Monteverde

Monteverde Travel Blog

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Lake Arenal

Saturday 3/13 - Shuttle picked us up at 8:50 for the boat/van transfer across Arenal lake to Monteverde.  $25 per person . Cloudy today with just occasion rain showers. Quick 15 minute ride to the lake where there was a 25 passenger ferry with cover waiting.  With 20 people and luggage on board it seemed overloaded.  As we headed out more toward the middle of the lake the water became rougher with white caps, I had my eye on the life vests. Very picturesque terrain, green mountains and an occasional house tucked into the trees.  Not a pleasant 40 minute ride, however if it were better weather it would have been very enjoyable.

Hotel Belmar

     On the other side 2 vans were waiting.  All luggage was put on top and we piled in like sardines for the rough, pot holed, up and down ride to Monteverde.  As we went along seeing grassy hill sides and grazing cattle our driver moved over to let the other van pass and we slid into a ditch.  They had to force the door open and we all had to get out so they could push the van out of the ditch.  We laughed about it, it was so fitting for the ride.  With the roads being muddy I think a 4X4 would have been safer.  2 hours 15 minutes later we were dropped off at our hotel The Belmar.

                               

 

     The Belmar was located up a hill from the main road.

Johnny's pizza
  Our room was in the main building with a great distant view of the Nicoya Peninsula.  The view also included a

tropical garden with a large pond and an enclosed hot tub house.  Our room had 2 queen beds, vaulted ceilings, and hardwood floors and walls. Very nice reception area and restaurant & bar with balcony.

     We headed for Johnny’s pizza for lunch.    Johnny’s was not like our typical Straw Hat it was more than a pizza place it was very nice with a nice Italian menu and great prices.  Ken and I ordered a med pizza $11 and chicken fettuccini $5,  Jim and Jan ordered steak sandwich $4 and pork ribs $5.  We all raved about the meal. We would be eating left over pizza for dinner.  Taxi to Monteverde Cloud Forest just up the pot holed dirt road. $12 for a 2 hour self guided easy trail hike through the forest.

Monteverde Cloud forest
  Trails were made of bricks with holes in them for sure footing or log centers with wire on top of them.  Very dense jungle with many kinds of trees, plants, flowers and Tarzan type vines hanging down. Did not see any wildlife only a few birds.  We did go across a long hanging bridge that looked like a miniature Golden Gate especially with the wind and fog.  About 65 degrees today. Stopped by the well known Stella’s Bakery and got pastries for breakfast.  The Belmar was the only Hotel on the trip that did not include breakfast.

     We had cocktails and pizza for dinner in Jim’s room.  Very rainy and windy this evening.  Being on the top floor the winds were really loud all night.  I still got good nights sleep.

     This town is very small and spread out in the hills with more trees than La Fortuna.  Very hippy, Berkeley type feel here.

Sunset through the window at Belmar

Sunday 3/14 - Rainy/Windy this morning.   We had Selventura Zip lines scheduled for 10:00am and we canceled because of wind and rain.  Come to find out they canceled all the tours that morning because of wind also. 

          Decided to go to the Frog Pond and took a guided tour of different types of frogs and toads.  Very interesting that some toads eat mice.  Saw very colorful poisonous frogs and the famous frog (the colorful frog you see in all the pictures & paintings.)  Not a real frog pond they are all in glass enclosures. Took taxi to local co-op market and had great cup of local Monteverde coffee.  Walked down the street to a very simple local open air place that is owned by a local Quaker.  He was one of the original Quakers who came here 53 years ago to avoid the draft.

cute frog
 The trip from Alabama took 3 ½ months in 1951.  He had numous pictures of the trip and when he first arrived.  I had Sundays special Costa Rican Stew $4, it was good and filling.

     After lunch the sun came out and we decided to try and get the last Canopy tour at Selventura.  We grabbed an ice cream at the cheese factory and caught a taxi to Selventura about 25 minutes. Got on the last Zip line tour for $35 which included the ride back to the hotel.

   

 

 

                                                           

      Got strapped up, had helmet and gloves too.

Selventura Zip lines 19 platforms. Like $35 wow loved it.
  I was very hesitant because I’m scared of heights but I knew I was going to do it no matter what.  We were driven 5 minutes, and then hiked up about a quarter mile to the starting point. Jan spotted a small snake curled up on the trail that some people had just walked over.  It looked just like the ground and found out it was a common brown tree snake. After a short training session we were ready to go.   I climbed the tree to the platform, they hooked me up and I was off! Wow!  What a rush!  The lines were very long and high off the ground.  I zipped fast over the virgin cloud forest thru clouds, most of the time not seeing the other platform until you were almost there. I sailed over trees, canyons, and streams and came very close to some trees along the way. Some of the lines were as high as 300 feet and some as long as 300 yards.  I would zip from tree to tree, at one point there were 20 of us on one tree platform and when the wind came up the whole tree started moving and creaking.
Ken coming down to the end
  The guide would help you get snapped onto the cable you would sit on your harness with your legs crossed in front of you.  You would use your gloved hand as a brake on the cable to slow you down. If you stopped too soon before the platform you had to turn around and pull yourself up to it.  After the first 5 platform zips you were able to concentrate on view. Could not believe the absolute beauty of the area it was like a misty adventure dream or a Disney ride. The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done. 2 ½ hours and 19 platforms later it was over. Selventura is the longest and only canopy Zip tour in Costa Rica that is actually located inside the cloud forest.  Selventura also has hanging bridges.  It’s a must do for anyone going to Monteverde.

     On the drive back the driver stopped after spotting a 2 toed sloth in a tree near the road.  Soon all the cars were stopping and looking.  It was a blond colored sloth about 20 feet up a tree.

The Belmar
  Very rare to see one moving around in the daylight.  Got some good shots with the movie camera.

     Had dinner at the Belmar, buffet style $12 pp.  They let us bring our own wine to dinner without a corkage fee.  What a great dinner, Chicken stroganoff, beef casserole, sea bass with garlic sauce, mashed potatoes, pasta  plantains, green salad, bean salad and the best dessert I’ve ever had coconut tres les cake.  What a great day we had.

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Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Got stuck in ditch.
Got stuck in ditch.
Hotel Belmar
Hotel Belmar
Johnnys pizza
Johnny's pizza
Monteverde Cloud forest
Monteverde Cloud forest
Sunset through the window at Belmar
Sunset through the window at Belmar
cute frog
cute frog
Selventura Zip lines 19 platforms.…
Selventura Zip lines 19 platforms…
Ken coming down to the end
Ken coming down to the end
The Belmar
The Belmar
Heading down the hill with Oscar
Heading down the hill with Oscar
Monteverde
photo by: smhirsch