When I write about travel, I like to focus on what really hits me. Writing (and hopefully reading) those stories is far more enjoyable than listicles or travelogues.
During our three days in Monteverde, Costa Rica, what hit me—in the face, 24 hours a day—was howling wind and sometimes, eye-stinging rain. I expected some gentle rain, and we had that too; after all, it’s a cloud forest. But the constant, window-rattling, 20-25 mph wind was so loud in our hotel room that we had to visit the farmacia and buy earplugs so we could sleep.
None of the guidebooks we’d looked at before going to Costa Rica inform their readers that Monteverde has a windy season from November to March, and that it is not a pleasant place to be during the windy season. January is right—face-smackingly—in the middle of it.
On our guided walks in two biological reserves, we’d hoped to see the elusive male Resplendent Quetzal, every birder’s dream. But no bird with a brain is going to risk his gorgeous, manly tail feathers in that wind. We did manage to see the back of a female, and a lot of hummingbirds.
The highlight of our visit to Monteverde was surely the Selvatura zip lines, hanging bridges walk, and sloth sanctuary tour.
We saw a few sloths in the wild on the Osa Peninsula, but the seventeen rescued females in the sloth sanctuary were much easier to see (the sanctuary doesn’t take males because they fight).
Flying over the forest canopy on zip lines was super-cool, and on two of them, both over 1 km long, Yvonne and I traveled together as a pair!
On our last evening, we went out to dinner at the Tree House restaurant in the town of Santa Elena (if you go, the Lomito en Salsa de Pimienta Verde was really good). The tables are outside, on a beautifully-decorated second floor patio, and they are somewhat protected. Yet as Yvonne and I looked around while we waited for our dinner, we noticed that everyone had their coats on, as we did, even though we were all surrounded by propane heaters. Our highly scientific survey of diners at nearby tables revealed that no one else had known about the wind before going to Monteverde. It’s the region’s best-kept secret!
I’m not saying Monteverde isn’t worth a visit. But if you’re going to Costa Rica in winter, just about anywhere else in the country will be a lot better.