Our Favourite Places in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

After four visits to Tamarindo, you can imagine my surprise when I realized that I had never done a “Favourite Places” post for it. Blogger Fail. Who knows why this slipped through my fingers, but nevertheless, the week we spent here allowed for the perfect opportunity to get one done.

There are so many places I could have chosen for this post. I actually had to cruise around the town to do some additional taste testing for the restaurants who made the cut, all in the name of research of course. Thankfully it paid off, and I’ve managed to narrow it down to our top three picks.

199591_10150118390849102_7536690_nCR Paradise: When we talk about people that we like to visit while in Costa Rica, Michelle and Steven of CR Paradise are at the top of our list. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without these two. They helped me navigate everything from booking a snorkel tour for a zillion people at Christmas, to getting over the border to Nicaragua. Any time I have a Costa Rica related question I know I can email them and they’ll have answer for me super quick.

They are literally a one stop shop for surfing trips, airport transfers, zip-lining, car rentals, turtle tours, waterfalls and everything in between.

What really sets CR Paradise apart is their level of integrity. They aren’t just going to try and sell you a tour to make a buck (like many people in Tamarindo will do). They’ll be honest with you about the pros and cons, and make sure you are getting the adventure that best suits your needs.

If you are heading to Tamarindo, and looking for a tour company, I can’t recommend them enough. Make sure you tell them Kate sent you 😉

P1020888Nogui’s: We find that most of the beach front bars in Tamarindo are tourist traps. Travellers are lured in by the thought of eating dinner right on the beach, but are then faced with high prices, and lack lustre food. Nogui’s authentic and delicious Costa Rican cuisine makes it stand out from the rest.

Before I even start talking about Nogui’s, I highly suggest you click this link to their website. Their home page beautifully describes their history, and the history of what Tamarindo was like back in the 70’s when it opened. Nogui’s is truly a Tamarindo original, and has grown along with the town itself. Once only open for dinners by reservation, Nogui’s is now open all day serving up a huge menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So, if you are visiting Tamarindo, make sure to make time to check out Nogui’s. I would suggest snagging one of their bright yellow Adirondack chairs right on  the beach and indulging in one of their famous pineapple, ginger mint juices with a side of their delicious ceviche.

P1020886Green Papaya: Shaun and I have already decided that our final meal in Costa Rica will be at Green Papaya. We’ve eaten here several times, and each time we go our meals are insanely delicious.

Green Papaya is a little off the beaten path, but well worth the trek off the main strip. You’re not only guaranteed a delicious meal, but super fast and friendly service.

Mom and brother Sean enjoying the swings at Christmas!

Mom and brother Sean enjoying the swings at Christmas!

Something that is often hard to find, especially in Tamarindo.

The restaurant has a great design. Guests can beat the heat by sitting inside on big wooden carved stumps (more comfortable then it sounds!). Alternatively guests can opt to sit outside on swings. Seriously! How could you pass up the chance to eat dinner on a swing? Well let me tell you, most people can’t. So get there early, or you will be swingless!

Chicken Tacos....NOM

Chicken Tacos….NOM

As far as suggestions are concerned, you just can’t go wrong with their chicken taco’s. Then again, their chips and salsa, chili, and burrito’s are amazing as well. This is the only problem with Green Papaya, to delicious things to choose from!

My most recent discovery about Green Papaya is their coffee bar. Finding a good coffee on the main strip in Tamarindo can be a little challenging. I’ve already written about my love for Cafe Tico, but Green Papaya certainly gives it a run for its money.

So whether you are looking for taco’s, coffee or swings, Green Papaya is certainly a must visit in Tamarindo.

Well, I certainly feel better now that I’ve got that done! Check out our other favourite places here. As always, if you are looking for other recommendations for Tamarindo, or elsewhere in Costa Rica leave a comment below or visit our Facebook page.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

The Best Place to Watch the Sunset in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

As I mentioned before, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Tamarindo, and feel like we’ve pretty much got the town cased.

This includes knowing where the best place to watch the sunset is.P1020864

Actually I should back up a bit, and explain the phenomenon of sunset watching.

Here in Costa Rica, sunset watching is an event. At around 5:30, beaches become crowded with tourists and locals alike who are taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of what is unfolding. It’s actually a really magical thing when you think about it. Even as I write this, I feel sort of deviant because I’m sitting by the pool while everyone is heading down the beach. Note to self…time blog writing better!

Shaun and I have experienced this sunset phenomenon in many places throughout Costa Rica.

ya we were THOSE people (Shaun will hate that I posted this!)

ya we were THOSE people (Shaun will hate that I posted this!)

In smaller towns we are one of a handful of people who are enjoying the view, in others, it’s a gong show. Tamarindo is one of those places where sunset time is often just crazyness.

Don’t get us wrong, our first night in Tamarindo back in November, we rocked it tourista style. Beers in hand we took countless sunset photos. Selfies, couple shots, yoga poses, kissing photos, name a classic tourist sunset photo and we did it.

Now a days, the need to take 100 photos of one sunset has subsided, and we can appreciate the view without needing to document the moment. That is, if we can manage to see the sunset through the hoards of kissing couples and yoga posers.

See the cliff way off in the distance? That is where we were heading!

See the cliff way off in the distance? That is where we were heading!

So, as I was saying, knowing what Tamarindo sunsets can be like, we made a plan to watch it from somewhere a little different.

Playa Tamarindo is the main beach in town, but if you head south a ways you will end up in Playa Langosta. Right between the two beaches is a rocky cliff. That my friends, is where we were heading.

So with a plastic bag of cold beers (cause that is how we roll), we headed out on our adventure. We made our way down the beach, dodging photo takers, navigating rocks and even photo bombing a wedding. After about a 20 minute hike, we made it. We were two of about 8 people who had the same idea. A far cry from the 100’s of people we could see lining the beach.

P1020858To say this was a good idea was an understatement. Not only were we able to watch the sunset in peace, but we also got to watch the waves crashing up against the rocks as the tide came in. It was one of those moments that you know you are going to remember forever.

So, if you are in Tamarindo, and looking for a peaceful sunset watching experience, you now know where to go. It is certainly a bit of a hike, but it is well worth it.

What is your most memorable sunset?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Returning to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

After our couple days in Samara, we headed back to Tamarindo for a week. If you’ve been following the blog, you may think to yourself…Tamarindo? Haven’t these guys been there a zillion times?

Well technically three times now, but yes, we do keep coming back.

During the crazyness of travel, life can seem pretty chaotic. We often find ourselves longing for a place that feels like home. We’ve come to realize, that for us, Tamarindo is that place.

For those of you who know us, know Tamarindo or know both, this may come as a surprise. Tamarindo is a very busy little town, full of people, and full of party. Not necessarily a place that fits our relaxed “in bed by 8pm” approach to travel. In fact, if someone were to ask me where I would recommend they go during their trip to Costa Rica, Tamarindo would be much further down the list then some of the other places we’ve visited.

But we have a soft spot for Tamarindo, and the longer we are in the country, the larger it grows.In previous trips to Costa Rica, we’ve always stayed in Tamarindo, and have been able to see the town develop over the past 6 years (since our first visit). Tamarindo is the first place we stayed when we landed back back in November, and it is going to be the last place we stay before getting on the plane in April.


We are comfortable with the town, we know where the deals are, we know which restaurants we like, heck we even have a cat that we pretend is our own! We have come to know several people in the town, and any time we visit we take a moment to pop in to say hello.

Familiarity, comfort, friends, these are all things that you miss when travelling. When you find a place that gives you a little taste of those feelings, it is always going to keep you coming back.

So, at this point in our adventure, we found ourselves back at Villas Macondo for a week. Laying by the pool, visiting with Bearly Bear, and enjoying our time to regroup before our big trek up to Nicaragua.

How do you find ways to feel “at home” while travelling?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Backpacker turned Hairstylist- Cutting my own hair while travelling

After 3.5 months, I came to the point where I could no longer stand the greasy strands, sandy scalp and all around unruly mop I have been sporting on top of my head.

A couple of weeks ago it all came to a head (get it..a head…no pun intended…actually no that is a lie…I thought of that pun way before I even started writing this post)

Anyways, we were back staying in Villas Macondo in Tamarindo, and I knew they had a hair dryer. This meant, for the first time, in a long time, I could check out the status of my bangs and give them a trim.

Now why on earth would I need to trim my bangs when they haven’t seen the light of day for months AND will likely not be seen again for the remainder of the trip?


See what I’m sayin!

Sanity, pure sanity. As much as I have adopted the free-spirited, makeup-less, “when did I last shave my legs” backpacker lifestyle, every once and a while I still need to feel fancy.

Now, the thought of a selfie bang trim strikes fear into my heart. I have flashbacks of sitting on the side of the sink as a child as my mom cut my bangs mid-forhead, using a piece of scotch tape as a guide. Seriously, I’m cringing just thinking about it

Luckily for me, I had come prepared for this day. Prior to leaving, I had a little one on one time with Chris Lawry at Lavish Salon in Victoria Between creating a magical sun kissed hue and cutting my hair in a way that would make it grow out nicely, he taught me how to trim my bangs.

(side note: If you are in Victoria and need a stylist, stop reading, and call them. Your hair will thank you).

So here is a little step by step approach of how things went down for my selfie bang trim.

P1020868Step 1- Be Afraid: First, take your hair out of its messy bun for the first time in a week. Look in the mirror and marvel at how sunscreen, sweat, sand, and saltwater makes for some pretty intense natural volume.

Step 2- Conditioner is your Friend: Next, try and brush your hair, realize its impossible, and opt to jump into the shower. Use the ole “mitt-ful of conditioner approach” to get rid of the knots. Keep in mind, this approach only works when you know your bestfriend is coming for a visit the following week who has promised to bring you a conditioner refill.


Step 3- Brush that Shizz: Shower complete, now brush your hair. Be disgusted with yourself for the amount of hair that is coming off your head. As you clean out your brush, and end up with enough hair to make coat for a small rabbit, vow to yourself to remember to brush your hair more frequently. Immediately forget about the vow until you are writing a blog post about it several weeks later.

P1020875Step 4- Access the damage: Try and remember which way you parted your hair, back when you cared about things like hair parts. Comb your bangs forward to see just how impressive your hair growth as been.

Now spend several minuted trying to take the perfect long bang selfie. Opt for a side mouth smile.


Step 5- Moment of Truth: Ask your husband to take a picture of you trimming your bangs. Try not to cut yourself as he directs you where to put your arm so he can see your face. Ultimatly decide to pose for a photo and then actually do the deed without distraction.

Pull your bangs into middle of your forehead and trim slowly with the scissors pointed upward. Start with small cuts, and let go of your bangs every once and a while to access your progress.

P1020884Step 6-Be Shocked: Stare at yourself in the mirror and think “wow, I think I actually nailed this”. Decide that your new found fancyness warrants leaving the unflattering orange glow of the bathroom and heading out into better lighting. Take your last selfie.

Then be so exhausted with the whole process, opt not to blow dry the rest of your hair, and then just put it up in a bun for the night.

It was good while it lasted!

Honestly, I was totally prepared to butcher my fringe and rock a French braid for the rest of the trip, but Chris’ instructions made the whole process go super smoothly.Check him out if you are in the Victoria area!

If you are heading out for some big travelling adventures, but want the option to keep up some style, I would highly suggest a pre-trip visit to your stylist to pick up some tips.

Have you ever cut your own hair? How did it go?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Casa Rebecca, Nosara, Costa Rica

After our busy travel time inland, our accommodation in Nosara provided us the perfect backdrop for a little rest and relaxation.

P1020703Nestled in the south end of Playa Guiones, Casa Rebecca is a boutique hotel/hostel. They offer shared rooms in the main house, but also a few private rooms near the pool. They are about an 8-10 minute walk from the main surf break, and a few minutes away from the famous Nosara Yoga Institute.

Our room was large, had an ensuite bathroom and was about three steps to the pool. Not to shabby if you ask me.

The main house of Casa Rebecca iP1020704s both unique and gorgeous. The furniture has almost a Mediterranean vibe to it, white walls, wicker and gorgeous artwork.There are several couches and sitting areas that offer the perfect space to read, practice yoga, or just relax.

P1020706The best part of the main house though was the kitchen. The house was obviously run as a B&B at some point, as it is fully stocked with everything you could possibly need to make delicious meals. After dealing with some very poorly equipped, cramped, unfortunate kitchens in our past, we were delighted with what we had available. In fact, Shaun and I ate in every night during our five days here.


The kitchen is attached to a communal dinning area, and living room, as well as a few of the dorm rooms. After being fairly secluded in our last couple hostels, it was nice to have a common space to meet and chat with people. Plus, one of the guests shared a pineapple upside down cake she had just baked, so seriously, what’s not to love.

Our room tucked in the back!

Our room tucked in the back!

I made our reservation through their website, and the owners were awesome in helping us find a room that fit both our budget and needs. At the time of our visit the owners weren’t on site, and the property was being cared for by two young Costa Rican girls. They were very sweet, and Shaun and I managed to wrestle our way through the language barrier during the check in and check out process. Other then that, we were pretty much on our own, which we didn’t mind at all.

As I was Googling Casa Rebecca, it looks like it is actually for sale. So if anyone is interested in a fabulous place with some serious B&B potential, you should buy it…and let me stay for free for making the referral of course!

If you want to read about any of the other places we’ve stayed in Costa Rica, check out our Hostel Review Page.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Our Favourite Places in Monteverde, Costa Rica

I have to say, I really loved Monteverde. After getting out of the hustle and bustle of the tourist scene of La Fortuna, this quaint little town was way more my scene.

That being said, there certainly was no shortage of things to see and do there!

Although we were only in town for three days, they were very busy and full of all sorts of adventures. Despite the hectic schedule, I did manage to track down a couple of my “Favourite Places” for you to check out.

Our Favourite Places in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Be prepared, their menu is HUGE

Be prepared, their menu is HUGE

Sabor Tico: If you’ve been following the blog closely, you may recognize this name. Yes in fact, there is a Sabor Tico in La Fortuna as well, and it was also one of our favourite places…well it was actually Shaun’s favourite place, as I never actually ate at it.

This Sabor Tico is very different, and having experienced it first hand, I can attest that it a truly delicious place to dine. Sabor Tico is like a traditional soda gone mainstream. Their menu is chalk full traditional Costa Rican favourites, but their restaurant area is a little fancier then what you would find in a regular soda. Don’t worry though, cause it tastes like mama is still cooking up a storm in the kitchen, because everything we ate there was unreal.

On the night we visited we went all out. I was so excited to see they had tamale’s on the PicMonkey Collagemenu, because I hadn’t seen any during our trip yet and at only 900 Colones, how could I resist? Tamales are a dish famous for being served at Christmas here in Costa Rica. The base is masa, usually made from a corn flour dough, then there will be meats, cheese, veggies or sometimes even fruits inside. All of this deliciousness is wrapped up in a banana or plantain leaf and steamed or boiled.

Shaun's Fajitas

Shaun’s Fajitas

I can see why people would eat these at Christmas, it’s like opening a present when you eat them! Ours was full of chicken, and veggies. We combined it with a little Lizano and it was an awesome little appy to share.

Woosh, What a Tamale Tangent!

My Ceviche

My Ceviche

The rest of our meal was just as amazing. I got some ceviche, while Shaun got a Fajita. Both were fabulous!

Sabor Tico is an awesome place if you are looking for some delicious Costa Rican favourites. They are so popular, that they actually have two locations. The original location is in Santa Elena, while the new location, the one we went to, is in Monteverde. They are only 2km apart so you could hit one up for lunch, and one for dinner!

P1020568Orchid Coffee & Tea Shop: I took one for the team again here in Monteverde, and checked out several coffee places to see which ones were the best. The things I do for you guys. Orchid Coffee was my first stop, because it had such a high rating on trip advisor. It did not disappoint.

Despite being in Monteverde for such a short stint, I somehow managed to indulge in several Cappuccino’s at this establishment. I would suggest trying the Spiced Cappuccino with Cinnamon, Nutmeg…and maybe Ginger? Regardless, it was a really nice twist on my traditional coffee choice.

P1020647Desafio Monteverde: Although I am a little biased, because I absolutely love this company, Desafio Monteverde was still one of our favourite places. The staff are incredible, and will set you up with everything you need to make your stay in Monteverde beyond memorable.

Beyond the tours, the building itself is awesome as well. They offer the only truly “Free” activity in Monteverde. They have a hummingbird and monkey garden in the back of their property that is open to the public. Also, there is an amazing coffee shop upstairs that roasts its own beans (you know I’ll take any opportunity to pop into another coffee shop!)

So whether you are looking for a tour, wanting to see some hummingbirds/monkeys, or just wanting to meet some really awesome people, stop by Desafio Monteverde, and tell them I sent you!

That’s a wrap on another edition of our Favourite Places. Check out other posts in this series, and as always feel free to pop us any questions in the comments below or on Facebook.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

100th Blog Post-What I’ve learned about being a Travel Blogger

Wowza, 100 posts! Can you believe it?!

I think I’ve gotten the hang of this whole travel blogging thing, but it’s been an experience full of lessons. Here are a couple things I’ve discovered along the way

You become a slave to the WiFi connection: I sort of envisioned my travel blogging life as swaying in hammocks while writing witty posts for you all. My reality is more like sitting outside in swarms of bugs, crouching in front of hotel lobbies, buying countless cups of bad coffee…Anything to secure that illusuive WiFi connection to get the blog posted!

You make lots of friends while blogging!

You make lots of friends while blogging!

You start narrating blog posts in your brain: Instead of walking along the beach and thinking how nice the view is like a normal person, you have a little constant narrator in your head giving you a play by play, “We walked along the beach, the air was warm and the palm trees were swaying.” It’s an adverse side effect to being a blogger.

The blog becomes your third travel companion: What’s on the blog? Is the blog posted? I have to post the blog. What should I write on the blog? Want to write on the blog? It’s for the blog…Catch my drift?

The blog is the perfect email cop-out: Dearest (insert name), Thanks so much for the email. Yes, we’re having a great time. Yes, we’ve been up to all sorts of stuff. You should read the blog, here’s the link. Best regards- Kate and Shaun

Sometimes my guest bloggers have guest bloggers!

Sometimes my guest bloggers have guest bloggers!

If you think it’s an awesome post, no one will read it and If you think it’s a lame post, everyone will read it: How come no one read my post on how to become fluent in Spanish in 20 minutes, but my post on what I found between my toes went viral?? (NB: these are not real posts…don’t go looking…you’ll be disappointed)

The travel blogger community is AMAZING! The travel blog community is amazing. I’ve been welcomed with open arms and have encountered some fabulous people both online and in person. I can safely say that my fellow travel bloggers are one of the best parts of this job!!

Check out some of my faves!

All in all, writing this blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only does it allow me to stay connected with people back home and meet new people online but it has become a way of archiving our adventures. When we are old and gray we can log onto Hostels and Hot Rollers and smile.

Most of all, it has been so wonderful to know that YOU are reading this. I so appreciate each and every person who stops by and reads about our adventures!

Who are your favourite bloggers, travel or otherwise?

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde, Costa Rica-Part 2- Hanging Bridges

After finishing our final kilometre long cable, it was time to take our wobbly adrenaline laden legs back down to the reception area to take our gear off.

Once we were relieved of our harnesses, we moved on to the next phase our of our adventurous morning at Selvatura, the hanging bridges.

Literally walking through the clouds

Literally walking through the clouds

These treetop walkways put you right where the action is. Not only do you have the entire canopy below you, but you have the zip-liners above you. We were so glad that they recommended we do zip-lining first, because the hanging bridges were a great way to see all the cables we had just been on from a different vantage point (and with our eyes open!)

Starting the trek

Starting the trek

Selvatura has 8 hanging bridges with distances ranging from 150 feet to 510 feet and altitudes ranging from 36 feet to 180 feet. There is a forest path to hike along between the bridges, so the entire course is about 3 kilometres.

Unlike a lot of the other hanging bridges in . Monteverde, Selvatura’s don’t move all that much. Although they certain have a little bit of sway to them, they are still pretty sturdy under your feet. So this is a great option if you are travelling with someone who isn’t the hugest fan of heights (like some people we know)

It’s self guided, so you can take as long, or as little as you like. Shaun and I finished in just over an hour. I think we spent half the time looking around, and the other half talking about our zip-lining adventure!

Once we arrived back at reception, we waited for their complimentary shuttle to take us back to our hotel. This is such a huge perk, and made our day much easier.

P1020642If you are heading to Selvatura Park for some Adventuring here are our tips:

  • Wear Layers: Zip-lining is cold, but hiking can make you hot! make sure you have a couple layers so you can disrobe as needed
  • Waterproof is a Must: Even if the sun is shining in town, the cloud forest is usually damp. We both had waterproof coats, but the gift shop does sell ponchos
  • Bring a Snack: There is a pretty fancy restaurant on site, but not much for snack food. If you are spending a day at the park bring a snack. A very small backpack can be taken on the ziplines but they also offer lockers for day use.
  • Long Pants and Close Toed Shoes: Like I said, it is cold so pants are essential, and obviously you don’t want to be losing your flippy floppy’s while your zipping!
  • Check Out the Rest of the Park: Although we only spent a morning at Selvatura, you could easily spend the entire day there. In addition to the zip-lining and hanging bridges, they have several other exhibits including an insect, frog, snake, and butterfly museum.

So there you have it! Another adventure down, many more to go. Thanks again Desafio and My Costa Rica for making it happen!

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour, Costa Rica

As many of you know I have been working with the fabulous people over at My Costa Rica. I’ve got a bunch of great articles in the works, and will be sure to link to them as they get published.

One of the best parts of working with them has been being introduced to the amazing team over at Desafio Adventures. They welcomed me with open arms and have created some amazing opportunities for me.

With offices in La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Samara, they are a one stop shop for all your tour needs. If you’re looking for tours in these areas, check them out, you will get all star service.

The tour in today’s post was made possible by the team at Desafio, Monteverde.

Bundled up and ready to hike!

Bundled up and ready to hike!

After leaving La Fortuna, we made our way higher into the moutains towards Monteverde. After checking in to our awesome hostel, we headed over to Desafio to see what was in store. Turned out we would be heading on a tour of the Cloud Forest first thing in the morning.

Monteverde has two forests, Santa Elena Rainforest and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. We were heading to the latter. Our driver picked us up bright and early, and took us on the 20 minute drive up into the mountains. We arrived at the entrance, and were introduced to Rodrigo, our guide.

Our AMAZING guide.

Our AMAZING guide.

Before he even spoke, I instantly liked him. He had these light blue eyes that sparkled as he looked into the treetops, searching for birds and other wildlife to show us. He explained that he has been doing tours since 1986, and practically grew up in the forest. In fact, many of the trails had been built by members of his family. We knew we were in good hands.

The excitement began immediately as Rodrigo spotted Quetzels milling about the parking lot. For those of you who don’t know (as I didn’t) seeing a Quetzel is like striking gold. Many avid bird watchers come to Costa Rica just to see this illusive, and breathtaking creature.

Ummm...ya, impressive eh!

Ummm…ya, impressive eh!

I was immediately caught up in the papparazzi like energy, as crowds of people pointed their cameras towards the trees in an attempt to capture the birds on film. Once I spotted them, I could see why. Their iridescent blue green feathers, deep crimson chests, and incredibly long tail feathers make them seem like something out of a fairy tale. It’s no wonder that both the Mayan and Aztec worshipped them as a god.

Taken through the telescope!

Taken through the telescope!

I snapped a couple photo’s, and Rodrigo set up his telescope so we could get an up close and personal look. He even taught me how to take photos through the telescope, a trick that I absolutely loved!

After the excitement died down, we continued on our walk, entering the gates of the park, and starting out trek through the cloud forest. We watched as many guides showed their tours various books, and pamphlets explaining about the various creatures in the jungle. Rodrigo didn’t have to do that, he had a story about everything.

I couldn't even see until I looked in the telescope!

I couldn’t even see this lil guy until I looked in the telescope!

He told us about being tracked by a Jaguar, encountering boars, and about doing the multiple day hikes to Arenal. His knowledge and experience was incredible, and Shaun and I just kept asking him questions to gain as much information from his as possible.

We stopped along the way, learning about various plants and birds. He knew where everything was, from the largest ficus tree, to the smallest hummingbird nests.

Strangler Figs RULE

Strangler Figs RULE

Speaking of Ficus Trees, let me tell you how cool they are. No seriously! Later that day Shaun even said the coolest part of the tour was learning about these trees!

The Ficus Tree, or Stranger Figs, can be seen all over the Cloud Forest. Essentially, it’s like an Ivy. It starts growing on the top of an existing tree, and slowly grows downward, until it roots in the soil. Over time, it over takes the original tree, and kills it. Once the tree is dead, it slowly rots away, leaving the interior of the Ficus hollow. Soooo cool.

Rodrigo showed us several of these trees at various stages in the process, until finally we reached a gigantic Ficus that had a completely hollow. It was amazing. He told us that when he was younger, he would often climb up into the tree, and even showed us a couple of lines he had strung across when he was younger.

Cold Tourists

Cold Tourists

The path ended at a cute little waterfall, where Shaun and I managed to snap a very touristy looking picture. As I type this at the beach, all I can think about is how bundled up we looked. The Cloud Forest is certainly not a warm place!

We headed back down the trail, and out of the park. On the way out, we took a moment to see the hummingbird garden, which was complimentary as part of our tour. I took way to many photos, and have included a bunch at the end of this post.

If you are going to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, here are our tips

Get a Guide-Better yet, Get Rodrigo!: If you don’t get a guide, and hike the trail on your own, you are likely going to just see a lot of plants. You really need a guide who knows the trail to show you all the intricacies ,details and magic that the forest has to offer. Contact Desafio to book Rodrigo, you won’t be disappointed.

Wear warm clothes- It’s chilly in the cloud forest. Shaun and I had several layers on, and were still a little cold. The hike is really easy, so you aren’t likely to work up a sweat.

Leave the Bug Spray at Home- One bonus of the Cloud Forest? To cold for bugs! Wahoo! So don’t bother “Deeting” yourself, you won’t need it.

Stop at the Hummingbird Garden– It is sort of tucked away in the parking lot, but its totally worth checking out. I think there is a small entrance fee if you are not on a tour, but its worth it if you are wanting to get up close and personal with these little guys. There is also a little cafe if you are craving a coffee or treat after your adventure.

So there you have it, another adventure under our belt, and we loved every moment!

Have you ever had a really good tour guide? Tell us about it!

Pura Vida


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

As Promised…Here are several hummingbirds!

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Healthy Hostel Meals Part 5- My Favourite Healthy Costa Rican Snacks

I LOVE grocery stores, especially grocery stores in other countries.

Whenever we are in a new town, and I find a new grocery store, I am in heaven. I will spend so much time wandering down the aisles, looking at all the products, reading ingredients, and filling up my basket with all sorts of new things.

As a result of all this “research”, I have found a bunch of awesome healthy snacks that I’ve never seen at home.

Here are a couple of my favourite go to snacks here in Costa Rica:

Can't begin to express my love for these.

Can’t begin to express my love for these.

Suspiros: These calorie free meringues are AMAZEBALLS! Every year at Christmas, I make tons of cookies full of butter and sugar for Shaun, and I make Meringues made with Stevia for myself. They are guilt free, and still feel like a treat.

Well the lovely people at SweetWell (which is actually a Belgium company) sell a pre-packaged version of my Christmas treat. They come in Vanilla, Mint and Strawberry, and are a perfect sweet treat for dessert.

I can guarantee I’ll be lugging some of these home with me…although I’ll be lucky if they make it through the plane ride!

Veggie time!

Veggie time!

Natural Sins Beet Chips: There are some travel days where getting my servings of vegetables in can be a challenge. You can’t exactly whip up a salad when you are on an all day shuttle. On days like this, these beet chips have been a saving grace.

Unlike lots of the vegetable based chips you find at home, these ones are totally clean. The ingredients are just beets!

Natural sins also sells dehydrated pineapple,mango, orange and coconut, but I’ve steered clear of those, as I’m sure I would just eat the whole pack in one sitting!

Guanabana, you're my hero

Guanabana, you’re my hero

Pops GuanaBana Light Yogurt: Oh Guanabana, how I love thee. This yogurt is hard to find, so when I track it down, I always pick up a couple. Pops is a big ice cream chain here in Costa Rica, and although they make some sinfully good ice cream, they also have a great line of lighter products as well.

This yogurt has a rice tangy taste, with less guilt then the non-light version. I usually split the container in two and add it to my oatmeal in the morning. I know I’m going to miss this little beauties when I get home!


pipa on beach with straw

Pipas: Oh my Beloved Pipas, what am I going to do without you.Over the past few weeks, I’ve developed a plan of attack. I’m having a pipa every day until I leave. My thought process is that I will overdose on these awesome budget friendly, healthy snacks, so that by the time I leave, I won’t crave them anymore.

That being said, I can totally see myself getting home and buying whole coconuts in an attempt to recreate the magic. I wonder if Shaun will invest in the machete necessary to open them for me??


So there you have it, my favourite healthy snacks here in Costa Rica. What are you go to healthy travel snacks?

For more Healthy Travel ideas, check out my Healthy Hostel Life Page!

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress