February - August 2017
  • Day160

    Potrero

    July 12, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    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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  • Day156

    Monteverde

    July 8, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    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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  • Day155

    Arenal

    July 7, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    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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  • Day151

    Tortuguero

    July 3, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    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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  • Day148

    Manuel Antonio

    June 30, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ 🌙 70 °F

    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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  • Day143

    Puerto Viejo

    June 25, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F

    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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  • Day138

    Bocas del Toro

    June 20, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    One 4x4 jeep, two taxis, two dominos, two buses and two boats later (and 12 hours) we finally arrived in Bocas Del Toro.

    The first place we were staying was Bambuda Lodge on Isla Solarte which has a slide into the sea. It was a really cool place and we spent the first day just chilling by the pool.

    The second and third day it rained for two days straight torrentially and we were stuck at the lodge (ironic because it was the hottest day of the year in London). We just played jenga and scrabble and drank. On the third day when it eventually stopped raining we moved over to Isla Colon which is the main island to Selina's. We went out for food and had the BEST tacos ever and a beer or two.

    That night Iz and I made dinner and just had a few drinks but nothing big because it was filthy Fridays the next day (and also Izzy's last day in Panama 😭).

    Filthy Fridays is a big bar crawl which basically every backpacker in Bocas goes to. You go to three bars which are on different islands. I won't go into too much detail but it was very messy. It was also really sad because half way through Iz and I had to say goodbye to each other because she had to go and get her flight to Panama City.

    I had such a nice time travelling with her, we really did have the holiday of a lifetime in the San Blas islands, and loads of fun in Bocas even despite the weather.

    The next day I was barely human so moved into a private room in an apartment on the other side of the island and watched Netflix and had no human interaction all day (much needed).

    The day after I met Tom and we got the shuttle to across the border into Costa Rica. I did Panama pretty quickly (two weeks in total) but it was time to leave because I had spent a sickening amount of money in 14 days (especially seeing as we did barely anything for a lot of it).

    I had an amazing time in Panama - especially in the San Blas which was a highlight of my life - but I'm going to have to be pretty frugal going forwards to try and balance myself out again financially.
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  • Day134

    San Blas Islands

    June 16, 2017, Caribbean Sea ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    The San Blas Islands, is an archipelago of over 365 islands located off the coast of Panama. The islands are owned by the indigenous Kuna people, who maintain autonomy over the islands.

    We spent 4 days sailing through them and it was heaven on earth. It’s just as good as any postcard – turquoise clear blue waters, white sand and an abundance of marine wildlife. This place is a little piece of paradise.

    We got there from Panama City and were picked up from our hostel at 5am in a 4×4. The drive took around 3 hours and went through the San Blas Hills which has beautiful views of the jungle but was like being on a rollercoaster and very bumpy.

    Once we arrived at the port, we were transferred onto a motorboat and taken to the islands. There is not a whole lot to do on the islands, and at first this was a bit jarring because we aren’t used to doing absolutely nothing. After a day or two though, we started to appreciate the beauty in the island’s simplicity and enjoy the little things.

    Every day was a mix of sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming, talking/ wondering about how the Kuna's live, and having barbecues on the beach with a beer or a rum.

    We stayed for four days and weather wise we were blessed with a little bit of everything. Two days of beautiful, carribean sun, followed by overcast skies and rain.

    It was without a doubt one of the highlights of my trip. I had such a good time with Izzy, and another guy we met Jethro. The San Blas ideas are literally heaven on earth - queue the Cher song.
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  • Day130

    Panama City

    June 12, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    Welcome to Miami. Panama City is a mini metropolis with a beautiful skyline, casinos, banks, American food chains - the works.

    When I arrived I was waiting a few days before Izzy got there. Because I didn't want to do too much exploring without her, I decided to take a few days of Spanish lessons in Obarrio (the new town). This was cool as it was a good chance for me to consolidate what I've already learnt over the last few months and for me to learn a bit more basic Spanish to get by.

    The day before Iz was meant to arrive I moved hostels to Casco Viejo which is the old town of Panama. It's really pretty and the hostel itself that I moved to was very social. I met some people and we played cards and then went out to the fish market where you can get ceviche for as little as $2. We drank in the hostel that night and I ended up missing my last Spanish leason but I went to bed at 3am.

    The next day I didn't do much until it was time to go and get Izzy from the airport. It was so nice when she arrived, as I haven't seen her since before I left. We had loads to catch up on and lots of great stuff to look forward to.

    On our first day together we went to the Amador Causeway, which takes you quite far out to be able to look back on the city and see the skyline. We walked along the causeway and then got a taxi to Ancon Hill where you are able to see the canal. In the afternoon we went for coffee in Casco Viejo and then went to Albrook mall to get some stuff before we went to the San Blas Islands the next day.

    Although we had to get up at 5am, we didn't sleep very well because the hostel we were staying in had a bar underneath it and we could hear the bass from our room.
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