Costa Rica 2: Monteverde

As the first team to arrive at the pit stop, Ang and Simon departed the next day at 4am.  They boarded a San José bus bound for La Irma.  Ang was annoyed that they had to keep changing seats, as other passengers had pre-booked, which until now had been unusual for Central America.

Two hours later, passing back through Nicoya, the team were deposited at La Irma, a petrol station and small restaurant located at a T junction on the Panamericana highway.  There the team ate a tipical local breakfast of rice, eggs and toasted cheese and awaited for three hours until their next bus came from San José to Monteverde.  Whilst the team was waiting they met Team Belgium/New Zealand, who were on their own exclusive race and who had previously met Team Ireland.

The team waits for the last bus of the day

Boarding the next bus, the team bumped its way up the hills, in and out of clouds to the small town of Monteverde.  The town of Monteverde is a mountain village located close to the Monteverde cloud forest preserve.  The preserve was established in the 1950s and is home to an array of plant and animal life, including toucans and sloths. This area would be the setting for this leg of the race.

Climbing to Monteverde

Arriving into the town the team was almost overwhelmed with sheer number of touts looking to get the team to their accommodation.  The team ignored all and said they were going to meet friends.  They then headed off to El Golfo Vista, where they checked in and meet the owner, who was one of the touts they previously had ignored.  Here, Simon and Ang once again met up with Team Ireland.

Talented local playing the piano in department/hardware store Arrmadillo for riding

The major task for this leg of the race was for the team to see a sloth and a tucan.  In order to complete this task, the team booked two tours.  The first was a guided night walk through primary forest.  The team’s group was joined by an energetic, over enthusiastic and strongly hypo active guide.  They were lead from a to b looking at a sloth and baby, racoons, various insects, an armadillos, glowing wood and a second sloth.  With Ren’s sloth challenge, completed the team was very excited and given their next clue.

A sloth Another sloth, with mold growing on its fur
The final sloth photograph to complete the challenge

Waking up at 8am, the team was driven to the privately owned Selvatura park adjacent to the Monteverde preserve.  Hoping to see a toucan, the team paid the $30 to walk through a rainforest over a series of suspension bridges.  Both Simon and Ang thought it was nice rainforest, but should have been less than $10 each to enter and complete the 3km walk as it was way overpriced.  They slowly walked around the loop, carefully scanning in the trees, but no toucans were spotted on account of the cold, raining weather.  The team raced back to the town and then to the pit stop.

Cloud forest Suspension bridge into the clouds
More cloud forest

Because they did not complete the spot a toucan challenge, the team was required to wait out a 30 minute time penalty.  The team used this time to prepare a delicious curry, enjoy a glass of red  and dry off from the wet dreary day.  With the penalty completed, the team checked into the pit stop for this leg of the race.

The view from the team’s accommodation

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