Posted by: vlbyers | February 13, 2012

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Beautiful flowers of the area

The 2 hour dirt/rocky road

The road to Monteverde

Nice view

Vicki on Suspension bridge in park

Our friend Gueillerme

Old way of crushing the cane

Red soft skins removed from coffee

Our coffee and lemonade samples

Arechera-pretty yummy

While we were at Playa del Coco we talked with several people who visited some places in Costa Rica so we decided to take an extra few days and go to one of the most well known places called Monteverde.
“Set atop the spine of Costa Rica’s continental divide, Monteverde is a world above the coastal towns that dot the country’s famous shoreline. It is a place of cloud forests and coffee plantations, monkeys, mist, and friendly locals. The town of Santa Elena is small and quaint, filled with tasty restaurants and folksy artisan shops, while the nearby rainforest hosts a remarkable amount of biodiversity.
Due to its high altitude – some 4,662 ft (1,440 m) above sea level – Monteverde is privileged to receive a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to the other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching ecosystem, one that harbors over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants, 420 of which are orchids alone.”
The above excerpt was taken from
We took advantage of an offer from a nice young man we met at playa del Coco who was planning to visit Monteverde and who had rented a car. The trip was going to be about 3 ½ hours, Guillerme wanted to take advantage of the whole day and was returning the same day to his hotel room which meant he wanted to arrive there by the time the park opened at about 8am. We would start off at 0430!?
There wasn’t a guide available when we got to the park so we hiked around the many well kept trails on our own for about 3 hours. On the way we saw one butterfly, a moth and a fly, oh we did catch a bird out of the corner of our eye flying through. Obviously we didn’t see the reported hundreds of animals there are. We did see many different types of vegetation, beautiful flowers, moss and enjoyed the hike in and of itself. At times it felt like a rainforest and others we felt it was more like a jungle.
rain•for•est A dense evergreen forest with an annual rainfall of at least 406 centimeters (160 inches). Rainforests are often, but not always, located in tropical regions.
jun•glea wild land overgrown with dense vegetation, often nearly impenetrable, especially tropical vegetation or a tropical rain forest
So it seems that a rainforest can also be a jungle but a jungle isn’t necessarily a rainforest if it doesn’t have enough rainfall.
We had a great time hiking with our new friend Guillerme, he is from France but lives in LA. He is very into photography and I am sure he got some amazing photos. After the hike at Monteverde guillerme went on to do a zipline canopy tour, we went on to take a nap.
The next day we went to a coffee and sugar cane tour at El Trapiche. Trapiche is the Spanish word for ‘sugar mill’ and this farm is owned by a local family, the 4th generation is actively working the farm, the 5th generation is still a bit young from what we heard. The coffee is ripe and ready to harvest so we were able to see all the steps in the process of coffee making. The sugar cane was also interesting and we got to taste the brown sugar that is the first process, and for this family the last, in the making of sugar. White sugar that most of us are familiar is the last step in a highly processed food. The tour included a glimpse of a sleeping sloth, picking the ripe coffee beans, education regarding of the growth of coffee, sugar cane and bananas and ended with making of candy, having a cup of coffee and lemonade and some of the local arracache, a dish made from the arracache plant, potato, garlic and some peppers. This dish is typically made for weddings and a question you might ask your friend who has been dating someone for a while is ‘when do we eat arracache’? In other words ‘when’s the wedding?’
Tomorrow we will wake bright and early to catch a bus to Nicaragua and then on to San Salvador.

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