To Monteverde!

I arrived safely at The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens and have started to settle in and learn my way around a little. It was a bit of an adventure getting here though! To preface this post, I was not very prepared for this trip. I forgot to get a typhoid fever vaccination, I didn’t learn nearly enough Spanish, and I bought the guide book at the airport.

I flew out of Vancouver and had a brief stop over in Los Angeles before my overnight flight to San Jose. Once out of the airport in San Jose I completely disregarded my friend’s advice about only taking the orange cabs from the airport and hopped in a Honda Accord with a taxi driver who spoke English quite well. We went through probably the sketchiest area I have ever been through (that being said, I am not that well travelled) and I was dropped off at a Spanish speaking bus station, near the Coca Cola bus area.

Waiting at the bus station forever

Waiting at the bus station forever

Once I’d successfully purchased a ticket, in Spanish (I was pretty proud of myself), I had 5 hours until the bus arrived. I figured I’d have lunch and use the internet at the little cafe near the bus terminal. The good news is, it was $3 USD for a latte and a lunch thing, the bad news is I’m a vegetarian and I think I ate chicken. I just pointed at something behind the counter as I was failing epically at reading the menu. Turns out it had chicken in it, or pork, I’m not entirely sure to be honest. But on the bright side, I now know how to ask if there is meat in things. I then proceeded to hang out at the bus station for 5 hours while diligently guarding my bags. I had to pee, a couple times. You have to pay 200 colones to use the washroom, someone had peed all over the floor, there was no seat on the toilet, and there was a man fixing the sink. So I essentially did weighted squats with my 65L backpack, while trying not to laugh. And I thought I wouldn’t get in any exercise while traveling!

A kitty friend I made at the bus station.

A kitty friend I made at the bus station.

The bus ride up was all Spanish speaking people, lucky for me there was one German girl with broken English and she translated a few things for me. Including “there might be thieves, watch your bag” which the bus driver had tried to get across by pointing at my bag and making a sad face with a pretend tear drop after I confidently told him “No hablo Espanol moy bien”, which is probably spelled worse than I pronounced it. Once on the bus with my bags safely stowed I fell asleep for about an hour, then I woke up and we were driving through these gorgeous forests with huge green trees. We went through a few small towns and then drove up a winding dirt road for about an hour to get to Monteverde. I took a taxi up to the “Jardin de Mariposas” and met everyone. It’s me, another volunteer, the owners, and their 11 year old son all living at the gardens. I have my own room for now, but will be sharing with another female volunteer who is arriving in a couple weeks.

The volunteer quarters, well kind of. This is the kitchen/other volunteers room.

The volunteer quarters, well kind of. This is the kitchen/other volunteers room.

I had my first day, followed a tour, walked through the gardens, memorized some butterfly names and facts, learned how to do a few maintenance type things and attempted to make empanadas.

Just to be clear, I’m not a totally ignorant tourist…I didn’t really think I’d need much Spanish to get to the butterfly gardens and thought I’d just kind of wing it, but for the rest of my trip when I am traveling I’m planning to actually learn to speak enough to get by.

Not a bad view from the balcony

Not a bad view from the balcony

Only the coolest beetle ever: the elephant beetle. It feels soft like velvet.

Only the coolest beetle ever: the elephant beetle. It feels soft like velvet.

An owl butterfly in the low altitude garden

An owl butterfly in the low altitude garden

Silver crysalids from which glass butterflies will one day emerge.

Silver crysalids from which glass butterflies will one day emerge.

A stingless wasp colony

A stingless bee colony

Turns out I have curly hair! Me in my room.

Turns out I have curly hair! Me in my room.

I’m excited to be doing tours and working here for the next 2.5 months! I’ll probably be blogging about neat insects and stuff for the rest of my time here, there is a lot to learn!

Love to Canada from Costa Rica, hope you’re all enjoying winter!

P.S. I saw a tucan and a white faced monkey today! I didn’t get pictures though.

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One thought on “To Monteverde!

  1. Hello and thank you for your very informative blogs! I’ve applied to volunteer at MBG and overflowing with excitement in anticipation of the opportunity. Would very much like to hear more about your experience if you wouldn’t mind sharing…
    Was there anything you wish you had or hadn’t brought with you? How would you prepare differently if you had it to do all over again? What are the top three things to know as a volunteer to make the most of our time of service both in contributing and gleaming from the overall experience?

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