Hola! Today I travelled from San Jose to Monteverde. This is very easy to do – the bus system is simple, with the destination of each bus put on the windscreen. From Maleku Hostel the bus stop is just round the corner (a 5 minute walk) and I just about managed it with my very heavy bags. The bus to Monteverde cost 3000 colones, which can vary according to gas prices and it leaves at around 7am. My large bag was safely stowed in the storage below the bus, and the bags are given luggage tags to say which is yours. I was advised to keep my smaller bag on me rather than stowing it in the over-head racks, as there have been reported thefts from this. The journey itself was relatively comfortable. The back of the bus was quite bouncy at times but I managed to get some sleep. I had a very comfortable night in Maleku Hostel and would definitely recommend it. I kept waking up from about 3am as I had it in the back of my mind not to miss the morning bus.
The journey had spectacular views over the rainforest covered mountains after leaving the bustling city. Monteverde is up a steep, winding road, and the bus struggled up but safely made it. Tony, the owner of El Toucan, was at the bus stop asking people to stay at the hotel. I had already planned to stay here and he helped me with my bags (asking if I had rocks in my big bag – it’s pretty heavy). I have been given a private room with a shared bathroom as there was no space in the dorm room. He gave me a deal at $15 a night – really cheap. There’s free coffee all day (so fresh – Costa Rican coffee is excellent) and breakfast is provided. The bedroom I have is really nice – clean and safe for my belongings.
I went for a wander into town. There’s lots of souvenir shops and different attractions for seeing wildlife and for those seeking an adrenalin rush. I visited the Orchid Garden, which was lovely. Kailyn showed me around and she speaks excellent English. There are fantastic specimens of many species of Orchid there and I learnt a lot. I definitely would have missed many when I get into the rainforest – there are some which grow under leaves of a tree species, some on top, and tiny ones amongst the fungus on the trees. Some have a very strong smell, which can be nice or not so nice. One smelt peppery and others smelt sweet. I had a chance to practice with my macro lens and I’ll post some pictures that I took.
I met some American students who are here to learn Spanish in schools. I haven’t met any other people from the UK yet. I guess it’s a lot easier for Americans to travel here. I wish I could speak Spanish, even if just a little, as I feel bad having to rely on the people here to speak English. I’m here for quite a while, so maybe I will be able to learn enough to get by but I’m finding it hard to retain any phrases. I met Israel earlier and he can’t speak much English at all – about as much as I can speak Spanish. The girls in the hotel helped to translate and I’ll be meeting him at 2pm tomorrow to head on to the reserve. In the morning I’m going on a canopy tour with the company Aventuras. This involves zip wires and a swing from what I can gather. I’m quite excited about this and it will definitely get the adrenalin pumping. I’ll then be heading into town to get a cell phone to use in Costa Rica – cheaper than using my mobile. I’ll also be getting food supplies to take on to the reserve – hopefully they will last for about a week.
Looking forward to getting into the rainforest tomorrow – it’s what I’ve really been waiting for.