When my trusty guide announced he would be driving my 'Spicy' guests and I to Miravalles Volcano for our day trek – via a shortcut – my ears perked up. I love surprises, plus shortcuts on unknown trails thrill me. Somehow, traveling on unfamiliar jungle roads with the potential of getting lost just sounds more fun. Thankfully Diego, my Costa Rican guide, has nerves of steel and I trust his knowledge of the area completely. Comforting, because Costa Rica's Monkey Trail, as I learned later, is a notorious un-paved, pot-holed, slippery mess of a dirt road with a bad-ass reputation.
Lonely Planet guidebook describes the Monkey Trail as one of the top five nerve-shredding road trips in Costa Rica: “…This curvy mountain pass is famous for eating cars. Its narrow, plunging corridors snake through river crossings and shouldn’t be attempted in the rainy season, or with anything less than four-wheel drive. But those who dare to brave the Monkey Trail are in for one of Costa Rica’s most extreme thrills.”
Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, yet we weren’t prepared or disappointed. Thanks again to Diego for the element of surprise… like a wolf leading innocent lambs astray. Fortunately, this trek was planned at the end of Costa Rica’s rainy season so our chance of dangerous river crossings were reduced, nevertheless, a violent thunderstorm had soaked the area the night before.
A good way to start the day,
After 2 river crossings and at least a zillion potholes and pits, 7 km later we pass a sign that reads “Congo Trail Canopy Tour” (that’s another story) then, poof, the bad-ass dirt road turns to pavement and we pop into the village of Sardinal. Just like that, the Monkey Trail ends and the next adventure begins.
Have you traveled the infamous Monkey Trail?