Costa Rica: October 9 – 10, 2014

  • Monteverde
  • Currency: Costa Rican colón (USD is widely accepted, but you will get change back in local currency)
  • Things are a bit more pricey in Costa Rica than the other countries in Central America
  • Nicaragua and Costa Rica also have a bit of a rivalry, due to a troubled history between the two nations
  • Monteverde is a small town in the mountains, so it’s a bit cooler – the scenery on the way is beautiful
  • Eat at ‘Al Chile’ – the food is cheap, and great local food (it’s located near the church)
  • Go and walk the hanging bridges in the Cloud Forest – the highest one has some spectacular views
  • There is also a Hummingbird garden in the Cloud Forest I went to – you can literally stand a metre away from them and have them whizz past your face
  • Eat at ‘Taco Taco’ –  cheap and delicious! One of the best tacos I had in the entire trip (order the Baja tacos)
  • Go on a plantation tour (we went to one that produced sugarcane, coffee, and chocolate) – $35
    • Sugarcane:
      • Chew on some sugarcane during the tour
      • Sample a 60% alcohol made from sugarcane that is illegal to sell
      • Watch how they make sugarcane syrup
      • Get hands-on in the kitchen and turn the syrup into a fudge (which is basically just brown sugar)
    • Coffee:
      • Taste the fruit of the Coffee bean
      • See how it is fermented, and roasted
      • Learn about the process and differences – the darker the roast, the less caffeine
    • Chocolate:
      • Try the fruit
      • See the fermenting process (4-7 days)
      • See how it’s roasted
      • Taste it before sugar is added, and after, and then add milk and taste again
      • Fun fact: Nestle was the first person to add sugar and milk!
      • Fun fact: white chocolate is basically the fat from the cocoa bean with sugar and milk
  • Having a barbecue and bonfire at a restaurant owned by another tour leader from Monteverde
    • Everyone played DJ for the night, with the themes of ‘songs from your home country’, ‘artists whose first name start with the same as yours’, and ‘something with your name in it’ (mine was suggested to me by Laurence – ‘Yo Momma is on Crack Rock’ – Yep.
  • Going to the Amigo’s Bar – where it was couple’s night, and everyone (aged 20 – 60) was slow dancing, and people left the dance floor when we requested songs that were more up-tempo…

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