Today we left the hotel parador and Manuel Antonio national park for a 4+ hour trek to Monteverde and the cloud forest.
Before leaving this morning, I got up early (well, early for me) hoping to see some more monkeys before we left. I walked around the grounds of the hotel, and then on the monkey trail down the cliff a bit. Sadly, I didn't see anymore monkeys but I did see some other birds and took lots of great pics of plants and flowers with raindrops on them.
We left manuel antonio and took the road up the coast. We stopped in Jaco for some ice cream. There was also a Jewish kosher store in town. Very random. Jaco is know as a transition area from the wet tropical forest in quepos to a dry tropical forest with deciduous trees. It really is amazing how dry it is here compared to where we were. We then went thru Tarcoles and over the crocodile bridge. We looked, but there were no crocodiles out. We really lucked out the other day.
After tarcoles we got nack on the new highway and went thru the port town of punta arenas on the gulf of nicoya. We then turned onto the pan American highway which stretches from Alaska down to Patagonia. At this point we were about 5 hours south of the Nicaraguan border.
We stopped for lunch at caballo blanco around Miramar and had some great arroz con pollo.
After lunch, we turned off the pan american highway and proceeded up the windy and bumpy road to Monteverde. From where we had lunch near miramar to Monteverde it is only 15-20 km, but it took us a couple hours due to the road conditions. Apparently the road had been "scraped" a week ago (?) so we made better time than our guide anticipated. At times I was afraid we would go over the side of the road because the road was so narrow. As scary as it was it was a beautiful ride. We climbed from sea level to 4500 feet in 15-20 km. All along we had views of mountains down to the gulf of nicoya.
Our hotel is amazing. It is on the side of a mountain with buildings climbing up the side. We were the fifth building up and the views are fabulous. The rooms are also great. My roomate and I are in a corner room with 2 king beds and view to die for.
I took a quick walk after checking in and dropping off my bags and went a little ways into town. I stopped at a craft store and found a really cool piece of mango wood that was shows in a unique way and painted. The artist is from Monteverde and only sells her work out of this shop. I'll have to post a picture when I get home.
Early day tomorrow. We'll be going over a bunch of suspension bridges and then going on a zip line tour thru the canopy! So cool, yet so scary.