Escape to the Mountains

Trip Start Feb 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 12, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Saturday, March 27, 2010

4.30 start! I caught one of the regular buses into San Jose which lasts about 15 minutes and arrived at the bus station to find that my bus was on ´hora ingles´(English hour) i.e. on time! (We have the reputation for being very punctual here in Costa Rica! After a short nap I got chatting to a Swiss girl who was heading for Monteverde National Park (like all the other backpackers on the bus). We turned off the Pan American highway to be confronted with my first unpaved road since Bolivia. It was single track and full of pot holes with a light sprinkling of dust! We ascended into the hills at the expensive of our backs which were given a jolt at every hole or dip in the road. At 11 we finally arrived and I was met by a pleasant little village in the hills with just 3 streets called Santa Elena (the closest town to Monteverde). I walked the 250 metres to my hostel and was given a private room with air con (which isn't necessary here as it's alot cooler than the rest of the country), a radio and a bathroom. Whilst asking at reception about park information I managed to meet a Jamaican and German girl who agreed to split the taxi fare with me up into the park (5km). We paid the entrance fee of $9 and within moments were in the middle of the rainforest with the only audible sounds being loud birds and insects. Every now and again we would see the odd German or American tourist the former of which would grunt a hello to us as they passed.

The highlight of the 30km of trails is the suspension bridge which elevates one's view from the forest floor to the top of the canopy for a different perspective on the rainforest. The other attraction was the lookout on the continental divide which goes from Alaska to Argentina and is the watershed between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. So if rain fell on one side it would ultimately end up in the Atlantic and on the other, the Pacific.

After a lot of pictures we went down to the entrance where we decided to walk the 5km downhill to Santa Elena instead of getting a bus. We were exhausted and have to have siestas afterwards. After some tea I decided to go out to the one 'discoteca' in town with two American girls, an Icelandic lad and a German lad. We stayed out there till about midnight and came home for a much deserved night's sleep!
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