Santa Elena
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An enchanted forest
Cloud forest is one of the constant Costa Rica google search results that insists its way onto your itinerary, and although it's not what you pictured--because the forest of fluffy clouds you knew wasn't realistic really isn't--it's definitely a necessary, unique experience. Should you show up in flip flops and white shorts for what is actually a very wet and humid three-hour hike, you can rent roots for a couple dollars at St. Helena (and accept that your shorts aren't coming out white). We crossed our fingers, threw foreign coins of still undetermined worth in fountains, and wished on stars presumably behind the clouds for a monkey or sloth sighting, but only came upon spiders and other varieties of insects on our path. The mystical and secluded nature of the park created an oddly comfortable eery though, and time exploring for the sake of exploring was rewarding in the midst of organizing endless modes of transportation between attractions and tours. There's something empowering about stomping your way through a foreign forest with no idea where you're going or whose boots you're wearing only that you're in control and have kilometers of unexplored territory to see and feel and experience for yourself. And know that you're hidden amongst clouds and walking through them with no regard for what they're hiding on the outside. That makes for a hike unlike any other.
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