Fly thru the Trees - Wheeeew!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 2 ~ Los Jardines Hotel & Sky Adventure Park

I met with the owner of Los Jardines, Grace, for a proper tour of the grounds and a great chat.  Picture 049.jpgShe is super friendly, funny, and helpful, but don’t expect much English to be spoken.  Between her ability to understand English and my ability to understand Spanish, we had fun mingling the two languages into a coherent conversation. 

The gardens were lovely, perfect for an afternoon relaxation in a hidden  hammock or bench tucked neatly away in the mini forest on the property.  I got a better feeling for the hotel during the morning sunlight hours, being able to explore the gardens, see the views of the Gulf of Nicoya, and enjoy a rest in the sunroom.  Most rooms have three or more beds, all have a warm comfy feeling, there is a free breakfast (best gallo pinto I’ve ever had), and free internet. 

Los Jardines is located in Cerro Plano which is a good middle location between Santa Elena and Monteverde.

After an amazing breakfast we were off to face the adrenaline rush of the Sky Trek, Sky Tram, and Sky Walk adventure.Picture 007.jpg Riding up the rough, rocky, winding mountain road you could feel the temperature change as we climbed to higher elevations. It was a bit cold up in the misty mountains, but that’s what you have to expect in Monteverde!

My friend, Eric, and I decided to do the Sky Walk first, which consisted of 5 hanging brides of different heights and lengths.  The hike was amazingly lush with huge trees covered in thick mosses and branches that gave life to all sorts of flowers and other plant life.  I felt like I was in some tropical Indiana Jones film crossing all the tall hanging bridges in a dense, dank cloud forest…all we were missing were some restless natives!

Now it was time for the real adrenaline rush – ziplines! Picture 014.jpg We took the Tram up to the top of the zipline course, which gave us a good opportunity to enjoy the views at a slow gondola ride pace.  The clouds had moved in pretty quickly and the winds were at top speed, chilling me to the point of wishing I had worn another coat; but nothing could take away from the beauty and adventure surrounding us!

As we exited the gondola, my friend Eric, who is a pretty big guy, was shaking with anxiety climbing up the stairs to the first zipline.  I thought it was funny that I was having to reassure this big guy that he had nothing to worry about and everything was super safe…nothing to worry about! There were 10 ziplines in all and they were super fun and exciting, even though we did not get to see as much scenery as we might have likedPicture 013.jpg – it was kind of a whole new experience zipping through the misty clouds unable to see what lied ahead!  The guides were funny and friendly, which added to the good vibes of the sky high adventure.

After our thrilling adventure, we drove through Santa Elena and out of town a few kilometres to check into Terra Viva Farm Stay.  We were greeted by the owner, Gaudi, who looked very familiar to me.  Later we realized that I used to rent a house from her in Santa Elena four years ago…what a small town! 

The farm was breathtaking with rolling green hills, cows grazing in the fields, and 300 acres of forests.  Picture 015.jpgThe farm is neighbors with the Santa Elena Reserve and Sky Trek, which means it is surrounded by protected forests in all directions.   There are trails throughout the property so you can explore the beautiful plants, trees, and exotic animals that inhabit this area.  And if you want to explore the property on a “higher” level, they offer a guided horseback ride…sit back, relax and let the horse do the walking for you.

The scenery was beautiful here, but what I was most fascinated by was the farm's eco conscious practices.  Although it is not 100% organic, they are doing the best they can to provide ‘greener’ fertilizers and give the cows less medicines.  They create their own fertilizer from the manure, while at the same time making methane gas for fueling the stoves and heating the water! Picture 026.jpg

I was so glad to be able to catch up with my old landlord and chat about what great things are happening on her farm.

From the farm we drove across town and back into Cerro Plano to my old coffee shop hangout, Dulce Marzos.  The ownership had changed since I was last there, but the sweets and coffee were just the same, delicious!  After fueling up on caffeine and chocolate treats Eric and I were buzzed and ready to go on our night tour at the Santa Elena Ecological Sanctuary.GreenPitviper (2)JPG200.jpg  We arrived and were told to wait for the next guide coming in twenty minutes.  I thought I would use this time to my advantage and catch up on some writing.  So I sat writing and writing and waiting and waiting, but when the gift shop door was closed and locked I knew we had waited too long.  Apparently the last tour had left without us and we didn’t even know.  Oops!  I was bummed we couldn’t go on the tour, but was happy to get some chill time in after running around all day. 

Our bellies were grumbling so we opted for Bar Amigos (one of two bars in the small town of Santa Elena) for ceviche.  I must say that Amigos has one of the best ceviches I’ve ever had, only to be topped by a hole in the wall restaurant in Peru.  Two orders of ceviche and fresh tortillas chips later we were ready to face a night out on the “town.”  We danced a bit at Bar Amigos and then made our way down the road to Mata Cana, which used to be called La Taverna in my days.  To my surprise Mata Cana had changed drastically for the better.  What once was a dirty hole in the wall, had transformed into a beautifully decorated and remodelled bar, owned by none other than my other “land lord,” Shannon from La Pension Santa Elena.  It was fun to be back and run into all of my old friends!

Tags: canopy tours  monteverde  cloud forest  zip lines  hotels in Monteverde 
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