Costa Rica

Costa Rica

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  • Day474

    Pura Vida is Costa Rica's catchphrase. Literally it means pure life, but it's basically Life is Good and it's well suited. People seem to enjoy life here, and who can blame them. If Nicaragua is the scruffy younger brother then Costa Rica is the good looking sibling in the fancy suit. The standard of living is much higher here, and people have time & money to enjoy life a lot more. It's a nice change, if a little americanised but we weren't complaining when we got a proper fresh baguette from Walmart and not a long, round loaf.

    We headed up into the hills to Lake Arenal, and it's utterly gorgeous scenery. It reminded us of driving around the Big Island on Hawaii, with winding little roads, brooks crashing through gullies, and everything dripping in tropical flora. The other thing we REALLY like about CR is its a lot safer than most of the other Central American countries, and we had no concerns wild camping at the edge of the lake for a couple of nights.

    The following day we tried to hike Cerro Chato, a big volcano next to the larger and active Volcano Arenal, but we couldn't go with the dog and rangers would stop you if they caught you. The big downside to CR is they want $10 per person just to walk on some trails, and the National Park wanted $15. On our 4th attempt we found some private land we could take Maya on and spent a couple of hours hiking through the luscious rainforest up to the lava field at the base of the volcano.

    Although it wasn't at all strenuous compared to the past few months we felt we definitely deserved a dunk in some hot pools. We parked up outside the 70 buck-a-head 5 star spa resort, then crossed the road and dunked directly in the 38C river that flowed through a series of rustic pools. Once I grabbed a couple of cold beers from the fridge this was Pura Vida indeed!!
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  • Day143

    And so now I find myself in Costa Rica, having taken the most lax border crossing in the world. The border has local people riding bicycles up and down and families taking their children across. The only people who go into the immigration offices are the tourists.

    But anyway, finding myself in Costa Rica is pretty good because I've always wanted to come here.

    First stop on the map is Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean coast. The town has a Jamaican/ Caribbean vibe to it and is on the beach but also in the jungle. In a way it reminds me a lot of Thailand.

    Tom and I arrived at around 3pm and had a total mind fuck seeing as we had gained another hour (now 7 hours behind the U.K.). We are staying at the Selina's here which I like a lot less than the one we stayed at in Bocas. We chilled for a bit and I got into a political debate with this American guy by the poor for about an hour or so. Them Tom and I walked into town and had a big faff over trying to get money out of the cash machine. We went to the supermarket and nearly had a heart attack when we spent $14 on literally not much food at all. CR is expensive!

    I ended going to bed quite early because gaining the hour had really played with my body clock (so help me for when I come back to England). On a separate side note to all my loyal, avid readers - I've finally booked my flight back to London on 13th September from Varadero in Cuba. 🙌🏼

    The next day we got up early for yoga which I really enjoyed. We then rented bikes with no brakes - to make them stop you had to cycle backwards which was not that fun to get used to. We cycled to Punta Uva which is one of the nicest beaches in the area. We sunbathed until it became overcast and then slept until it started to rain and then we had to cycle back to the hostel. It then continued to rain pretty much all afternoon and I had to walk 1km in the rain with my big backpack to my new hostel which I prefer a lot more. The rainy season here is pretty full on and stops everything!

    In my new hostel I spent the next day just chilling until around midday when it was time to speak to Josh. We've barely spoken since he left Colombia just due to being busy and having no wifi in the San Blas.

    In the afternoon I went on a run to Playa Cocles. I haven't put on a pair of running shoes in an embarrassingly long time (since March) but have thought it's time to have a bit of a detox and get back on the fitness wagon. I ran 8.45km and it was okay until it was time to turn back and then it was a bit of a struggle. I stopped along the way to get water and OJ and also to take some photos of the beaches - cus they were so pretty and the sun was shining.

    When I finished I went and lay on the beach for a bit and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon sun. I then went to the supermarket and got some food for dinner. I made a healthy dinner of quinoa and brown rice with parsley, pepper, onion, sweet corn and chickpeas which was really delicious. I had a pretty quiet evening because I've got to get up at around 6am tomorrow to get the bus to San José and then onto Manuel Antonio.
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  • Day148

    Another day, another bus. Or two in fact. 10 hours of travelling later I arrived in Manuel Antonio which is on the Pacific coast, the other side of Costa Rica. It sure does rain a lot in CR and arriving in Manuel Antonio was no exception!

    I was lucky to meet a nice English couple on my journey over, Georgia and Dan, and we got to Selina's hostel together. We had a 10 person room to ourselves which was luxury. The first night I think we all went to bed before 9 o'clock, just worn out from the day's travel.

    The next day we went down to the beach in the morning because it was sunny. It didn't take too long for the overcast to come though, and after we headed back and chilled. I went on another run - this time shorter than the last but there were lots of hills and some very yappy dogs.

    The day after we went to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio which was the reason for coming all the way down here. We were so lucky as we saw lots of monkeys, some sloths, snakes, frogs, raccoons, humming birds and loads of other wildlife! On the way out we saw a giant sloth with its baby in a tree, really close up. It was a really hot day and finally - sun - so we went back to the pool and sunbathed. In the evening we had some drinks and played cards. I had a bit too much to drink and ended up puking on my bed (oops - but I blame the disgusting mixer we were drinking).

    The next day I got up real early to be on the bus for San Jose. So excited to see my mum and sister and travel with them for two weeks!
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  • Day151

    We were picked up early at 6am to begin our two week tour of Costa Rica. Tortuguero, in the north on the Caribbean coast up first. This place is famous for green turtles nesting on the beach.

    We were lucky one night to see them! Although it was the beginning of the season so we only saw one, we saw a massive turtle laying its eggs and then covering them up with the sand. I was surprised at how big and powerful the turtle was, as when we were standing behind it the turtle would hurl sand at you. It was a really cool experience though.

    The place we were staying in was called Evergreen Lodge and was right in the middle of the rainforest. We had monkeys and other wildlife right on our doorstep and saw them up close. Mum and Rosy were freaking out because I saw a big frog in our room.

    We went on a boat tour of the national park one day and were lucky to see all sorts of other wildlife including snakes, cayman, lizards (one known as the 'Jesus Christ' lizard because it can walk on water for about 6-7 metres), sloths, birds and loads more.

    We also went on a kayak tour of the lake around our lodge which was fun but my arms started to hurt after a while and it was difficult to row completely straight! We had a few days of rain but also a good day of hot sun so chilled by the pool and read my book.

    It's been a great start to the holiday, with lots of wildlife. Next stop is the Arenal Volcano in the middle of Costa Rica.
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  • Day155

    Arenal (La Fortuna - but we were way out of town) was loads of fun. For starters we were staying in a spa hotel that was really nice.

    The first day we went to see the hanging bridges in the rainforest. The suspension bridges themselves were cool (very high and moved around a lot) and the wildlife was more of the same we've seen elsewhere in CR - sloths, monkeys, snakes, etc which is always good to see!

    We also did a walk around the volcano which was good. The first time it erupted was in 1968 and last time in 2010, making it pretty active! You aren't allowed to climb the volcano but you can walk around it.

    After a lot of walking we then went to Tabacon hot springs which are the nicest hot springs I think I've ever been to. We also had a buffet dinner which was to die for, but I filled my plate to the brim and ended up having four different types of meat and lots of the little desserts. I went to bed at 8.30pm with the biggest food coma.

    The next day we had a chilled day of no activities so spent the day by the pool and also at the gym. It was nice to have a day where we just enjoyed the hotel because it's so fancy and even has a pool bar where you can eat sushi in the swimming pool.

    We're off on a boat to Monteverde tomorrow. Already halfway through Mum and Rosy's holiday, and two weeks into my time in Costa Rica - time goes way too quickly but it's been great so far and we've got more good stuff to look forward to including the cloud rainforest and five days on the beach in Guancaste.
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  • Day156

    Arriving in Monteverde via boat the first thing we wanted to do was the longest zip line in South/ Central America. At first I didn't think it was as good as the ziplining that I did in Peru, because there they let you go upside down and they wouldn't here, but actually after doing a few it was really cool! You zip line right over the canopy of the cloudforest and for much longer than in Peru. The views are amazing and totally worth it.

    The next day we did two more walking tours of cloud forests and we saw more wildlife but it is starting to feel a bit samey and I'm getting to the end of them. We did however see a quetzal which is a rare bird and the symbol of Guatemala which was pretty cool! And lots of hummingbirds and an owl.

    The hotel we were staying in was another really nice one, although once again a bit far out of town. They had the nicest food ever, amazing views over the Pacific and a jacuzzi!

    Now we're off for five days at the beach on the Pacific coast in Guancaste. I'm really looking forward to it. It's cold and rainy in Monteverde and I'm starting to lose my tan. Next up is Potrero before heading crossing los frontieres en Nicaragua! Pura vida!
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  • Day160

    After a pounding ear infection, a flat tyre, an amazing chocolate chip muffin 🤤 and SIX hours of driving only 100km we f i n a l l y made it to Playa Potrero which is on the Pacific coast in Guancaste.

    Guancaste is the province in the north at the border with Nicaragua and is known for having the best beaches in Costa Rica.

    One of first our full day we walked to Playa Flamingo - called that because of the 'pink' sand on the beach. This was a huge anticlimax. The sand might have had a pink tinge to it but I'm not even sure if I really did or I was pretending it did to justify the 45min walk there. We ate at Coco Loco which is right on the beach and does amazing coconut cocktails. Gracias.

    In the evening there was an amazing sunset on the beach with a glass of wine. The sky turned purple it was incredible.

    The second day was a pool/ food/ watching orange is the new black in the room, waiting for the rain to pass day and then another sunset - which all in all was pretty nice. I'm enjoying the chilled vibe here.

    We also did a catamaran sunset cruise where you could go snorkelling. The snorkelling wasn't amazing but we did see two turtles in the wild and we had a really nice day.

    On the last day we went to Playa Conchal which was the nicest beach by far. It was our last day together and we had a nice lunch and afternoon on the beach. In the evening we watched the final sunset and then had dinner at the sailing club on the beach. It was a really nice way to end another amazing holiday.

    We got up early the next day and I was dropped off in Liberia to catch the bus to the border town of Penas Blancas. It was really sad to say goodbye to mum and Rosy as we couldn't have had a better holiday in a nicer plan, but today essentially marks two months until I'm back in England so I've got to the make the most of my time left.
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  • Day470

    Before we headed out of Nicaragua and into expensive Costa Rica we had a few errands to run. First of was getting Maya seen by a vet as the wound her op a month ago was causing some problems. Fortunately it was just a simple clean up and antibiotics, but she was sedated and is now back in the cone of shame :( The other important task was to buy a few slabs of beer before the price doubles over the border!

    Border crossings with a van are tedious. We know how they work now so we expect a lot of unnecessary running around, but in 35+ C heat it is a tough day. Just getting out of Nicaragua tool us an hour and a half, but fortunately Costa Rica are a little more efficient and it took about the same to the more complicated import licence.

    We'd spotted a nice camp spot on iOverlander, the app which is like the bible to people like us, which was under an hour from the border. We couldn't believe what we found with a gorgeous beach in a sheltered bay complete with picnic tables and completely free, and in a country that's safe to wild camp - a far cry from having to stay at firestation carparks as a lot of people do in the countrys to the north.

    The next day we stopped off at a Walmart and it was a joy to buy a fresh & decent baguette, plus prices weren't as scary as we'd been lead to believe. A quick half an hour and we were back at the coast, this time in a lovely camp site just off the beach. The next day was spent tending to Elvis and his electric problems, which look like they were caused by a faulty amp meter rather than anything more serious (and expensive). We also had a new lawn installed - nice to get a little upgrade and hide some of the sand.
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  • Day81

    Was up early today, got a taxi to the airport in Quito. I flew to San Jose, Costa Rice via Panama. I caught a taxi to the hotel and met some of the people on the G adventures tour. I had a relaxed arvo before we had our first meeting for the tour. We headed for dinner after to a restaurant where I had a yummy beef meal. We then headed to a local pub where there was a big soccer game on between Costa Rica and Mexico. The crowd went absolutely crazy when Costa Rica scored a goal. It ended up being a tied game!Read more

  • Day82

    We left at 7am all piled into a bus to drive to La Fortuna. The bus was very comfortable and we had a nice stop for breakfast. We also stopped on the way to see a baby sloth that had been rescued. It was very cute!!
    We arrived at La Fortuna and checked in before heading to the adventure store to look at all their tours for the next day.
    We got a bus to the La Fortuna waterfall which was stunning! The water coming down was so strong it was hard to stand close to it. It was beautiful crystal clear water. We went out for dinner in town for tuna burgers before going to the best hostel I've ever seen. It had a massive bar area with a pool and blow up flamingos. I had a delicious piña colada and watched a few of the people ended up in the pool.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Costa Rica, Costa Rica, ኮስታ ሪካ, コスタリカ, 코스타리카, କୋଷ୍ଟା ରିକା, คอสตาริกา, ຄອສຕາລິກາ, កូស្តារីកា, Còsta Rica, Cósta Ríce, Cốt-xta Ri-ca, i-Costa Rica, Khosta Rikha, Kosita Lika, Kositarika, Kosita Rika, Kɔsitarika, Kosta Riika, Kostarika, Kosta Rika, Kɔsta Rika, Kostaríka, Kôsta Rîka, Kosta Rikà, Kosta Rikaa, Kosta Rika nutome, Kostariko, Kostaryka, Kwasta Rika, Orílẹ́ède Kuusita Ríkà, República de Costa Rica, كوستاريكا, کاستاریکا, کۆستاریکا, کوسٹا ریکا, קוסטה ריקה, Κόστα Ρίκα, Костарика, Коста Рика, Коста-Рика, Коста-Рыка, ཀོ་ས྄ཊ་རི་ཀ།, Կոստա-Ռիկա, კოსტა-რიკა, कोष्टारिका, कोस्टारिका, कोस्टारीका, કોસ્ટા રિકા, కోస్టారికా, ಕೊಸ್ಟಾ ರಿಕಾ, கோஸ்டாரிகா, കോസ്റ്ററിക്ക, কোস্টারিকা, ကော့စ်တာရီကာ, 哥斯达黎加

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