from the situation at the cloud forest, still hungry from the not so very good lunch I started hiking the hanging bridges tour. The trails are very easy walkable and you are passing 12 bridges. The view is nice and you can hear the zipline from time to time. But, it only took me an hour to do the walk. I wish I had known that it wouldn’t take all of the afternoon, which was the idea I got from the man at the hotel.

After the park I headed back to town, had an ice cream and spent the rest of the day reading in my room. Maybe sounds a bit boring, but it had been a week full of activities, so it was really nice to relax a little.

Monteverde is located in high elevation and is pretty cold. It was really windy there too and also a lot of rain. I didn’t have the best time in Monteverde. For me it was just another rainforest. I met some people later in Manuel Antonio that agreed with me that Monteverde is way overrated. I think the experience from my hotel also made me not like it that much, I didn’t like the atmosphere and more at that place… But, I must the say, the view from the hotel terrace was alright.

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