Yippee! Finally, it's time to fly again! Time to collect a new stamp on our passports. Time to discover firsthand the Pura Vida way of life. Sam and I caught a redeye flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. Our two-week road trip itinerary was jam-packed and included surprise elements for Sam. Not a simple task, as Sam is not an easy cookie to surprise. But I always manage to get that Wow out of him.
Discover the Pura Vida Way of Life with a Trip to Costa Rica
We began our trip in Manuel Antonio, and after a few days there, we were on our way to the second destination, Monteverde. I chose Monteverde as our next stop because of its distinctive ecosystem treasure: the Monteverde cloud forest. It is a unique forest where fog flows through the upper canopy, creating a mystical haze. This rare climate promotes incredible diversity among plants. There are trees that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. Fun fact: the Monteverde cloud forest has more species of trees than the United States. I knew hiking there would be a one-of-a-kind experience for both of us.
After a couple of hours driving through lush, rural Costa Rica, we finally got to a place we would call home for the next three nights. Walking towards the hotel entrance from the parking lot, little did I know that Hidden Canopy Treehouses hotel was going to be a surprise for me as well. Jennifer King, the owner, and the hotel manager greeted us. On the veranda overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya, she devoted her full attention to giving us a little overview of the hotel, the area, and insider tips on how to enjoy our stay in Monteverde to the fullest. While talking, we admired the view and the colors melting as in an impressionist painting in front of us.
Explore the Unique Ecosystem of Monteverde Cloud Forest
Jennifer had a soft voice, clear and playful eyes, and I sensed right away that we'd enjoy her hospitality. She was upbeat and energetic. It takes courage to leave the US behind and start a business in a foreign country as she did. Jenn was a wealth of information and helped complete our itinerary of what to see in Monteverde in three days. The tree-filled property was sitting high on the hill, a stone's throw from the cloud forest. The flourishing gardens were home to jaybirds, woodpeckers, tanagers, hummingbirds, and the cute, white-nosed coati looking to make new friends.
Hiking Adventure in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserves
Our days began getting spoiled by the delicious homemade breakfasts, followed by hours of walking in the cloud forest. Monteverde has several cloud forest reserves: Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Curi-Cancha Reserve, and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. We hiked each one and loved them all equally. Next to Santa Elena reserve is Selvatura park, where we did the hanging bridges walk, which we also loved! The weather was foggy and rainy, but the walk among the canopies was delightful, nevertheless.
During our three days in Monteverde, we experienced sunshine, rain, wind, a rainbow, and stunning papaya-colored sunsets - typical for this area. So don't get discouraged by rainy or not-perfect weather days; the cloud forest will blow you away regardless. All you need is good waterproof hiking shoes, a rain jacket, and a camera.
Comfortable and Stylish Accommodation at Hidden Canopy Treehouses
At the end of each day of hiking, we were happy to be getting back to our comfortable and beautiful place in Hidden Canopy Treehouses with sweeping views of the Monteverde valleys. Our large room was sunny, cozy, and stylish. One of the keynotes of our stay was the 5 o'clock 'cookie hour' or, as Jen elegantly called it, 'dessert-before-dinner,' an optional sunset get-together on the veranda sipping tea and munching on cookies. The occasion was meant to spark communication among hotel guests and staff that can turn into a casual chat or an exchange of notes and activities around Monteverde.
At some point, somebody will dance figure 8 around your legs. It's Kiki, one of the two house cats, a ball of fluffy hair and eyes as bright as the Gulf of Nicoya. BearCub, the second cat, is a little bit shyer and makes his entrance only after the room has become darker in the glittering flames of the candles. Jennifer pirouettes around the room, giving everybody her impeccable attention. Running her business is not an easy task. She confessed that she goes to bed exhausted but with a big smile from the satisfaction of making her guests happy.
Experience the Beauty of Monteverde Regardless of the Weather
Sam and I were always the last ones to leave the premises to say goodnight to Jennifer and her husband. The rumor was that Sam, stretching the conversation, was playing the odds of getting another helping of fantastic cookies served with the tea. Indeed, he was quite successful in his enterprise. Sam is a master connoisseur when it comes to good cookies, and if he was so eager to get a second round of them, well, they must have been outstanding. Unfortunately, the plate was meant to share, and I was never fast enough to get a full taste of them. But thanks to Kiki's addicting affection, I would hardly notice.
The dessert-before-dinner also served as a launching pad for the evening tour of the cloud forest led by one of the best guides in Costa Rica, Mr. Koky. Jennifer told us she met Koky when her mother visited her many years ago. "A professor and intellectual...not easy to please when it comes to guided tours," Jenn remarked about her mother, "but Mr. Koky passed the test, and since then, he has been the official guide for the guests at Hidden Canopy Treehouses." If you want to read more about our adventures with Mr. Koky, read our blog Exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica, with the Best Naturalist Guide, Koky
I had a suspicion that Monteverde would be a one-of-a-kind experience. It was, and not only thanks to the mystical cloud forest but also thanks to our stay at Hidden Canopy Treehouses, a pleasing surprise, a jam of hospitality, cordiality, and friendship in Monteverde.
Thank you, Jennifer, for a wonderful stay. We will keep fond memories of our time in Monteverde.
You can contact Jennifer King at http://hiddencanopy.com/ to book your stay at Hidden Canopy Treehouses Hotel.
~ Written by:
Viktoria Rusnakova & Samuele Bagnai, authors of Enthusiastic All the Way & Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope, respectively.
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