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Monteverde, Costa Rica

January 26th, 2006

My program has arranged for our group to spend a week of our orientation in Monteverde which is much more rural than Heredia. It took about 4 hours to get here by bus, mostly because the roads are rough and driving is slow going. But, it was worth every bumpy minute, because it is spectacular here!

We’re attending classes at the Monteverde Institute, and living with a new family for the week that we’re here. The closest town is Cerro Plano, which is a very small rural town. The town really consists of one street, along which there are a few hotels and restaurants. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Santa Elena, which is a small town that is only slightly bigger than Cerro Plano.

I love it here! The town is nestled amoung beautiful rich rolling hills, and has some of the most spectular sunsets I’ve ever seen. Everything has a small town feel, and all the pepople here know each other by name. The Ticos here are especially nice, and life runs at a much slower pace than in Heredia. Many of the other students in my group prefer Heredia, because there is more to do. I, however, am a country person at heart and fit in really well here.

There is a pretty booming (relatively) tourist industry here, and there are almost as many Gringos as Ticos. There is plenty to do in the way of nature walks, but not much of a night life.

Yesterday we went on a skywalk, which consists of walking through rainforests on suspended bridges. It was very beautiful, and we had a guide who was very friendly and knowledgable about the flora and fauna. We took a guided tour through a cloud forest today, which was also a lot of fun. The tour through the cloud forest reserve was much longer, and I would only recommend it for those who can walk uphill for more than 2 hours. I thought the latter tour was more interesting than the first, mostly because it was longer and we saw more of the forest. We spotted a lot of birds, including the endangered Queztals (sp?) and various different types of wrens and hummingbirds.

If you’re thinking about coming to Monteverde, I would certianly encourage you to do so, and I have three tips:

1. Bring a raincoat! There are only two seasons here, rainy and windy. It’s the windy season right now, and it still rains at least once a day.

2. Because of the above mentioned rain, bring more than one pair of shoes, and be sure to include at least one pair of hiking boots.

3. Be sure to take the time to stop and talk to the locals here. They are very knowledegable about the area, and love to talk about their culture. Many of them speak English if you need it (especially those who are younger), and if you are trying to improve your Spanish they will take the time to slow down their Spanish and help you with the words you need.

We are going back to Heredia on Monday, so hopefully I’ll be able to post a link for pictures of both Heredia and Monteverde then. Until then Pura Vida!

3 Responses to “Monteverde, Costa Rica”

  1. Edu on January 29, 2006 7:25 am

    Being a native of Monteverde I am bias when I say is one of the most beutiful places in Costa Rica, yet I disagree with you about the small town feeling that you describe. That was the case perhaps some ten years ago, now the comunity is more fragmented. A lot of people have moved to the area because of the lure of the tourist industry, hence there has been some rapid growth on the population which has put pressures on the real state market(although it seems to be constant all over the country). I particulary prefer the smaller towns around Montevede that do not have any tourism industry going for them (yet). For example Guacimal, San Luis, Las Nubes, Cabeceras etc.
    Thank You for writing so many beutiful things about my country and my hometown.

  2. C.Chitty on February 16, 2006 5:05 pm

    I think that you´re right that there´s been an influx of tourism into Monteverde, that was obvious even in Cerro Plano where there are many restaurants, hotels, and art galleries which obviously cater to tourists. However, I still felt a small town atmospehere. Every Tico I met there knew my host family personally and knew where they live. I could ask my host mom the name of anyone I met, or the name of any of the families my friends were staying with, and she could tell me something about every single one of them. I call that small town!

  3. marta carbonell on April 30, 2006 8:34 am

    I would like to have information about the way you went to Costa Ricas. I mean, was is “a exchange student program” or something like that. I am very, very interested and would appreciate any information.

    Thank you,