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Costa Rica - Monteverde Cloud forest

The final destination on our amazing 6 stop, 16 day Costa Rican adventure is MonteVerde or more accurately Santa Elena, a sprawling hill station area popularised several decades ago by National Geographic who ran a story on the amazing local biodiversity, and caused a massive wave of travelling biologists/tourists heading up the unmade up roads and lodging in the corrugated shacks available then. There has been an explosion of accomodation assisted by a steady road improvement effort by the CR authorities. Now the roads remain steep but are tarmac. Pot holes galore. Our crappy rental did make it , but would certainly recommend a 4x4 for anyone coming.

The accomodation ranges from super luxury to the grottiest of hostels. Mostly characterised by a 1970's ski resort chalet type feel. (The town reminds me of school skiing trips in Italy ! Debbie her name was... )

Dramatic weather change compared to Pacific coast, with day time winds making the 26* often feel much cooler, and intermittent drizzle. Down to 19*c at night causing frantic suitcase rummaging! I found this a welcome relief, but those of you familiar with NHS on the Run are aware that any loss of direct sun can lead to crashing mood changes in the touring party! Eh hem...

Our hotel, Mar Inn, very mid range and clean, exactly as described, cant fault it. Except the roof is corrugated, oh yes: and designed like rotar blades on a helicopter, which seem to catch the up draft of the howling wind, making it feel like the lids about to come off! Apart from that it's great.

We are here just 3 nights and as ever first night in Costa Rica demands a night walk - ours was amazing taking in sleepy birds, including both sorts of tucan seen locally , one of which is amusingly pronounced Kill Bill Tucan by Stephan our guide - it's Keel Billed ! But prefer The Tarantino version. Also green tree climbing pit vipers, and frogs, Tarantula etc... excellent adventure and first excursion into cloud Forest.

Orange kneed tarantula in her nest

Scorpion shows up amazingly well under uv light

Female tree frog.....

but we sadly never managed to see the amazing Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Also called the red-eyed leaf frog or gaudy leaf frog, it's easily distinguished by it's vibrant colors and bright red eyes. This beauty is definitely on my list of things to see one day, as it was the image that stands out most in my mind from my 1970's junior National Geographic series, which made such an impression on me as a kid!

Red eyed tree frog as seen at the airport ! In the photo book "wild life of Costa Rica " ( sadly )

Despite my palpable sadness at not seeing this beauty we had an amazing trip.

Next day we did zip lining, Tarzan swing, and cloud bridges on a tour arranged

through The Original Canopy tours

We really enjoyed the zip lines , tested a few fears of heights, and shrieked like a baby on the Tarzan swing. everyone does this when they are here, and there are kids on the tours that might make the trip feel a bit Disney for some, but got to say we really enjoyed it. Highly recommended

Next day we did a coffee chocolate and sugar cane tour with El Trapiche. Really interesting ... so much to do, adrenaline or caffeine which ever your drug of choice it's catered for ! very sad that our holiday is over, we waved goodbye to Fred and Nat at their hostel near San Jose Airport, checked into the Amex Lounge and settled back for our obligatory BA 4 hour delay ! Can't wait for our next NHS on the run Adventures - most likely more modest Van based trips for the next few months but all great experiences To be looked forward to And relished!

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David Price
David Price
Mar 15, 2022

Loved our vicarious trip to CR. Thank you. x

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