Despite our difficulty arriving to Monteverde, when we finally did make it up that mountain (again) to Hotel El Establo, it was well worth the trip. Hotel El Establo began like the rest of Monteverde, with the settlement of Quakers from the U.S. during the Korean War. One family decided to convert its farm’s stable into 12 rooms. Today, Hotel El Establo boasts 155 rooms, two restaurants, swimming pools and other sports facilities, a spa, canopy tour and much more on a huge compound overlooking beautiful Monteverde.Laggus, one of the restaurants at Hotel El Establo.Needless to say, it was a lot to take in over a two-day period — on top of exploring the cloud forest reserve and what little else of Monteverde the town we had time to see. But we did our best, trying to fit in time to explore the hotel’s vast grounds, relax at the pool and enjoy beautiful sunset views from the Costa Rican mountains.Our room.View from the terrace of our room.Our room was situated almost at the very top of a steep 1-kilometer drive from the entrance to the hotel grounds. The casual restaurant (which served a breakfast buffet included in the cost of one’s room) and reception area were close to the foot of the hill. Next came the nine buildings housing guest rooms interspersed throughout the drive, along with the “fine dining” restaurant, Laggus, swimming pools and other facilities.One of the services the hotel offers is a free shuttle to transport guests around the grounds. At first I was like, Are people really so lazy they can’t walk? But then I realized that the hill was STEEP and yeah, I wasn’t going to be walking back and forth. Especially after our four-hour hike at the reserve.The food at Laggus was not that great (it was edible but way overpriced for the quality). The breakfast at Las Riendas, the casual restaurant, was good, but the rest of its menu was so-so and again, overpriced for average quality. Costa Rica generally is much more expensive than El Salvador.Koi pond.I wish we could have spent one more day in Monteverde to give us time to really enjoy the hotel and relax a little more, but alas, our vacation style is such that we crave activity. And we had some buceos to do!Are you a mountain person or beach person?