Alrighty, I’ve been traveling for a month now so I guess it’s about time to get my world-renowned travel blog going again. Welcome back readers, I know how long you’ve been waiting! This trip begins in Costa Rica, known for its tropical rainforests, vibrant wildlife, and dazzling beaches!
So I started by flying into the capital of Costa Rica, the relatively uninteresting city of San Jose. I was too paranoid to bring my camera out the first afternoon, but the downtown area seemed like a safe enough place, mostly due to the presence of lots of police officers with rifles. I found a small stakes poker game at a bar/casino, donked off 50 bucks, bought some ice cream and called it a night. San Jose isn’t the type of place you want to stay for long so the next morning I took the bus out to a place on the coast called Puerto Viejo, which is supposed to have a more laid back, reggae type vibe, being that it's on the Caribbean coast. I got in late afternoon and couldn’t seem to find any guesthouses that had rooms available, so I ended up in a dingy little dorm room that smelled like dirty clothes and sweat and had a serious lack of fans. As I had suspected it was inhabited by some surfer hippy types, who were nice enough people, except for the girl in the bed across from me, who stole my fan when she went to bed. I reclaimed it of course when I woke up at 3am covered in sweat.
The next morning I found a halfway decent room, (with my very own fan!) rented a bike, and set out to see what was around. About 10 miles away was supposed to be a nice beach with some jungle trails around, so I figured that would be a good place to start. About 20 minutes in, it started to rain, which continued all the way until I got the beach. I took refuge in a little café, waited over an hour for the skies to clear and set out to look for these jungle trails. 10 minutes later it was raining again and the trails were all mud, so I didn’t make it too far. I ended up in a beach bar to wait out the rain, unsuccessfully, then slogged it back home in a heavy drizzle. Hmm. I had read that it was dry season in January, but apparently this did not pertain to the Caribbean coast! The next day it rained the entire day. And the next. And then I got outta there… to where of all places… The rainforest!
A day of buses later I was in Monteverde, which I guess is more of a cloud forest than a rainforest (don’t ask me the difference), and home to lots of touristy type activities: zip lines, atv’s, rope bridges, you name it! I met a Swiss dude on the bus and we found a hotel room to split, which might sound weird to some people, but costa rica is actually pretty damn expensive and it’s nice to help bring the costs down. Anyway, we were thinking of doing the ziplines, but it was raining sideways the next morning, so that was out. At this point I decided I better find a poncho, so I walked up to the big supermarket in town. They didn’t have ponchos, but they did have crappy little umbrellas, so I picked one up. I got to the register… $15. What? I'm pretty sure the cashier just made up a number a she thought I would pay, because I know for sure that no local is paying $15 for a POS umbrella. Anyway...
We were hoping to just find a good place to do some hiking, which you wouldn’t think would be difficult as we were in a freaking cloud forest, but apparently there were almost no trails around. The only thing that loosely fit our description was a place called the La Bosque de los ninos, which is a little nature preserve with maybe a mile of trail. We got there, paid our $12 to get in (apparently to maintain this crappy trail) and set off. We saw 3 different types of fascinating animals on the hike: mosquitos, ants, and flies. It was an amazing place!
The next day, shockingly, it was raining again, and we weren’t really feeling the Monteverde vibe. I don't think I took a single photo in Monteverde, because there was literally nothing interesting about the place photography wise. No local people (except behind the cash registers) no interesting culture, no animals, etc. So it was off to a place called La Fortuna which sit right beneath the Arenal volcano. I was hoping to hike it, but apparently it’s not allowed. We liked this place a bit more, as it had some decent hiking (for a price of course) a nice waterfall, and a little animal sanctuary where you can see some sloths, caimans, frogs, and a bunch of cool looking birds. I particularly enjoyed watching the sloths climbing through the trees. I feel like if I could choose an animal to just hang around and watch football and have a few beers, it would definitely be a sloth.
The next night we bought some beers and candles and went to the natural hot springs to relax. So you’re basically just chilling in a warm river in the middle of the jungle, which is pretty cool. When it gets dark you light the candles and it illuminates all the steam emanating from the river, which gives a very mystical, surreal atmosphere. Now being that it is one of the only free things you can do in Costa Rica, about 90,000 people showed up accordingly in the next couple hours, leaving hardly anywhere to sit or stand. So we took that as our cue to head on out. And that would be my last night in Costa Rica!
I originally planned on staying longer and hitting the beaches on the west coast, but to be honest I didn’t really like Costa Rica all that much. I mean it does have some beautiful scenery, but it’s just so damn touristy! Not to mention pricey. I think out of all the countries I’ve travelled to in the last few years Costa Rica is the most expensive (minus Australia). Plus it rained every single day I was there. So being that I only have 10 weeks to travel (I know, I know, poor me), I decided I’d allocate more time to Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The next day I took a bus to the border, and it was off to the beaches of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua!