I Finally Went to Monteverde
I spent 3 nights in Monteverde after avoiding it for 5 years. I’ve always favored Costa Rica’s Central Highlands. Places like San Ramon and Bajos del Toro are so comfortably far from the tour buses and so comfortably close to San Jose, with all of the misty coolness that makes a cloud forest. Why would I travel twice as far to go somewhere twice as crowded?
A work opportunity finally placed me in Monteverde this April and many things appeared as I had expected. There was no shortage of big bus tours. There was no sense of real discovery. There was, however, a number of small moments in between the lines that made Monteverde worth the drive.
Monteverde is Scenic
I couldn’t get enough of the views. From my room I could see the Gulf of Nicoya beyond the rolling green and browns of the mountains. Picture a Hidden Valley Ranch label but better and with half the calories.
The Monteverde Reserve is an Enchanted Forest
This really is quintessential cloud forest. Even though the hiking paths are highly manicured and there are a number of people bustling throughout the reserve, it was still magical. The eco-system is mind-blowing; you can practically hear and feel the trees growing and breathing around you.
The People of Monteverde are Beautiful
Literally. My travel companion and I officially endorsed Adrian -one of our many wonderful guides – as the face of Monteverde because, well, he has the best face in Monteverde. He was also knowledgeable and incredibly kind, like every other Tico we met in Santa Elena/Monteverde.
Horseback riding was one of my scheduled tours and uh, horses are definitely not my thing. Not even close. I feel extremely uneasy riding on the back of an animal. Since I was travelling for work, I reluctantly agreed to the tour in the name of good business, whatever that means. Even though I was nervous and uncomfortable, 14 year old Alejandro made everything so much easier. This kid was amazing. He gives guided tours on horseback twice a day, using the money to helping his family keep their finances in good shape. His work ethic was impressive, and so were his attempts to distract me from my fear. He drilled me on Spanish vocab and kindly assisted me when my horses started to run and I froze. I know, I’m a baby. This kid, still in braces and not fully through the dance of puberty, has his shit together.
I only had 3 nights and a miniscule pocket of free time so it was hard to get a sense of the true heart of this popular destination. But I was able to enjoy a few delightful crumbs of the sabor Monteverde, mainly in the form of a friendly locals. I was surprised that the residents could be so open and kind to us even though their town was/is frequently flooded with tourists. We walked into a roadside shop and were immediately invited to a party by the owner. So cool!