By Sally French
MONTEVERDE, Costa Rica — It’s the last full day for us University of Missouri students in Monteverde before heading off to our next destination in Costa Rica. We haven’t been here long, but we’ve gathered our list of the top 5 things to do in and around Monteverde.
5. Selvatura Park’s Canopy Tour: We know this is probably number one on every tourist’s list of things to do. But if it’s not, get it on there! The Zip Line canopy tour is an exhilarating trip above the tree tops with 15 lines. It’s about $50 a person, and we think it’s worth the price. We won’t spoil the end — our favorite part of the adventure — but let’s just say it involves embracing your inner Tarzan.
4. Eating at Nachos: I can’t say for sure, but I don’t believe they sell nachos here. No worries, because even better, they have pizza! It’s cheap, local, and tough to find (just around the corner from the iconic Treehouse Restaurant and head down an unmarked staircase). The food is great, and the walls are covered with some rad grafitti art. I’d totally give you a link, but this place is so hip that they don’t even have a website — so people like us can tell our friends, “you’ve probably never heard of it.”
3. Coffee Tours: What’s a trip to Costa Rica without a cup of coffee (or two, or twenty)? We recommend skipping out on the large tourist tours, and get a more intimate experience with a small, local grower. Check out Oldemar Salazar’s farm — if you’re lucky, his wife might even make you some hibiscus coffee at the end!
2. Monteverde Cheese Factory: Don’t bother trying to go vegan on this trip (though the traditional meals of rice and beans make it otherwise easy), because the Monteverde Cheese Factory is a must-visit. They offer tours, or you can just hop in the quick-service restaurant and snag a free sample (Manchego, please!), while peeking through the window at the machines. Don’t like cheese? No worries, their milkshakes alone are worth it.
1. Meet the locals! Sure, you can go to all the swanky tourist destinations you want, but to really know a culture, meet the people who make it. Hanging out (literally) with some teens on a rope swing in their backyard? Check. Getting free salsa lessons at Bar Amigos just by asking some local patrons? Check. Visit with an open-mind, and make Monteverde your own.