As we arrived in Monteverde, all I could see were clouds. After falling asleep on the bus, I woke up to trees and white fog so heavy that I couldn’t see the sky. The most notable difference between Monteverde and Heredia, besides the fog, is the trees. In Heredia, our walk to the University Latina is a busy street filled with American fast food chains, loud motorcycles, and litter. In Monteverde all I see our trees and small houses and shops. The majority of the land is taken up my nature as this land is protected. Outside my window, I could see houses built in to parts of the mountain along with very small cafes, grocery stores, and a few bed and breakfast hotels. The road was steep and winding, and the whole area is quiet. I don’t hear any loud trains or cars, and I would describe this area as truly peaceful.

This rural side of Costa Rica is more what I pictured on this trip. Originally hearing that Heredia is a small city, I thought the landscape would be more open and rural. Monteverde looks not only like a picturesque Costa Rican town, but it has the perfect scenery for tourists. Foreigners don’t come to Costa Rica to take pictures of Taco Bell signs or big highways; they come for the green views that show what they have imagined. I love this side of Costa Rica, but I think the tourism in this area is slightly deceiving. Tourism is the largest business in Monteverde, and as a result, they need to market and heavily sell the beauty of this area. While Costa Rica is made up beautiful nature and biodiversity, these touristic pictures don’t accurately represent the whole country. While they’re nice to look at and it’s fun to visit places like Monteverde, you need to visit all sides of the country in order to truly understand the culture.

Overall, I feel that traveling to Monteverde has given me a more well-rounded understanding of the country. The people seem to have the same quiet, peaceful, and the laid-back lifestyle seems to transcend to the rural areas. I finally see the green, sustainable Costa Rica I’ve heard about. The efforts in the hotel to be eco-friendly are very prominent like the lights will only turn on with a key card. Also, this area shows the agricultural side of Costa Rica which is slowly diminishing. I see that Costa Rica is more diverse than I imagined. They’re not just rainforests and coffee plantations, but they have developed cities as well. I’m excited to explore more of Monteverde in order to learn about the more rural lifestyle.

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