A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: gfied

A Walk in the Park

I's Go'n RaaaaaIN! (a la Ollie)

After a good night's rest in a locked room, we had decided that after the hassles of the day before, we deserved a break. The plan: shoppin', eatin', and beachin'. We shopped, we ate, and we went for a stroll down the beach to see what it was all about. Disappointing! Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that we had only the Utopian beaches of Santa Teresa to compare it to, but it was rocky, dirty and the shore line was littered with tall buildings and advertisements. Our walk was less inspiring than anticipated and so we returned to the hostel where we prepared ourselves a delicious dinner of fresh trout with rice and veggies.

The next day we were off to Parque Nacional Carara. When we arrived, we familiarized ourselves briefly with the flora and fauna of the Parque and shortly set off on our hike. It wasn't a particularly grueling hike (we had experienced higher ups and steeper downs in the past hikes of the trip) but IT WAS HOT. Like, REALLY REALLY HOT. And HUMID! Ok, I get that I keep saying that it's always hot, but this time...well, you're going to have to just take my word for it. Even the locals were commenting on the heat and worse, the humidity. On the hike we saw: 5 Dendrobates auratus, also known as the green and black poison dart frog, 1 Agouti, 2 Scarlet Macaws flying over head, 15+ Crocodiles wading in a river, a few Jesus Christ Lizards (from far away) running across a river, 2 Great Tinamous, something that we think were two river otters but they were quick so we didn't get a good look,some pretty mariposas (butterflies) that are an ultimate tease when it comes to taking their picture (they land, pose, and fly away just before you can focus and hit the shutter), a hard working colony of leaf-cutter ants, which according to Wikipedia form "the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth next to humans", and a ridiculous number of lizards, dragons and iguanas. They were practically running out from under our feet. I'd like to go on about the different leaves, trees, vines and flowers that we saw but every direction we looked, there was an entirely new landscape with too many things to identify. It was breathtaking, complicated, intricate, and exciting. Everything was woven together in perfectly harmonious chaos. I can totally understand how Tarzan swung from tree to tree (logistically speaking).

After having soaked through our clothes (yes, gross, I know) and me getting sick from some bad water, we returned to the hostel, hopped in the pool and ate up the left overs from the day before. That night, the humidity had gotten too intense that the clouds burst and it rained. And oh boy how it rained! Lightening lit up the sky for 2 seconds every 3 seconds, thunder made our neighbors shriek, and we sat on the patio watching one of the most intimidating storms we've seen (in a while at least), having to shout anything to each other to be heard. It was a very welcome shower that allowed for a good nights sleep and a bearable next day. I had asked the hostel keeper how long it had been since it had rained and she told me that it had been several weeks and that they were patiently waiting for the day.

Today we woke up, ran a few errands in town and set off to Manuel Antonio. We'll be staying here for a few nights, visiting the beach and Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio where we hear monkeys steal your stuff. We'll let you know how that goes in a few.

Till then!

Margaricas!

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Posted by gfied 19:03 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (4)

Lady, you CRAAAZY!

thanks, but no thanks.

Jaco, Jaco, Jaco, why must thou make such a poor first impression?

Allow me to explain.

The day couldn't have started more "according to plan". We woke up at the crack of dawn (which in Costa Rica is 5am) to howling monkeys, a gently rising sun and a breath of refreshing cool night air. After packing up our bags, and downing a quick breakfast, we headed out to wait for the 6am bus which was to take us to the ferry in Paqueras, on which we would cross over to Puntarenas, where we would hop onto another bus headed for Jaco. We anticipated an 8 hour journey (which, after 5 days of relaxation on the beautiful coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, neither of us were looking forward to) which turned out to be a pleasantly surprising 6 hour trip, despite a flat tire on the bus. We arrived in Jaco and it was HOT!!! We walked across town to the hostel where we had made a reservation on the internet and by the time we arrived, we were dripping in sweat and could barely think straight. The incredibly welcoming and seemingly friendly owners of the house, who really seemed to try to nurture a peace and love environment, suggested we take a dip in the pool to cool off, and that’s exactly what we did. It felt AMAZING! Now we needed to deal with our second primal need: hunger! Having read up on a few restaurants in town (although anything would - and did, satisfy us at that moment) we put on some dry clothes and asked for the key to our room. That's where things got UGL-AY! The hostel owners were surprised to hear the request, informed us that there was no lock or key but to rest assured because "everything is soooooo safe here" and they "leave their laptops lying around all day" and "we really need to learn to trust people more" and "this is a new system they're implementing, where the hostel is a shared house where there are only open doors" and that "they don't let people stay here if they don't get a good feeling about them so the people in the house are completely trustworthy as well" (…right…thank you Miss Cleo) and "they've had the hostel for 4 years and nothing has ever gone missing", but that they "really do understand where we're coming from because their atv got stolen from right in front of their house" (soooo…what point are you making exactly???). Anyways, this went on for a little while until they offered to put up a lock so that we could lock the room with our own padlock. Naturally, the padlock didn't fit and so as a replacement they offered us a luggage lock. Yes, exactly like the kind you can pick with a bobby pin. We finally told them that we weren’t comfortable leaving our stuff lying around unprotected and that we would find another place to sleep. Now the guy was huffing and puffing about how ridiculous this whole situation was, taking personal offense to us not wanting to leave our belongings lying around his house (to which I saw no door) as the lady ignorantly responded with "do you think that you'll get a key at another hostel?" Not sure whether to laugh or cry for humanity, we told her we would take that risk, turned around and walked away. We quickly found an awesome hostel where our doors lock, the front door locks and the owner doesn't look at us that were crazy for having such…..hmmm… high security expectations. The next few days we'll be chilling around Jaco and on the beach and visiting Parque Nacional Carara, hoping to see the beautiful Scarlett Macaw!
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Posted by gfied 21:22 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (1)

Chasin' Waterfalls!

A few days ago, when we went to visit Volcan Poas, it was raining. Hard. We thought about waiting out the rain and then stubbornly decided that we weren`t afraid of the rain and that we were way more hard-core than waiting it out, like the others..pshh. Our attempt at hard-core-ness (if you can call it that) ended less hardcore than it did just plain foolish. We were cold and wet, and there was little to be seen and few photos to be taken. After our first failed attempt at being tougher than the rest, we decided to redeem ourselves with a 7km hike to La Catarata Rio Fortuna.Thats 7km uphill by the way. We made it, and it was worth it. Hard-core-ness reinstated! We enjoyed a delicious mango at the base of the waterfall, had an unpleasant experience with a less than alive monkey (were not ready to talk about it yet), relaxed for a little while and headed back. We returned to the small town of La Fortuna in the afternoon, grabbed a quick bit to eat at a local soda (disappointing), and headed out for our second adventure of the day: a hike up Volcan Arenal. Unfortunately the day was cloudy and so it was difficult to see the volcano in its entirety (well, actually, it was not possible to see much of it at all) but the hike was with a guide who was informative, and besides, you can`t go to La Fortuna and not hike up the volcano. After such a long day of hiking, our muscles were starting to complain. Luckily for us, the tour ended with a 3 hour break at Baldi Hot Springs which was a delightful and well deserved gift to our muscles and ourselves. An hour into our hot springs experience, we, and our muscles, had relaxed and were ready for some proper rest. We slept like babies.

The next day we were on our way to Monteverde! We arrived, found a nice, cheap hostel, ate at the soda just up the street (which happens to be owned by the mother of the woman who owns the hostel we are staying at and was much better than our last soda experience) and arranged activities for tomorrow. In the process of doing this we were once again reminded of the hospitality and kindness of Costa Rican people. We realized that our initial plans might be compromised but the lack of public transportation on Sundays. In an effort to help us not pay ridiculous amounts for a taxi, the keeper of the hostel we are staying at called around and arranged for 5 other people in the area to go to the same place we were going to, to share a taxi with us. We heard her calling cab companies and arranging a fair price for us in the afternoon. WE LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

Later we took a tour of the Don Juan coffee plantation, met Don Juan himself, learned about the production process of coffee and finally tasted some delicious coffee. I don`t ever take my coffee black, but for the sake of experiencing good coffee for what it is, I did, and I couldn`t get enough!

After some groceries and some dinner, we`re finally ready for bed and a big day tomorrow!

Stay tuned!

Pura Vida
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Posted by gfied 20:58 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (2)

Volcan Poás

volcaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaano

WOW Costa Ricans are some seriously friendly and helpful people.

This morning while looking for a bus to take us to see Poas, we oriented ourselves at a signless bus terminal and after about 5 seconds of blank stares and turning around in circles, a man having his morning coffee called after us and all but took us by the hand to where we needed to wait.
We spent the day hiking around Poas and getting drenched head to toe and in the evening had some supper and caught the bus to Sarchi. No more familiar with the bus station in the evening, helpful locals helped us orient ourselves. 45 minutes later the people on the bus told us where to get off, so we got off. We barely had time to put on our packs when we heard: "are you lost?" The kind man directed us straight to the taxi stand where we caught a cab to the hostel we are at now, about to lie down for sleep... with the "bugs of may" (read 1 inch red beetles).

Posted by gfied 19:26 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Alajuela

A few delays later...WE´RE FINALLY IN COSTA RICA!

It's nice being enwrapped by a blanket of heat and humidity after the long winter. There is a nice breeze that makes the 28C completely bearable, even pleasant!

We arrived in Costa Rica in the early afternoon and took a quick taxi ride to Alajuela, a small town not far from the airport. The town is very clean, and the people very friendly. After unloading our bags at a hostel, we grabbed a bite to eat at a nice (albeit touristy) tex-mex kinda place. The food was great and we were soon receiving advice from smiling locals about how to proceed seeing the sights around (we´re still a bit confused and trying to figure out the best way possible).

A bit of grocery shopping, and some cold showers later, were ready for some soup and some sleep!!!

Its been a loooong 24h.

It´ll be a gooooood sleep!

Till later!

Pura Vida

Posted by gfied 16:50 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

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