Today we have a 3 hour drive to Monteverde. First, time for a buffet breakfast at Coco Viquez; pancakes with plantain and pineapple again – yay! With a month of our trip left, I’m already starting to panic about sourcing my plantain habit when we return to Bournemouth.Just time for one one last walk along the beach before checkout. After the chaos of the weekend and hoards of day trippers, it’s quiet today. The only evidence of the weekend crowds are the bags of garbage left behind being picked over by vultures.
Once I have laid out yesterday’s laundry on the drying rack (aka back seat of the car) we set off on the drive from coast to cloud forest. Google has another last minute change of route, resulting in a 78 mile drive which will take (allegedly) just under 3 hours. It’s a pigging hot 3 hours and I’m torn between drinking enough to avoid dehydration and the fact there are no service stations (I’ve already seen two snakes today so I won’t be peeing in a bush).
The first 20 miles is on good roads and the next 31 miles is motorway. That leaves us with 27 miles and an ETA of 85 minutes – that’s an average of 19 MPH. We actually take almost 2 hours – so about 14 MPH. It’s narrow and bumpy and windy and steep, with a lot of bridges with no guard rails, and a lot of cows. Not the best 2 hours of my life. There’s also a lot of ascent and descent – mainly ascent.
After a while, the combination of gradient and terrain mean the old man has to turn the A/C off as the engine can’t cope with both. We are now 1400 metres above sea level and it’s so windy we have to make an emergency stop when the old man’s hat blows off. Finally, as we approach the edge of town, we spot tarmac. I didn’t realise I could get excited about the sight of tarmac!
With great relief, we reach our destination; Hotel Santa Fe. It’s very steep and our first attempt at parking fails when the hand brake can’t cope and the car starts to roll back down the hill.
We check in and go to the supermarket in town for some lunch. It’s been a mega stressful journey and we agree a couple of tins of beer are in order. I choose the regular (red) cans. The old man decides to be adventurous and go for the black cans. We’re half way through lunch, eaten on a bench outside our room, when he realises the black cans are alcohol free!
After a little rest, we take a walk into town. We’re a mile above sea level and there’s a fierce wind. We only progress a few metres before deciding jumpers are in order. The walk into town is down a steep hill. After a look around at the various cafes, bakeries and souvenir shops, we heave ourselves back up the hill again. It’s been a long day. Time for an early night before a trip to the cloud forest reserve in the morning.