Hey y’all! Writing to you from Costa Rica! I’ve been here for the past week to celebrate my sister Cara’s 30th birthday with a group of 9 girls! Most flew in just for a weekend on the beach, but 5 of us flew in a couple days early to explore the cloud forest.
I’m certainly no travel blogger, but y’all have asked me to share about my experience for your own planning purposes. Think of this more as a girlfriend-to-girlfriend chat, ok? I’ll share what we did and how we planned it, and I’ll share what did and didn’t work for us.
Flight: We took the Southwest flight from Dallas (I flew from Austin) through Houston to Liberia. It was around $700, which was much more expensive than flying into San Jose, but once we landed it was a much shorter shuttle (about 3 hours) to get to Monteverde.
Transportation: We booked a shuttle through Casa Batsú. It was easy to book online and about $50 a person. They picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at the airbnb, which made is so nice and easy!
The road up the mountain was paved for the first part, then gravel and bumpy for the last hour. OH MY GOOD LORD it was so rocky, ha! I’ve gotten motion sickness since I was young, so I should have probably brought some Dramamine with me… I was just keeping my eyes out the window and focusing on deep breaths the whole way.
We stayed in the town of Santa Elena, because one of the girl’s friends from Costa Rica recommended it. There was a lot of stuff to do (zip lining, suspension bridges, ATVs, night walks, hiking, and hot springs not too far away). We booked the suspension bridge and canopy tour through a company called 100% Adventura, and they included shuttle to/from the park. It was perfect for our group that had no car!
Our Airbnb was darling! It was basically a little treehouse in the jungle. There wasn’t a living room, just a downstairs kitchen and some stairs that went outside up to the two separate bedrooms.
Even though it was really cute and one of the most modern airbnbs I could find, I honestly still felt a bit like I was camping. “Glamping,” maybe? We had running water (it was mostly cold, but occasionally it would get hot) and a kitchen with all the normal appliances. But there were bugs everywhere, and it was so humid that the sheets and pillows always felt wet! If you love adventure and you’re used to sleeping outside, you’re probably thinking, “this girl is such a wimp!” But I love to go out and explore and get dirty during the day and then come home and get clean and dry and cozy….Santa Elena just wasn’t the town for that!
In June, the sun rises around 5:30 am and sets at 5:30 pm. We were woken up suuuuper early every day, then went to bed like grannies at 8 pm. (Can I be honest with ya? I loved it!) I made a cup of coffee, wrote in my journal, and hung out with friends in the adorable kitchen before heading out to start the day.
We ate at a few restaurants in Santa Elena, which was a 5 minute walk (down a very steep hill) from our place. Our favorite was a restaurant called Sabor Tico, which served traditional Costa Rican food. It was lots of beans, rice, tomato, chicken, and always a little piece of cheese served on the side. All simple and very, very fresh.
We found ourselves in the Monteverde Brewing Company for a happy hour one afternoon. The beer wasn’t anything incredibly impressive, but it was a beautiful place to hang out with friends and drink in the jungle!
I’m glad I experienced the cloud forest! It was a completely different experience from my normal travels. I also loved the group of girls I was with, and travel partner can make it or break it when you’re in a less-than-cushy situation, you know? We were all able to laugh at the fact that there were hundreds of bugs flying around our bedroom, and how the rain wouldn’t let up for 10 hours leading us to venture out for food in our soggy shoes and rain jackets. It was all so hilarious and smelly and and silly. I’ll savor every memory.
On the 4th morning, we booked a shuttle to take us to Tamarindo for a long weekend on the beach. I’ll share about that on Wednesday!
Have a great day!