Next stop on our Costa Rican adventure was Monteverde. Our school has an awesome campus there for a study abroad program, so we decided to stay there for $35 a night, which included 3 meals a day, housing, and activities. Check out the website if you are interested…it’s pretty spectacular!
The drive to Monteverde was gorgeous! We went through Arenal around a volcano and a breathtaking lake. We couldn’t exactly see the top of the volcano b/c of clouds, but if you are lucky enough to go there when the top is not covered by clouds, you can see lava coming down!
Anyway, we stopped at a cute little restaurant on the way and got a delicious lunch.
A casado is a very typical Costa Rican dish that usually comes with rice, beans, chicken or fish, and a couple other sides. The one that I ordered had chicken, rice and beans, pasta salad, fresh cheese, and madorus (sweet fried plaintains). I became OBSESSED with madorus in Costa Rica!! Plantains look like really big bananas, but they are not sweet unless they are overripe. When you fry the overripe plantains, you get madorus! They taste similar to carmalized bananas, but so much better!
We finally got to Monteverde right before dinner time. This is the first meal we had at the UGA center:
Rice, beans, salad, and some baked root veggies. Seeing any patterns yet? In Costa Rica, you usually get rice and beans with every meal!
In the morning (after a breakfast of rice and beans and toast with guava jam), we went on long hike to a waterfall!
The whole hike was wonderful, and the waterfall was breathtaking!! If you look closely, you can see someone about to go swimming in the water!
I can’t believe I could have studied here in Monteverde for a whole semester!!! Why am I graduating?!??!?! (FYI for you college kids, you do not have to be a UGA student to apply for this program, so if you haven’t studied abroad yet, you should seriously look into it!)
After lunch (rice, beans, veggies), we went to a cheese and ice cream factory!
The two in the bottom right are fig and coconut. I got a scoop of each, and it was soooo good! I can’t stop thinking about it! The fig ice cream had lots of chunks of dried figs, and the coconut one had lots of fresh coconut flakes! I was in complete heaven.
We also got a gouda cheese with cumin seeds in it that was very tasty! Cumin is a very popular spice in Costa Rica. Most restaurants have cumin sauce on all the tables as a condiment that I loved putting on my rice and beans!
Later in the afternoon we toured an organic coffee and sugar cane farm.
I also saw a toucan (just like on the Fruit Loops box!) in a tree when we were at the coffee farm!! It was too far away to get a good picture with my camera, but I could see it really well in some binoculars!
And of course we bought some coffee to bring back to the states! We made some in our apartment today, and it was fantastic!! And it made our whole apartment smell wonderful!
The next morning, we woke up at 6:00 AM to milk cows!!! Yes, I milked a cow. This was such a cool experience!
This is actually very difficult. We were not very good at it! I could make it drip a bit, but the man who does it all the time can make the milk come out like a faucet!
Looks like a huge cappuccino! I would have taken us hours to get this much milk, but after we gave up, the guy did all this in less than 10 minutes.
The cows in Monteverde were so cute! I took a bunch of pictures walking around that morning….we were supposed to be bird watching, but I took pictures of the cows…
Then we had some pancakes, tropical fruit, and fresh cheese for breakfast! (They had rice and beans, too, but I skipped that this morning). They gave us molasses instead of maple syrup for our pancakes, which was a really intense flavor, but actually pretty tasty!
That’s all for Monteverde! I think there are going to be two more parts to my Costa Rica trip…I hope you all don’t get sick of it! Tomorrow will be my travels to my favorite part of Costa Rica!!!