So this week we started with an early morning road trip to Monteverde. It was a treacherous journey. 3 hours on the mini bus and then a ferry ride and then another 3 hours on the mini bus again. Everyone was very tired when we arrived in Monteverde but we were all blown away by the views. Mountains on mountains so high that they are covered with clouds. But the best thing was is that there was a breeze! We felt the cold. We hadn’t felt cold since before we arrived so it was so refreshing. I won’t bore you with the unnecessary details of that, we got shown our rooms and then had our lunch from the hostel. We had a free afternoon to do what we wanted, so we could explore the town and do some shopping or find some more food to eat, it was up to us. That evening we all went out to dinner to restaurant called ‘The Treetop restaurant’. They built the building around this enormous tree and the tree is now intertwined into the building, you need to climb the statues attached to the tree to enter the restaurant it’s quite an entrance. This was a farewell dinner for one of our team leaders, Rachel, we were all extremely sad to see her leave but she needed to go back to Cuba to help out there. An emotional time for a few of us but we all wished her luck and we all hope to see her again.
The next day we all had a hike, which we were told was going to be tough as it was quite steep. I feel that this was a very big understatement. We walked 7.2 miles up a mountain. I was at the back of the group with my friend Christina. We were both struggling and nearly gave up 10+ times. My legs felt like they were non-existent and then they felt like I had bags of sand attached to them. But when we got to the top it was all worth it. The views were breathtaking. I’ve never felt more accomplished about something in my life. We could see for miles and we could also Arenal volcano in the distance covered by clouds. We stayed there for a while taking in the beauty of what was around us. Then we headed up along this path to a house where a man was, who gave us all water. When we got there we were also greeted by a Coati. I’ve worked at a zoo with these animals before and it was surreal to see one in the wild. After we had drunk our water we headed back down the mountain which was less difficult than going up, but still tough. Once we were back down to the hostel we had around 2 hours until our next activity. Zip lining…
We all loaded on to the bus that would take us up into the forest for our activity. When we arrived we needed to pay and then we all got kitted out. We all looked great. We then all headed up the to first zip line. I was first to out of my group, no pressure to do a good job. The first two were small zip lines, still fun though. Then we all ended up on this platform and were then introduced to the longest zip line in Latin America. Which is 1590 meters long!
I was the first to go. Never been afraid of heights. This was soon questioned when I saw the zip line. I couldn’t see where it ended so safe to safe I was slightly terrified to say the least. So the guy hooked me on and said cross your legs and hold the rope. And then he pushed me. Oh my god, once I emerged from the trees I was out above the forest. It was breathtaking, beautiful and outstanding. Nothing I’ve ever seen before. I won’t repeat what I said whilst going along as it’s how do I say it, err non repeatable. I’ll just say I swore a lot. It felt like I was flying, I felt like I was up there for hours and was disheartened when it was coming to an end. I landed and was unattached and waited for more people from my group and the a few of us got in a what I would describe as a golf buggy and headed off to the next zip line. This one was called ‘The Superman’, I think you can all guess how we were attached on the the line. When we arrived the view was once again incredible. Still terrifyingly long. We got attached once again but on our back and where told to put our arms out and then he let us go. Oh my word. AMAZING. I just kept saying oh my god over and over, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was doing and where I was doing it. Views once again incredible, you don’t get bored of them, I would say it would be impossible to get bored of these views. I was in my element, so peaceful and so beautiful I didn’t want it to end. There was one thing that was slightly terrifying,  the guy at the beginning said you don’t need to brake they will brake for you. The thing is when I was coming in to land I’ll say I couldn’t see my self slowing down or how they were going to slow me down. So I just put my head down and hoped for the best. The break was on the cord and basically pulled me me back to slow me down. My god did it hurt my my chest, my friends said ‘it’s a good job you don’t have big boobs’, but it still hurts. We then went up some stairs to the next one which was superman again but this time we needed to keep our arms in, I think we were going to go faster this time. I didn’t feel like we were going faster but I didn’t care just to get to see more of those views was amazing. Next was the ‘Tarzan Swing’. Now I wasn’t scared to do this until I saw the drop. I 100% wanted to turn back but something was pulling me towards doing doing. Facing new fears. So basically the Tarzan jump is your on the end of a bridge with a gate. They open the gate you drop and then swing back and forth until you come to to ground safely. So I got to the end and one of the guys said to me ‘don’t cry because I will cry’ which made me smile a bit hiding the shear terror on my face. They hooked me on and opened the gate, I was about to bail when he pushed me. The drop was intense, I felt like I wasn’t attached to anything, that was the worst part. The rest was ok. I just screamed and screamed. Apparently it was piercing. I was amazing once I had stopped going fast and was closer to ground. Some of our group didn’t want to do which is fair enough as it was terrifying. We then proceeded to watch and encourage the rest of our group coming down. Then our zip lining day was over. We exhausted but had the best afternoon ever!
Our next day. Wednesday. We woke up early to go on another hike, this one was promised to be less strenuous and easier. I’ll tell you now. That was a lie. Anyway I’ll get back that later. We took a mini bus for about 30 minutes up in to the forest up in the clouds. We went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This was incredible, walking among clouds as we were so high up and they were so low down. Someone from the group said that the best way to describe the environment was a mix between The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park. We did walk for a while, it was also raining which was expected. The last half an hour was hard as we were all tired and weren’t really looking for anything as were where trying to keep our legs from conking out. The environment was incredible though.
When we arrived back me and two others visited an orchid garden. We were amazed that in this small garden were 450 species of orchid. And we were told that 88% of the worlds orchids are small not like the ones you see in supermarkets. Some had different scents, there was one that smelt like cinnamon and one that smelt like blood. I never knew the variety and just impressiveness of this species of flower.
That night most of our group, bar a few, went on a night walk. We were all given torches and headed of in to the trees. Not even 10 minutes into the hike and our guide spots something. A SLOTH. I can now tell you everyone we finally saw a sloth on our trip to Costa Rica! It was amazing. We were quite stunned to actually see one. It was asleep for a while and then slowly started to move across the branches, this also took a while as well they’re sloths. Fun fact, sloths move so slowly that algae grows on them.
We carried on walking and spotted some more animals, well our guide did. He showed us a green viper, incase anyone isn’t sure that’s a snake. When he first showed it to me I couldn’t see it, he kept saying it’s just there look and for the life of me I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t until I looked at a picture someone took of it that I could see and I went back to see it and I did. It’s camouflage was unbelievable I just saw straight through it. Next we were shown 3 different types of toucans.
They were all so beautiful.
By the next the day we were all aching bad. Everything hurt. Well granted everyday bar the day we got there we all were hurting and aching.
Anyway the last day came and Thursday was our last day in Monteverde. Me and a few others that I know of wanted to stay for longer as it is such a beautiful town and the environment and the wildlife just outstanding. Me and Christiana woke up early so we could get more things in before we left as that time hadn’t yet been confirmed. So we woke up at 7 and went to have breakfast at the orchid cafe. I wore trousers and a hoody. I felt so normal, and there was a breeze which actually lifted our hair off our backs. The best kind, the kind we had been craving. I had a latte. Yes a latte, in Costa Rica. it was a Latte Betty which was a latte served with cinnamon, honey, and a orange peel. The most amazing thing I’ve had drunk in this trip, it was incredible. Also I ordered some breakfast. I was beyond over the moon with my breakfast because all the way up in the mountains in a little town called Santa Elena in Costa Rica, me, a gluten intolerant 20 year old, had gluten free pancakes for breakfast. The best day to date yet. To add to this, I found a shop that had a gluten free section, it had bread. I cannot tell you enough how much I have craved bread. It was sign, that I had to buy it, and cover it with Nutella later. Moving on from me, me and Christina then moved on to a chocolate cafe. I did say we wanted to do as much as possible before we left. I brought some white chocolate that was infused with banana. Incredible. Unfortunately we then received a message from our group saying we needed to come back and finish packing as we would be leaving soon. After a while of everyone getting sorted out transport arrived and we set of home to Santa Teresa. After a couple of hours we stopped for lunch and then loaded back in to the van for the last leg of the journey. The journey was tough this time around as we drove the whole way back, no ferry. Costa Rican roads aren’t the smoothest of roads, so not really a chance of sleeping. When we arrived back when then had just under 2 hours to put our bags down and shower and get changed before going out for dinner as it was Isobel Fox’s 19th birthday, a fabulous new friend I have made within our group. We went to one of our local restaurants which is called Katana, which is a Asian fusion restaurant. The food absolutely fabulous. I ordered what was called ‘butter chicken’. Ridiculously mouthwatering. It was such a lovely night to celebrate Fox’s birthday (Isobel’s nickname as there are two Izzy’s, it’s extremely useful), we ordered her desert and put a candle in it and sang happy birthday to her. After our beautiful dessert of a slice of flourless (of course, I couldn’t miss out) dark chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream we all headed back to camp and went to bed as we were all exhausted from the day of travelling we had.
The next day was quite a chilled day. Most of slept in quite late. By late I mean 8-9. That is now a lie in for most of us. Me and some others, once we had arisen, went to do a food shop as we had no food in the house. Later on in the evening we all had a movie night and watched Hot Rod and Stepbrothers, everyone ordered pizza and we sat on the floor on cushions and watched the movies, it was a really nice evening.
The weekend was also pretty chill, on Sunday as it someone’s else’s birthday, Teliz Manahan. Me, Teliz, Christina, Isobel and Nathan all got massages. Just wonderful and you could hear the waves crashing in the background as we pretty much on the beach. We all felt very zen afterwards. We all then headed in to town for birthday brunch. We also picked up Teliz’s birthday cake which was a passion fruit cheesecake. Smelled ridiculously exquisite. We also then went back to Katana that night. An amazing night for us but not our wallets as it’s not cheap. But hey as we all keep saying when we will be here again? Live in the moment. Once we got back from Katana we brought Teliz’s cake out (as we were not allowed to take it to the restaurant) and sang happy birthday to him. We all then went bed and slept like babies on very full stomachs.
That is my second to last blog done. I can’t believe we leave in just over two weeks! Crazy, is didn’t believe my mum when she said time would fly by but now I’m seeing that she was indeed right. Farewell until my last and finally blog. X