Well my holiday is all but over, sad to say. I am back in San Jose and about to go to bed to rest in preparedness for my last full day in Costa Rica tomorrow. So this will be my last post, and as such I might as well write down my favourite things over the last two months. Montezuma was easily my favourite place, especially first time round, but its a great town to be anytime. Waking up with a view of the enormous Volcan Arenal outside my room was pretty awesome too, as was seeing a tarantula in the wild having an afternoon stroll.
The wildlife in Costa Rica is amazing, and even though I’m not really into bird watching, some of the flying critters here are pretty stunning to see. My favourite place in Panama was Isla Taboga just outside Panama City, and if ever I win the lottery there is a huge old vacant hotel there I might just enquire about. The Senderos Los Quetzales walk from Boquete in Panama was easily the most strenuous day of my holiday, and the scenery was stunning, although Im not convinced my photos will really do the forest there much justice, sadly.
I have been in Montezuma for 3 days now and it is definitely my favourite spot in Costa Rica, and the place that will stay in my memory the longest. My Happy Place on planet Earth, without a doubt! It was a bit weird the first afternoon/evening I got here, as it was so different from the first time I stayed here. I had met some great people first time around and it was sunny, hot and almost cloudless. This time it was grey, rainy and quiet, and on the first day I went to the waterfall and found it was so swollen with rainwater, it had turned a muddy brown and was far too dangerous to swim in.
But things brightened up in the afternoon, more people came and its been nice ever since. Went back to the waterfall today as the water levels had drastically subsided after a couple of days without rain, and spent the afternoon there with some Quebecians and a German which made a pleasant change from the loud fat English mingers who had been in the hostel the day before. I was going to return to San Jose tomorrow afternoon, but now I`m thinking I might stay and go back very early on Tuesday morning instead! I did my good deed for the day today as well by the way, and rescued a young lass who had collapsed from the heat on the beach. This means I can do something bad tonight and my karma will be just fine…..I have a few ideas in mind, but seeing as alsorts read this…..
Well my plans went a bit awry, because having stayed overnight in David, I found out that to go to Manuel Antonio I had to go all the way to San Jose and then double back as there is no direct route! And can I be arsed to do that? I think not. Instead I have spent two nights in San Jose (had to watch the European Champions League Final, hence the extra night!) and today Im going to head off to Montezuma to chill out for my last long weekend before home time.
I have exactly one week left but I shall get back to San Jose on Tuesday morning to make sure I have no mishaps in getting to the airport for my Thursday flight. Not that there is an awful lot left to do in San Jose, but I get to see my Tica friend again before I go. Last night turned out to be a good one, and I experimented with Costa Rican casino life. In the UK all you get is free sarnies, maybe some tea or coffee. Here they bring you plates of hot food, cigarettes and any alcoholic drink you care to sample.
Course, I don’t really drink as such but they brought me a beer anyway, and next thing you know I had gone through 10 of the buggers, was really pissed, loud and kept screaming when I lost, with the occasional tumble off of my stool….. In the end I lost 50 dollars, but then found 3 dollars in loose change, got a few chips and won the lot back with interest. In the UK, this is where I stop. When Im pissed though, this is where I decide to start putting it all down in big columns on a handful of numbers, and my 50 dollars were separated from me once again. Such is life!
Went to Puerto Viejo in the end, and it was a good choice even if I say so myself! The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is mostly populated by West Indians brought over here to tend banana plantations by the British (the Spanish settled most of Latin America, but the Brits grabbed themselves most of the Caribbean from Belize through Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica largely for piracy purposes), and it’s really just a little Jamaica here. Rastas, reefers and reggae all in plentiful quantity and the place is so chilled out. I’ll be here till Friday at least, maybe more depending on money – there’s no cash point here. My hotel is quite expensive (’17 – so less than a tenner!) but is very clean, large and comfy, with the ever essential hammock in the courtyard!
Very friendly German hosts with coke on tap and a trio of travellers from Switzerland to chat to. Two of them, girls from the German side, came down with me from San Jose the hard way having also missed the direct bus…..a long and pointless multi bus diversion through Limon ensued! As for the Costa Rica experience so far – the food is a bit bland (chicken with rice and beans is the national dish)but the scenery is spectacular and the wildlife at least on a par with Mexico, and the best parks are yet to come.
The people are very friendly too, and outside San Jose you feel very safe and could go out without even needing to lock your door. You need to keep an eye on your things in San Jose though, I’ve met enough tourist victims who have had small bags and belongings pilfered, mainly at bus stations. The beaches are good too, although the best is yet to come for me…Bocas del Toro just across the border in Panama!
Well didn’t make it to Poas yesterday cos I kinda overslept. But that turned out to be a good thing because the people from the hostel who did go saw nothing because of the clouds that covered the crater. But I made it today, and it was one of the most spectacular sites I have ever seen. Although for the first couple of hours we thought we were in for the same disappointing cloud cover, the sun came out and the mists cleared and a huge smoking crater came into view, belching streams of thick yellow smoke into the air.
And bang in the middle was a small luminous green lake….was really like a landscape from another planet. The forests surrounding the crater gave a great backdrop and I reckon I’ve snapped some of my best photos ever! Anyway, I’m now pretty hungry, and I’m off to find a Chinese. Then I have to decide whether I fancy a detour to Cuba for a few days, or go straight to Puerto Viejo on my way to Panama.