After sitting at the Costa Rican equivalent of a souped up Sunday dinner style KFC for 90mins, our pre-booked shuttle screeched into the parking lot under the burning midday sun, we threw our newly lightened loads into the back, along with our newly re-energized bodies and pulled off onto the highway.

Two hours previously we had said our farewells to Han’s parents, Alan and Margaret, who had come over to Costa Rica for the festive period, and we set off on a sun bleached New Years Eve making our way to the cloud forest of Monteverde. We had had a wonderful two weeks with the Agers but were looking forward to getting back on the backpacker trail, as well as heading towards cooler climates as we made our way into the highlands of Costa Rica.

We arrived amidst blowing winds and trouser wearing weather, checked into our hostel of choice and revelled in the fact that our bed had 2 large fluffy covers to keep us warm in the night. After backpacking for 3 months through Central America, often sweating through nights of restless sleep, having showers only to need another one shortly afterwards, positioning noisy fans to point at the optimal point to cool both of our bodies, the chance of being able to slip into a warm bed whilst the wind rattled the roof and cool air breezed through the cracks in the wall, was a welcome relief and recuperating rest.

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Moving away from the oh-so British proverbial talk about the weather, however, our time in Monteverde was a great restart for our backpacking lives. With an abundance of wildlife in the form of hundreds of species of birds, thousands of species of fauna, and an overflowing jungle that reminded me of scenes from Apocalypse Now, we had a great few days exploring the national parks and area.

Founded in 1972, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve that we visited the first day consists of 26,000 acres of tropical rainforest, and we spent an amazing 5-6 hours wandering its winding paths and exploring the wet, enveloping, amazingly diverse and serene reserve. After traipsing off from the welcome café we only saw 4 other people during our time there and we both had a great feeling of being alone and exploring the ancient woodlands.

The next morning, our fleeting final day in the area, was spent heading out on a run that led us away from the roads and up into the hills surrounding the area. At one point being hounded by bees as we ascended a memorable severely steep incline only to be presented with the ever present clouds and the non-view at the peak, we had a great time over 3-4 hours running, exploring and seeing the area. Later on that day we caught a bus to a Hummingbird Gallery, where the aforementioned birds themselves could not be missed, as 30 or 40 of the amazing creatures whizzed by and magically hovered over the feeders that inhabited the outside area.

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But alas, our time slipping into bed without having to throw all the sheets off, as well as having a shower and donning on a pair of jeans for the evening, drew to a close as we caught a local bus out of the area, onwards and Northwards to Nicaragua, where we were planning to spend the next couple of weeks.



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