When I say that Costa Rica blew me away, I mean that quite literally, I was seriously blown away, The winds in Monteverde were massive and unrelenting, with gusts being gravely accentuated by poor construction materials in the hostel. I can’t say I minded it though because 1.) it reminds me of home, and 2.) it was a relief to escape the balmy heat of the coast.
Although I do miss comfortably sitting outside, I can’t complain about the nice change in environment, and by change, I mean a drop in 30 degrees in a matter of hours. One morning we are sitting in 93 degree heat trying (unsuccessfully) not to sweat on every surface we came into contact with, and by nightfall we were bundled under blankets as the wind and rain pelted down and we seriously questioned the durability of the hostel’s windows. This sudden change in weather shouldn’t come as a surprise as Costa rica isn’t exactly known for its subtleties. Nonetheless, Monteverde is a rainforest oasis and we were surrounded by lucious greenery at every turn. (Literally, we were surrounded by lime green walls in our hostel, lime green tiles in the shower, lime green on the chairs…)
Things to Do in Monteverde
Sky Walk ($25 w/ student ID through the hostel- would have been $31 if booked there. Score!); A series of eight suspension bridges take you along the tops of the rainforest and the views are pretty spectacular, to say the least. There’s just something mystical about looking over the canopies in all their misty glory. Beware though, the bridges do sway (kindly refer to unrelenting wind above).
Jungle Night Tour ($20 through the hostel- $25 if booked there). It was fun to walk through the pitch black jungle with flashlights, but it’s a one-and-done kind of activity for me. It is awesome in theory but a bit inefficient in practice; it’s challenging enough to see animals in the daytime, let alone seeing them by arbitraily flashing a light around in the darkness of the night. By some miracle we saw insects, a snake, a sloth from afar and a taruntula from not so afar.
Beso Espresso. Hands down the best mochaccino I’ve ever had. If you need more convincing of it’s greatness than that, I’ll just put it out there that they also roast their own beans in-house and their coffee is well-priced. Now how do you say not to that? Sidenote: One of the nice things (among many) about travelling with your best friends is that you get to try even more food and drinks, whether they like your reaching arms or not. The point being is that I can attest that the caramel and vanilla lattes are just as good.
Relaxing in Samara
Prior to heading inland we had spent the week on the Pacific Ocean, starting in Sámara, a tiny beach town boasting all the things that come with being, well, a tiny beach town. We proved to be rookies though since we spent the first few days at the popular beach close to town, Playa Samara (I know, creative choice in name, right?). Luckily we wisened up on our last day and took a 20 minute bus to Playa Carrillo where we were rewarded with clearer water, more shady palm trees and a fraction of the crowd. Overall, Sámara is a great place to relax and unwind, and if you happen to like iguanas then you basically found yourself in paradise.
Next up was Tamarindo, a touristy beach and party town. If I had been blindfolded, airdropped there and told I was in Southern California, I wouldn’t have questioned it at all. I’m not saying it wasn’t great, but if it is authentic Costa Rica you are seeking, then you won’t find it here. Despite this, Tamarindo is popular for good reason; the coast is easily accessible and you eat, drink and live on the warm sunny beach. We spent a good portion of our time laying in the sunshine, cooling off in the ocean, watching unbelievably beautiful sunsets and enjoying drinks out of watermelons and coconuts.
My time in Costa Rica is quickly coming to an end and it’s almost time to wave goodbye and say hello to Peru. Unfortunately, between the two, I have 11 hours of flying and 22 hours of layovers (Merry Christmas to me!), so brace yourselves, more blog posts are coming.