Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Road from El Castillo to Monteverde

We spent the day driving around the scenic Laguna de Arenal.

The morning started with an abortive visit to one of the hot springs between El Castillo and La Fortuna. All the springs seem to have pretty steep prices and are all day affairs with meals thrown in. As we didn’t have all day to laze around the consensus was to give the spas a miss.

Our journey started with a drive over the dam that created the Laguna. Hopes of a Hoover dam style feat of human engineering were sadly frustrated. The dam looked more like a few pathetic clumps of earth, however, judging by the size of the lake behind the dam I should be giving it more engineering merit.

We stopped for a coffee at the bohemian Toad Hall on the eastern side of the lake. Part art gallery, souvenir shop and café. We all enjoyed a freshly made smoothie and chocolate brownie while watching humming birds up close as they fed on the flowers close to the balcony where we were sitting.

Yet again I was struck with how much like the Lake District Costa Rica seems to be; a green and pleasant land. From a distance you see rolling green hills covered in green pastures and trees. However, up close the green is made up of more tropical plants with palms, banana trees and others I can’t recognise creeping in. There is a lot more wildlife evident with racoon style creatures on the road and the aforementioned humming birds. Anne studied horticulture/agriculture at uni and is expert in pointing out all that I miss.

Navigating our way to Monterverde wasn’t as difficult as I feared, there is basically one road and we followed it all the way. About 30km from Monterverde the tarmac ends and gravel / mud tracks start, which get progressively worse as you climb. Monteverde was originally a Quaker settlement and, according to the guide book, the Quakers have been a strong force in both the preservation of the forests and against building an improved road. Fearing that increased tourist numbers would damage the ecosystem.

We are staying at the Mariposa B&B which seems to be a very pleasant guest house. However; the high humidity and rain levels do make everything feel a little damp.

Note to self: Not taking enough photos.

1 comment:

  1. Good point about the photos - your readers in wet cold England need a boost!