Samara to Montverde
The road for the first couple of hours back into the interior was the primary road that we had covered on the way to the coast, but when we turned toward Montverde the roads got considerably worst. It was a repeat of the trip to Zapotel trip with more partially paved roads but some very large ruts. I was afraid that I had made a serious mistake booking into Montverde not knowing if there was even a town.
When we finally got to Montverde, it is indeed a big community up in the Cloud forest. How it got there with the road system is a miracle. The sun was shining with a light mist.
It is a short walk from our hotel to the main square in Montverde. There are several tourist shops, a large grocery, and many little restaurants. One very nice place is called the Tree House as it is built around a 70 year old Ficus tree. The Costa Ricans (or Ticos as they call themselves), are very environmentally conscious as well as health conscious. Many of the restaurants cater to vegans and vegetarians.
Our hotel is nice but much like a fancy hostel. The breakfast was very good and the rooms clean but small with private bath. The kitchen was open for you to use yourself after the breakfast rush.
We decided to go on a nature hike to the Montverde Cloud Forest the next day and purchases transport and guide from the hotel. It was getting rainy and very windy - but it is a rain forest so you can't expect not to get wet. By morning however it was very rainy and the wind was relentless. We thought the roofing would get blown off. But it is a rain forest, so we decided to go anyway.
Our guide was very knowledgeable. He worked for the park not an independent guide. There were three other couples on the tour as well - one from Canada, one from Scotland and another from Texas. The rain forest canopy helps to keep you a little drier than out from under it - but it was raining so hard that we just got soaked. The hike was easy and we saw some birds, a hummingbird in her nest and crossed a hanging bridge. The hanging bridge was very substantial, not like you see in the movies. The guide had a very substantial telescope and when we couldn't see the birds with our naked eyes he snapped a shot on our camera through the scope. Note to self - we should have brought our binoculars with us on a trip to see wild life.
When we got back to the hotel I was ready for a nice dry dinner. There were a few small local restaurants near the hotel and we struggled against the wind to go to the closest one. We had a lovely meal of grilled chicken and vegetables. The wind howled all night.
The next day the weather was a little better so we decided to take the obligatory coffee, chocolate and sugar cane tour. The medium sized tour bus picked us up from the hotel and ploughed its way on the narrow winding streets of Montverde to the farm or Don Carlos. The 3 in 1 tour took us in to the small coffee farm, cacao trees and sugar cane. Our guide demonstrated all the processes and provided a fun time and some good treats of coffee, chocolate and a lemonade made from the freshly quizzed juice of the cane. I had never tasted that and expected that it would be too sweet - but it wasn't, just very refreshing.
Our last night the wind died down and we left for La Fortuna mid-morning.