I think this is one of the greenest countries I’ve been in. And I don’t mean ecologically green, as is touted all over the place, yet they still provide plastic bags at the grocery stores. I mean the color. You’ve seen from some of the photos I’ve posted, the amount and size of plants. I’m also enamored of the hill and country side. It’s rolling and eye popping green.

I thought of the Alps and Switzerland and Ireland. Not that I’ve been to Ireland to know whether that’s an apt comparison.

We left sunny/rainy Arenal this morning for Monteverde cloud forest. It was pure sun as soon as we decended from Arenal. Along the way we took a side trip to Cataratas Viento Fresco. There are four waterfalls to hike to after a grueling drive on a very narrow one lane, potholed, twisty, steeply banked, rutted road. It was exhilerating, too. The first is Catarata Rio Serena.

Serene River Waterfall

The second is Catarata Escondida.

Hidden Waterfall – you hear this one before you see it. Must detour from the main trail to get to it.

Another 200 meters gets you to Catarata Arco Iris. This fall plunges into a shallow pool, which you can enter. It’s about 2-3 feet deep and refreshingingly cool. There is also a strong wind generated by the falls. Standing in the water, a rainbow forms in a perfect arc in front of you on the water from the sun refracting the mist. The energy of this place made me laugh and shout for joy.

Rainbow Waterfall

The last, Catarata El Tobagan, is quite a steep hike downhill – another 250 meters. The water glides over a wide swath of rock, slipsliding down. Here I received a great water shoulder massage. If water had fingers this is what it would feel like.

Slide Waterfall from afar

Important! If you find yourself going to Cataratas Viento Fresco, know that you must have cash. And if you’re a gringo, preferably dollars, $16.00 a head.

Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive. It came in handy on the drive from the waterfall area to Santa Elena, our town for the next few nights, outside of Monteverde. That drive was almost as bad! More potholes, but slightly wider, but not paved. Dusty! Can’t fault the beauty of the drive, though.

The hike, the water, and the drive wore me out. Hoping to get a spot on a zipline tomorrow. I wonder if I’ll be able to manage photos while careening through the forest on a cable. Stay tuned.

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