La Fortuna & Monteverde, Costa Rica

27 Jun

Happy Monday Everyone!  It is officially summer and I have had vacation on my mind!  Every summer as a child my parents, brother and I would take a family vacation.  Whether it was the Wisconsin Dells or Disney World, we were always headed somewhere in the big ol’ station wagon.  Hopefully Kevin and I will be able to do this when we have kids, but for now or vacations are full of a little more adventure.  My favorite place that Kevin and I have visited was probably La Fortuna and Monteverde, Costa Rica.   We took a trip to Costa Rica a couple years ago on a whim seeking to see something new and exciting, and we definitely got what we asked for.

We landed in San Jose pretty late in the evening, maybe 10 or 11 PM.  This is not a city you want to be in after dark, and certainly not a place you want to get lost in…in the dark…where you do not speak the language.  Needless to say we survived that night (after about 3 hours of driving in circles, an accidental drive by through the red light district, and an encounter with the San Jose police).  Oh….but it was worth it for the rest of the trip.  Lesson learned:  arrive during daylight and either make sure you have exact directs to your hotel or stay across the street from the airport!  Kevin and I tried to find Hotel Grano de Oro (A tropical victorian mansion turned hotel), finally gave up and ended up back at the airport paying for the same night twice at the Holiday Inn.  We did manage to find the amazing mansion on our return trip; it was WONDERFUL, but let me tell you about the rest of the trip….

The first stop on our Central American adventure was La Fortuna, a beautiful city with (what was/prior to 2010) an active volcano named Arenal.  Apparently the volcano has been “sleeping” since July 2010, but when we were there it was erupting just slightly everyday.  Kevin and I stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge, a hotel that was originally built for researchers tracking the volcanos actvity.  Our room had a huge picture window and it looked out to the volcano.

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano viewed from our room

We were able to see the lava flowing out each night; it was pretty cool…it looked somewhat like fireworks!

La Fortuna was just beautiful.  Monkeys in the trees, natural hot springs, exotic flowers, and random animals running around everywhere (I don’t know what these were…maybe leemers?  I am sure Kevin knows; he is in the other room right now or I would ask him).

These little guys were everywhere!

Tropical Plants Galore!

And there was even a hanging bridge!  Little did we know this was the first of many we would see on our journey…

Hanging Bridge at Arenal Observatory Lodge

The rest of the bridges we found were in Monteverde, Costa Rica…the next stop on our tour.  Monteverde is 4, 662 ft above sea level; high enough that it is in the clouds of the rain forest.  From my (little) understanding that is why it is called a cloud forest.  In Monteverde Kevin and I stayed at the (I am willing to put money on this) the best hotel in the whole entire world, Hidden Canopy Treehouse Hotel.   Talk about inspiration.  This place was like a dream.  Our treehouse (named Rising Sun) was just beautiful inside:

Hidden Canopy Treehouse

Our house for a few nights!

The house swayed as the wind blew and we awoke to the sounds of monkeys right outside our window.

Another view of the treehouse

Monteverde is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery…

That kitty is livin' the life!

Or explore on foot…

Suspension Bridges through the Cloud Forest

I can hardly read that sign, but let me tell you, these bridges were REALLY high in the air…and while they appear stable they sure did move as you walked across them!  Once you got about half way across the (what seemed endless ) bridge you started to have second thoughts about crossing.  What fun we had scaring ourselves half to death!

Kevin and I on a Hanging Bridge in Monteverde

Once we had our feet back on land we could also enjoy all the beautiful flowers growing in this area also.  Here are just a couple of my favorites (I don’t want to bore you!)

Lady Slipper

It’s a shoe, it’s a flower…it’s a lady slipper orchid!  Kevin and I went to a huge orchid farm while we were there.  They even had the tiniest species of orchid…you had to use a magnifying glass to view it!


I love it!  We found that flower in the the rain forest.  Writing this post reminds me that I wanted to make some of these floral prints for our bedroom (here, here and here).  So much to do so little time!

After leaving the treehouse (boo hoo), we packed up and took a ferry to the beach.  That was beautiful also:

Ahhh...wish I was there right now!

After the beach we were back to San Jose.  Thankfully this time we found the original hotel.  All this talk of vacation makes me want to take one, I better go book some plane tickets to our next exotic local…

This post was inspired by the link party at Centsational Girl =)  Check it out and have a great Monday!


One Response to “La Fortuna & Monteverde, Costa Rica”

  1. Marilynn June 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    What a wonderful travelog!

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