Monday, January 6, 2014

Costa Rica: Monteverde

And this is where I ran out of cash. My plan for getting more had involved setting up my Discover credit card with a PIN to use at ATM's. There was a 3% fee, but I figured it would be worth it if I needed it. Unfortunately, due to vastly underestimating the cost of Costa Rica, I had to attempt this well before even a third of the trip had commenced. That's when I discovered (pun intended) that none of the ATM's or banks in the entire country would take discover card (though some banks oddly could still process it when used at a restaurant). And it all happened in Monteverde, where there is no Western Union or MoneyGram, but that is something I would later find out.
First, I decided on the $20 shuttle/boat ride/4wd jeep through rough and rocky terrain from La Fortuna to Monteverde instead of taking multiple buses around the lake in a trip twice as long.

It was well worth it for the time savings as well as the beautiful boat ride on the lake. Whoever lives here has one heck of a view in a pretty awesome remote location.

White faced (Capuchin) monkeys showed up a couple times a day at the Monteverde Hostel Lodge which had a nice location in the cloud forest.

This one grabbed a piece of banana off me head!

We took a tour through the cloud forest, and our excellent tour guide, Sergio, found lots of cool little critters like this cartoon-like caterpillar.

Hike up far enough and you can even see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

These transparent winged butterflies were quite common.

That night we wanted to stay up and drink a bit, so the Monteverde Hostel Lodge threw us a bonfire in the parking lot! Incredible staff at an incredible hostel! Some of the group you see here were also some of the best people I've met on my travels.

The previous day we had been taken to a giant strangler fig that could be climbed from the inside. We had so much fun, we returned to do it again the next day and this beauty of a dog randomly showed up to hang out and watch us!

Hanging out in our climbing tree!

On the way up.

About 100ft high here. The top was about another 50ft or so and had one amazing view!

The Arenal Volcano could even be seen in the distance from here!

So after running out of cash, and spending an entire day finding I could not get access to the extra cash I had sent down from the states until I got to another town, every single one of the new group of people I had just met (from the bonfire photo) offered to give me some extra cash to ensure I could get to the next town safely and even bought my dinner when we went to a place that did not take credit cards. It's times like these where you are in need, that you can really find the best in people. Even the staff at the Monteverde Hostel Lodge found a way to work with me when their credit card machine was not working, instead of denying my stay. From a very worrisome experience came one that I will never forget.

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