The road to Monteverde was steep, narrow and within ten minutes the temperature had cooled down 10°C. We spent a very comfortable night camping around a bonfire with an open view of the starry sky. The next morning we hiked the famous Monteverde hike. Now that is a jungle! Trees covered with moss, incredible biodiversity at every canopy and the most colorful birds I have ever seen. But it was not the cloud forest everyone had described, probably due to the fact that we were there for the dry season. So off to zip lining we went! We did the two “Superman” where, as you can guess, you are strapped to the zip line by the back and off you go from hill to hill- over 1.5km (4920ft) long and about 90m (300ft) from the ground! That is the closest we will ever come to flying! Next came the Tarzan swing, which they might as well call bungee jumping. An exhilarating 43m drop! Next we decided it was time for a little TLC and the hot springs were calling our name. We checked into a nice resort nested under a volcano and enjoyed 2 days of doing nothing but hot springs, clay masks, a Swedish massage and a chocolate mask for me (don’t try eating it, I speak from experience.) With heavy hearts we waved goodbye to the only little bit of luxury we had gotten in the last 2 months and drove to Rio Celeste, a paradise often overlooked by tourists. The waterfall is an opaque turquoise blue, making the view so magical that I half expected a unicorn to come prancing around. As you continue the hike you will cross rickety bridges to the Teñidero point where two rivers collide. The pH change (acidity) causes a material in the water to change size and become visible, reflecting the sunlight and therefore making the water this turquoise blue.
We drove right up to Monteverde and found our favorite campsite in all of Costa Rica
This tree was full of tropical birds that woke us up every morning.
We arrived to one hell of a sunset
Not a bad spot to be juicing
We are not really flowers and fauna people, but Monteverde was so thick and full of life we couldn’t help but be captivated by the jungle that surrounded us. Warning: We kind of went a little nuts with the picture taking.
A rickety wobbly bridge through the canopy
The thickest lushest jungle we’ve ever seen
Are you sick of green yet?
While we didn’t see as much wildlife as Cabo Blanco, we were constantly surrounded by songbirds
View from the top of the park
We had been advised to wear a light jacket due to the “clouds” in the forest. Luckily dry season kept the skies clear for us.
Some of these pictures I took purely to make my mom jealous
A fern plant growing a new stem and leaf.
We’re not much of biologists, but we did try.
Lots more Coati in the forest. These guys are fearless, they’d walk right onto the road.
Jealous yet mom?
Most of the hike was in the shade and pretty damp. For the first time in days we were glad to be in the sun.
Color hidden everywhere
Ok, I probably should’ve put the camera down at this point
At least that’s what I think it’s called
This is most definitely not called that.
The trails were thankfully well groomed. Two steps off and we would’ve been in knee deep mud and jungle.
If you know what this is, let me know.
There was something amazing about it though right?
They may look good, but they are poisonous
Can’t you picture Tarzan making his way through here?
Half of the park was closed for maintenance during our visit, but it the closed trail sure looked mysterious.
Walking in the shade
This was the greenest lizard we’d ever seen
Love the way the trees and vines wrap around each other.
After Monteverde we went on a canopy tour with Adventura.
Getting ready to go
Plenty to see in the canopy
Couldn’t see the jungle floor
Across a few more rickety bridges
Getting ready for a 100 foot repel
Except for Natasha it was more like 100 foot freefall (they caught her 2 feet off the ground)
Warning: GoPro’s do not make for the most flattering photos.
Natasha didn’t make it all the way. She had to get a tow to the end. (Notice the foot)
One hell of a view
It’s a bird… it’s a plane…
The last part of the canopy tour was a 120 foot “Tarzan swing”. Warning: GoPro’s do not make for the most flaterring selfies, especially when in freefall
120 foot free fall with a rope that catches you and sends you swingin!
Notice the dot in the top right corner
But she was so light she actually hit a few trees at the far end. Silly monkey.
A quick drive around Laguna de Arenal took us to Montana de Fuego to relax in the hot springs
The view of Arenal from our room was pretty awesome
After saving some cash by camping most of the way, we were ready to really relax for a few days.
It used to put on an incredible display at night with the lava flows. These days it just quietly smokes and smolders.
I think Ean secretly wishes he could be a travel photographer.
The hot springs were perfect for an all day soak. Only concern was they were a bit small, but lucky for us it was low season and the place was empty.
I hope they didn’t mind us grilling on the porch.
Volcanic mud from the pits around Arenal was available for a little prehistoric exfoliation.
After Arenal we took off North to find Rio Celeste, a river recommended by other travelers. Note: these photos are not touched up at all for saturation. This is actually how this river looks. It was hard to believe even when we were staring at it.
It was about an hour and a half to get there on some interesting roads.
But the drive out of the way was completely worth it.
Some rickety bridges on the hike out
But the river kept turning bluer and bluer as we neared the source.
A few other rivers connected with Rio Celeste, showing the difference between regular river water.
Where two rivers combine, Buenavista River and Sour Creek. Buenavista has the aluminosilicate and Sour Creek has the acidity. The jump in pH causes the aluminosilicates to increase in size big enough to reflect the sunlight creating what you see above.
After Rio Celeste it was time to drive back to the coast. So much more to explore in the highlands, but not enough time.
Recommendations: Monteverde Stay: La Colina Lodge (includes yoga studio, bonfire and indoor lounge with wifi) Monteverde Zip lining: Aventura Canopy Tour La Fortuna Stay: Montana de Fuego Resort & Spa