The third day of our trip we headed out of Chachagua towards Monteverde. This drive, although beautiful, is arduous and took over five hours (the last two on a rough gravel road). The beginning of the drive was around Lake Arenal on a crazy, curvy road that offered some breathtaking views of the volcano. We stopped at Café y Macademia for lunch on the western edge of the lake. The food was fresh and delicious, plus the restaurant had nice views of the lake.
Once we got around the lake and through Tilarán we started heading up the gravel road to Monteverde. I suggest getting gas in Tilarán as there is nothing until Monteverde. The closer you get to Monteverde the more rugged the road, and the more you begin to wonder what you've gotten yourself into. But it is breathtaking country and something about those crazy roads makes you feel very alive and present (you'd better be present as you might meet a huge tourist bus or semi around any corner).
Be sure to stop along the way and look North as there are nice views of Arenal along this drive. You can see it in the photo below peaking over the hills in the distance.