Monteverde (Almost)

Tuesday, 26-08-2014. Day 7.

Big trucks and dust.

The house at Costa de Pájaros is about 60 km from the Moneteverde Cloud Forest, often listed as one of the must-see locations in Costa Rica, so we decided it was something worth checking out.

It was going to take us 90 minutes to get there going up highway 606, which looked to be another twisty, narrow mountain road. Once we got on 606, we had about 40 km to go. We traveled the first 20 or so was a nice, paved road.

Then the pavement ended and the road became a gravel and dirt washboard riddled with potholes. The going was slow and challenging to maneuver across, and I didn't look forward to driving this for the next 45 minutes—especially when we got behind a series of large construction trucks that kicked up huge clouds of dust.

The view for many kilometers.

The view for many kilometers.

We eventually passed the big trucks and thought we were in the clear ... until we rounded a corner to a spot where a series of cars and motorcycles were pulled off to the side of the road and a big orange sign that said Maquinaria Trabajando A 100 m.

An ill omen.

An ill omen.

We got out and a nice gent told me that the road was closed until Noon. Something had happened up the road, but no one seemed to know what it was. There was speculation of a rock slide or an accident, and then we remembered that we'd seen both a police truck and an ambulance coming down the road as we were going up.

We thought about waiting, but It was 11:20 a.m., and with at least another 40 minutes of waiting around (I wasn't confident that the road would be open at noon), plus at least 30 more minutes of driving on an unpaved mountain road (and then repeating the whole thing on the return trip), time would be tight. We didn't want to travel back in the dark (the sun goes down about 5:30 p.m.), so, after doing some quick math, we'd only have a few hours at the Cloud Forest we reluctantly decided to pass.

On the way back down the girls were requesting a bathroom stop, so we pulled into Restaurante El Sol, a nice place right where the pavement ended, about a kilometer outside of Guacimal. We decided to have a snack there, too. The food was great, some of the best we'd had in Costa Rica. As we ate, the resident calico cat padded around the table, hoping for scraps.

Food, please.

Food, please.


Frankie and I headed into town to look for a place to play soccer, and maybe even some kids to play with. We only saw one group of kids playing soccer (the night before I'd seen a few more), but they were a good distance away in what looked to be a private residence. So we found a soccer field next to a restaurant and kicked the ball around a little bit.

Frankie with the One World Futbol she's bringing on the trip.

Frankie with the One World Futbol she's bringing on the trip.

Then it was our last home-cooked dinner at Costa de Pájaros (rice, beans, and taquitos) and packing up for our early morning departure the next day. Before we turned in, I read a little passage about leafcutter ants from Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate, our book pick for Costa Rica.

As I've mentioned before, it rains a lot in Costa Rica. For the second night in a row, we experienced a good-sized thunderstorm. But this one was a lot more intense than the previous night's. So instead of going to bed, I watched a wet fat frog climb up the sliding glass door (it was pretty impressive) as I worried about driving down what would certainly be 500 meters of muddy road in the morning.

Notable Statistics

  • Hours driving: 2
  • Cats seen: 2
  • Frogs seen: 2
  • Hours of rain: 12

is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. He also drinks coffee.

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Monteverde (Almost)
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