Day 12 [June 17] – Today we went to Monteverde, the famous cloud forest. It is essentially a city on top of a mountain with two rain forest parks – Salvatura and Monteverde. We arrived in Monteverde and the manager of the hotel came to pick us up from the bus-stop. We then went to our very cute room, which had one big bed, one small bed, t.v., and a balcony that faced the forest! It was a very cute hotel. Our bus-ride was awful, it was cramped, and all seats were taken in addition to what seemed like a million people that we picked up along the way that had to stand in the aisle. I was amazed that was legal. We went to bed early because we were tired from the bus ride and we wanted to get to Monteverde bright and early!
Day 13 [June 18] – We woke up around 7:30 and had a lovely breakfast at our hotel. Our hotel was very cheap, $20 per person, per night, and it included breakfast!! What a steal! And it wasn’t even continental breakfast like in the U.S., the waitress came out and gave us menus, and we picked what she would make for us! I had an omelet and Sam had granola and yogurt. It was very delicious. Then we left for the park. The park was so beautiful. Everything was very green – since it is the rainy season the forests are especially lush and thriving. The hike around the park was much rougher than Manuel Antonio, Sam and I both struggled a bit. [I struggled a lot, actually, since I never go hiking.] The view was worth it though. I seriously think we were on top of the world. It was so beautiful. It was like we were in a cloud. I will have to post pictures on Flickr sometime soon, but the pictures don’t do it justice. After we [finally] made it back to the entrance of the park, it started to downpour! In San Jose we hadn’t experienced a lot of rain in the afternoon, so this was a wonderful surprise. I felt like I had jumped in the lake and came out – that’s how wet my clothes were by the time we got back to the hotel. We went into town to get dinner and looked around. I bought some gifts for my parents, and then we went back to the hotel to bunker down for the night, at approximately 6:00 pm. We watched some movies in Spanish/with subtitles. It was quite relaxing.
Day 14 [June 19] – We went to Salvatura today, and went on a hanging bridge tour. Sam and I didn’t want to do the zip-lining because it looked terrifying, but the bridges were more beautiful [in my opinion] because you could stop and look for as long as you want and not worry about holding people up behind you. After the park we got lunch and waited for the bus. There were a lot of stray dogs walking around the main street, it was very sad. One dog even came in the restaurant and people were feeding it! It was strange… We boarded the bus and had a lovely 4.5 hour ride back to San Jose. After we returned I quickly did my homework, skyped with my parents, had Father’s day dinner with my family, and went to bed. This trip was very exhausting.
Day 15 [June 20] – Today we had Spanish class, as per usual, and in the afternoon we went to a spa/salon and made jewelry. It was very fun and we enjoyed it a lot! I made purple jewelry of course, and Sam made bright red jewelry. It was very fun to talk to new people a little and learn a new craft.
Day 16 [June 21] – Today we got to go home early because we moved our Latin dance class to Thursday. Sam and I sent postcards to our family and just hung around the neighborhood. Nothing too exciting, but it was very relaxing.
Day 17 [June 22] – We visited Cartago today. Cartago is a gorgeous city with the most famous church in Costa Rica, and I also think of Central America. It was so big and beautiful. We also visited an organic farm way up in the mountains. It was a very fun time. We had a vegetarian friendly lunch, and then took a tour of the property. They had goats, chickens, a swan, and horses. They also had a very large assortment of crops. After we returned, Sam and I made tortillas with my host-family and then went to Pirates of the Caribbean [4, I think] since we are going to the Caribbean this weekend – finally! It cost us 1.300, which is less than $3 USD. Granted it was half-off night, but still, much cheaper than movies in the states. The movie was wonderful – it was in English, but with Spanish subtitles so we were still learning!
Day 18 [June 23] – I woke up with the worst migraine I have ever had. I had to sit out of class for awhile. My teacher suggested I “unplug” for awhile. So, I laid on the floor of the living room with a pillow below my head and one over my head to cover the light. I also had a blanket because I was freezing. I have been feeling really off all week. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s gotten a little colder recently, or because there is more rain. Tomorrow, Sam and I are going to a town that starts with a “C” next to the Caribbean Coast. We are also going to the SLOTH SANCTUARY!!! Finally!!!! I plan to buy majority of my souvenirs there, I am beyond excited. I hope this weekend is a little more relaxing than the last two that had the extreme hiking business.
I’m kind of sad to leave this weekend because it’s my brother’s grad party, and I wanted to skype in and see everyone. I might bring my computer, but I am kind of scared because I read in the news that last Thursday a female tourist was killed on a beach [shot in the head!] by two criminals trying to steal her laptop! Scary business. Actually there’s been a few deaths and other events here recently that are slightly unnerving: 2 (or 3) people were killed by lighting on Sunday, the tourist last Thursday, another tourist earlier this month was shot by a hotel security guard when he tried to get in after curfew, and a 15-year old boy was attacked by a shark – I believe he is currently in a coma, unless his state has changed… There are others but I think that’s enough to raise my awareness a bit. Sam and I have been fairly cautious thus far, but after the murder of this last tourist I think she and I will take extra precautions to ensure our safety. Also, since Jose has so many connections throughout the country I think we will be relatively safe. They know we are his students and they make sure we are as safe as possible! Also, we try to blend in as much as possible to not look like tourists.
On that note, have a great weekend and be safe everyone… Sam and I certainly will! Scott – have fun at your grad party! I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. Dad – Happy Birthday tomorrow!! :)