Lobster in the Cloud Forest
The drive from Heredia to Monteverde took about three and a half hours this morning. The last hour was over a road as dangerous as it is beautiful. Driving right along the edge of the mountain allowed Rayna and I to appreciate phenomenal views, however the lack of guardrails is nerve-wracking.
When we finally reached Monteverde (about 4500 ft) it was raining hard and there was little visibility. Since we had previously made a reservation at Hotel Don Taco, we headed straight there. Offering standard rooms as well as private cabanas, this hotel is nestled into the hillside and when the weather is clear boasts a view of the Gulf of Nicoya. Luckily we got a cabana, with two full beds, a porch, TV and private bath. Although there was no view today, given the weather, the comfortable and dry room was all we needed.
When the weather broke, we decided to take advantage of the fact that the hotel is in walking distance to the center of town. Santa Elena (the whole area is often referred to simply as Monteverde) is a small town which has many shops, tourism offices, restaurants and countless hotels, inns and lodges. It is a charming town to stroll through but soon enough our stomachs were begging for attention.
Rayna had heard that Hotel Heliconia had a wonderful restaurant. Well, her informant was right on the mark. The cuisine and service is outstanding. I could not pass up one of their specials - a whole lobster with jumbo shrimp served over linguini in a white cream sauce. Simply delicious. What really added to the experience of dining at the Heliconia, was the fact that our meals were prepared in front of us. Everything from the Caesar salad dressing to their special banana creme desert provided entertainment as well as pleasure to our palates.
After dinner, we felt the itch to go dancing. We hit Bar Amigos in the middle of town which was bustling with activity. A live band played salsa and meringue dances while couples tried their best to impress all the on-lookers. I do not know about anyone else, but Rayna and I were impressed and after a couple drinks we too were ready to give it a whirl. What a fun first night!