We left Nosara on Friday morning, after one last Spanish class and one last breakfast with the magpie jays at Cafe de Paris.

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A short walk through the jungle path to the Kaya Sol Hotel, and we were picked up by a shuttle to take us to Monteverde.

And my soul found peace.

Monteverde is high up in the Tilaran Mountains. It’s home to the original cloud forest and several nature preserves, and ziplining was invented here. But best of all, it’s cold. Blessedly, mistily, high-altitudely cold. After the choking heat of Nosara, I had never been so happy to put on my sweater, leggings and knit cap and take down all the woolly blankets in our room to make the bed. I hugged them. I didn’t care who saw.

We stayed at the Rainbow Valley Lodge, about ten minutes’ walk from the 3-block town of Santa Elena. The hotel is managed by Cristian, a native of Monteverde who has about 6 jobs. At first we were distracted by the pair of dimples with legs that is his one-year-old son, but when we could pay attention, we were totally Prince Charminged by Cristian’s offers to explain in detail all the tours we could take in the area, carry our backpacks down the sheer cliff to our room, and drive us into town for dinner.

The Monteverde area is decorated by a permanent rainbow that lit our way for the next 2 days, when the blowing clouds parted enough to let the sun in. The high winds had blown out the internet connection at the hotel, but I didn’t care. I was content to watch the whole rest of the world’s idea of “bad weather” in bliss.

We did make it into Santa Elena that night, to take the night tour at the Ranario (frog zoo). The frogs and toads of Costa Rica can actually be hard to find in the wild, according to Nadja’s research, so it was worthwhile to follow the staff stand-up comedian from one terrarium to the next and see which animals we shouldn’t lick if we did happen to stumble across them in the jungle.

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We returned to the Rainbow Valley Lodge to fill up our water bottles with the best-tasting water ever to flow out of a tap, and slept in utter mountain quiet and darkness with warm covers on. I dreamed I was in Ireland.

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