We left Heredia early this morning for our trip to Monteverde. Over the four-hour bus ride, we passed through many different types of towns and sceneries. Heredia and San José (the two places we had visited before today) are a part of the Central Valley which I have noticed is where most of the hustle and bustle is in comparison to the areas we drove through today. It is evident that outside of the central valley is more rural and calm. The houses are not as close together, so houses have bigger yards; this reminds me more of how houses are back home especially because I live in a more rural area. There were also a large number of farms with cows and horses throughout our bus ride which made it seem more like regions of the United States.
Heredia and San José are complete opposites of Monteverde. Monteverde is up in the mountains where it is much quieter and less populated. The temperature is much cooler because of the altitude so it is more bearable than the constant heat in the Central Valley. Personally, I think that Monteverde is much more appealing because as we drove up the mountain, the surrounding mountains were untouched which preserved their natural beauty. There is also more wildlife in the mountains which I have never had the opportunity to see before. While walking from our hotel room to our bus, we saw an armadillo and a coati (an animal that kind of looks like a mix between a monkey and a raccoon).
We also stopped at a rest stop on our way, and it had a souvenir shop. I expected it to have similar items as the other shops we stopped at over the past few days, but this one was much better. It contained many different collectibles such as hand painted lizards, frogs, and sea turtles for decoration. These were clearly unique unlike the typical tourist items like t-shirts and keychains. Even though this store still had these typical souvenirs, the hand-crafted ones were really what drew our group in. I was glad we stopped there because it was a great opportunity to find similar decorations to those that my host mom has in her house. Overall, today introduced me to a new side of Costa Rica which I did not expect to see, but I am really glad I did.