After leaving the Caribbean coast of Puerto Viejo, Brandon and I drove back to the middle of Costa Rica for some more hiking, waterfalls, nature, and jungles. Up in Monteverde, we enjoyed long hikes through the mountains and jungles of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. This reserve is 26,000 acres and consists of 6 ecological zones, 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian species, and thousands of insects…get out that repellent!! We also went to the Selvetura park for some more walks, but this time on 8 different suspension bridges (some up to 150ft high!). Here, we were given access to a hummingbird garden full of hundreds of wild hummingbirds! There were about 15 different feeders were hummingbirds would quickly buzz past you and then zip away into a nearby tree. The noise of their wings alone was exciting enough, but a very cool experience altogether!
There was even an unexpected visitor coming to look at the hummingbirds too 🙂
For the first few days we stayed in a bed & breakfast high up in the mountains near the Poas Volcano and overlooking Mango Valley. There was a small infinity pool at the edge of the property that was unfortunately too cold to swim in, but made for a beautiful sunset and sunrise view 🙂 Since we were rather far from town, we made one trip in to pick up some local produce, spices, and tilapia and then headed back to our place for a night of home-cooked fish tacos! Yum yum
The next day we got up early for breakfast and headed towards the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and nature park. This is one of the most beautiful and lush places we have ever been! There is a luxury hotel attached so plenty of amenities (spa, restaurant, public restrooms, etc), but the grounds are immaculately kept! There are clear, defined pathways guiding you throughout the whole park as well as easy to follow signs. The park features hiking to five different waterfalls in the cloud forest (including the La Paz) and a rescue wildlife preserve with over 100 species species of animals. It was really fascinating to see all the wild Costa Rican species in one place! There is a full aviary with parrots, macaws, and toucans –one even “kissed” me (aka took a piece of food I had between my lips lol). There are several areas with Capuchin and black-handed spider monkeys and also a section for wild cats like jaguars, pumas, and ocelots. They also have a hummingbird garden with a nearby butterfly garden and orchid garden. We quickly went through the reptile section and visited the lizards and snakes (ew, snakes!) but had to hang around the frogs for a bit longer. This was such a cool exhibit! It was an enclosed room full of palms and other tropical plants and the frogs were everywhere! The first room was full of the small poisonous frogs, so we obviously did our best to spot the little guys and then move on. But the second room had the red-eyed tree frog. I have never seen one up close before and they are gorgeous!!! A man who looked after the frogs brought one over to us to hold. Their little hands were so sticky and gummy feeling, but it was hilarious because the frogs would hold on tight as if they didn’t want to leave you 🙂
From there, we hiked through the jungle to visit all of the waterfalls. The La Paz is the most famous one, but we were more impressed with the Magia Blanca. Wow! This waterfall is 120 ft high (actually 10 ft higher than La Paz) and you can get right up next to it…well, practically behind it! It’s amazing to see the force of the water! Mother Nature is crazy!
As the day comes to an end, so does our time in Costa Rica. After 3 weeks here, we’re ready to move on to somewhere new, but hope that one day in the future we can come back. There is so much to see and do in Costa Rica and it’s so incredibly beautiful!! Really exceeded our expectations! We are, however, sorry to say that when you’re full time travelers, your plans can change at the drop of a hat. We originally planned on heading down to South America for the next 5-6 weeks, but after hours and hours of research, the costs seemed a little too high (especially for two people who are unemployed lol). South America is not the easiest place to get from country to country without taking an expensive plane ride and driving isn’t exactly ideal either. Bouncing from country to country isn’t as friendly to the wallet as it was in Europe. So for now, South America will have to move to a “Must travel here in the future” list. In place of heading south, we’re heading north to warmer climates…and instead of exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu, we’re going to check out the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan. Not exactly the same, but we’ll get to visit one of the Wonders of the World…while enjoying the stunning Caribbean beaches 🙂 My kind of vacation!
Onward to Mexico!