21 April 2013

The Monteverde Caffeine Chronicles: The Common Cup

There isn't a huge amount to do in the towns of Monteverde and Santa Elena—the restaurants tend to be touristy and overpriced—but we did manage to find a few nice places to go. Top of my list was The Common Cup, an independent coffee shop serving espresso drinks made with Monteverde coffee roasted on site. Plus, they do a good line in latte art. Yesterday, I tried a cappuccino, which was too milky for me; this morning's macchiato was much better: rich and creamy.

At about 1500 colones or $3, the macchiato isn't particularly cheap, but where else are you going to find a good gourmet espresso drink in the Costa Rican cloud forest? I also bought a bag of beans to take home with me. They were roasted yesterday so hopefully they will still be fresh when I get home.

Meanwhile, we had dinner at Morpho's, where the food was a little pricey but very tasty—especially the milk shakes made with local ice cream—and the d├ęcor is lovely, with the walls adorned with the titular blue morpho butterflies. I then trekked up the hill to a lovely little jewellery shop called Luna Azul, where I bought a pretty stone necklace and some glass earrings for my mum.

During the rest of our time in Monteverde, we have spent a lot of time in the cloud forest. Last night we went on a night hike, where we saw a tarantula, a blurry porcupine and lots of pretty birds. Ironically, the best wildlife close-up of the trip was the pair of emerald toucanets I spotted in our hotel garden.

This morning we took a guided hike in the Santa Elena cloud forest reserve. It cost $29 to get in and for our guide, but there was only one other person in our group, and although we mainly saw birds and spiders today, our guide was very knowledgeable and much better than most of the other guides we have had so far, who are too busy trying to be funny. The other cloud forest reserve—is a lot bigger, but slightly more expensive and much busier, so I would recommend the Santa Elena reserve.

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