The Sanctuary of Santa Elena

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Friday, September 24, 2010

From San Juan del Sur we decided to make our own way to the border using Chicken buses (we like) instead of going with the luxury Tica Bus option which would of cost us $23 to San Jose, then a further $6 to Santa Elena. From San Juan we had to go back to Rivas (Nicaragua) then get on a 2nd bus to the border of Penas Blancos, this cost us a measly $1.50. Furthermore Tica Bus charge $15 for border fees, it cost us $3. Despite our limited spanish we made it through the 2 border posts that were rather confusingly a kilometre apart in the pouring rain.

Before moving on from the border we were unsure whether we could get to our desired destination, Santa Elena, directly. Tica Bus would only take us to San Jose (the captial), from here it would mean a nights stay and 5 hours travel on a second bus to Santa Elena. However, from the border we managed to get a bus to Grande Rancho. This was an intersection on the Pan American Highway where we could pick up the bus coming from San Jose to Santa Elena/Monteverde. Not really sure whether the bus was giong to come or not we waited at the petrol station for 90 minutes and then it finally arrived. Phew!!! We were very pleased as this was an unauthodox route and is not mentioned in the guidebooks (in your face Lonely Planet!!!) So we can call ourselves fully fledged travellers making our own way. This may sound a excessive way of doing it, but it did only cost us $12, saving us $17! When travelling every penny counts.....

We are staying at Pension Santa Elena Hostel in the cloudforest of Costa Rica. The hostel is really nice and has a really nice vibe. We have hot water heated by solar power so it is on 24 hours! Hollie has slept all the way through the night for the first time in ages due to the comfortable bed, and we have a communal kitchen where we have decided to self-cater for 2 nights. Home grub here we come! There is also free tea and coffee all day, definitely a plus in this climate. Santa Elena and Monteverde are both reserves situated in the cloudforest of the Costa Rican highlands. As we are surrounded by clouds there is a constant mist and drizzle. If you squint it almost feels like we are in the Alps due to all the wooden cabins that fill the hillsides.

During our short stay in Costa Rica we have noticed how Eco-friendly the country is and why it deserved a Noble Prize. All the fruit and veg that is served in restaurants is all grown from their own gardens, everything is recycled and as mentioned before most things are powered by solar panels. This is the most sustainable country in the world and will laugh at the rest of us when all the oil has run dry!

Apart from the Cloudforest Reserve our main reason for visiting Santa Elena/Monteverde was for the rainforest canopy tours. The canopy tours consist of 15 zip-lines that fly you across at 60mph with the plunging depths of the rainforest below. The longest zip-line was 1.2km long and the highest being 50m above the ground. A-MAZ-ING! Unfortunately we could not take pictures or videos while on the ziplines as we had to hold on for dear life. But there are a few snapshots of us so you get an idea. As well as the zip-lines there was a big tarzan swing across open forest. There is a video of me, but regrettably my camera ran out of battery so I could not get one of Thomas (convenient). But I assure you he screamed like a little girl! This is one of the best things we have done so far and Santa Elena will be a highlight of our journey!
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


grandad steve on

hi hols and tom great to see you having the time of your lives and enjoying the the food//

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: