Costa Rica

Mar. 2nd, 2009 12:14 am
[personal profile] akarasuma
Welcome to part two of my Central America trip pictures, now featuring gorgeous Costa Rica.

San José
We walked around the city looking for the San Jose museum for hours. Turns out we were circling it and never noticed the sign in front of it that said MUSEUM, and also that they were closed on Mondays (of course our only day in SJ was a Monday). In Latin America the expression we would use would be ¡PLOP!



Plus our hostel sucked :(

From SJ we took a bus to La Fortuna, near the Arenal volcano. The bus trip itself is an adventure, as the sights on the way there are truly gorgeous.


They say Costa Rica is called the Switzerland of Central America. If so, Switzerland must be pretty ;)

La Fortuna

In La Fortuna we stayed at Arenal Backpackers, which was a great choice: the facilities are very nice, the staff was beyond helpful, and the best part: a great sight of the volcano.





Through them we booked a tour of the volcano and a visit to the Ecotermales Fortuna hot springs, both of which were awesome. Seriously, the Ecotermales were probably (along with the ziplining I'm about to tell you about) my favorite thing about the entire trip. The people there told us they're not really advertising or anything, but are going with word-of-mouth recommendation only. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.





We heard the other hot springs (Tabacón, maybe? I don't really know) are more crowded and not as nice. At this point, it had rained nonstop through or volcano hike, to the point we were told we got lucky we even got to see the volcano, so the hot springs were a nice way to relax afterwards.

See the gorgeous volcano behind me? Yeah, neither could we.

But then:

Lava, baby.

Also from the hostel we arranged for jeep-boat-jeep transportation to Monteverde.

Monteverde



There we did the Ranario (Frog Pond) and we ziplined over the cloud forest. Again, great experience. I was freaking out because the weather was iffy and heights aren't exactly my thing, but it was so worth it. I never, at any point, felt unsafe, and the experience (not to mention the views) was breathtaking.



We did our tour with SkyTrek, and again, highly recommend it to anyone who's interested. We stayed at Pension Santa Elena. If you can get a room with a private bathroom, you need to stay there. I can't imagine there being nicer, more helpful people running a hostel anywhere in the world. Without the private bathroom, it's really up to you because you have to run across the backyard, and man, it's cold in Monteverde. It's really really cheap, though.



We took the bus back to San José and then on to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, near the border with Panama.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca



A lovely beach town with a lot of surfer action. We stayed at the Hotel Pura Vida, and once more, have nothing but great things to say about it. The owner was amazing, and gave us several options for things to do in around the town; a lot of the tours he told us about sounded like great fun (including a visit to a turtle sanctuary, and a bike/snorkeling tour), but we chose to take surfing lessons. I wore my bruises proudly the rest of the trip.


And those are only the ones on my left arm. Not pictured: the ones on my right arm, abdomen and both knees. And I'm not one of those people who bruises easily. It was hardcore.



Awesome Thai restaurant in Puerto Viejo.

Believe me: Costa Rica is so awesome it now seems like a waste having only spent about a week there.

Next (and final) stop: Panama.

Date: 2009-03-02 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] justlikeyou.livejournal.com
Oooh, it looks pretty!
..Maybe I'll try traveling (in non-Asia) after I get back from Japan. Or during summer break or something, fly from the west coast down to there.

Date: 2009-03-03 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
It is very pretty. It's totally worth the visit :D

Date: 2009-03-02 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ibroketuesday.livejournal.com
I was there last June. I also spent a few days in Puerto Viejo, and the rest of the time up in the cloud forests. It's a great country to visit.

Date: 2009-03-03 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
June! That's when we were there, at the very beginning of June... I think we flew into San Jose on the 2nd or so. I loved Puerto Viejo, I wish we'd gotten to stay a bit longer *_*

Date: 2009-03-03 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ibroketuesday.livejournal.com
I loved Puerto Viejo too. We spent a lot of time just strolling around town, and it was great.

Date: 2009-03-03 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] likhor.livejournal.com
great pics...thanks

Date: 2009-03-03 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed them :)

Date: 2009-03-03 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loved.livejournal.com
Your pictures are amazing. I was oogling over them. It looks like you had a wonderful time and it makes me want to head out there as well. :) I love reading about peoples travels. I'm looking forward to the Panama trip now.

Date: 2009-03-06 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
You should. It's awesome, and it's really really cheap :D

I'll be posting Panama at some point before Sunday too :)

Date: 2009-03-06 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loved.livejournal.com
If you don't mind my asking, how much did it all cost? If you do mind my asking, ignore this and know I look forward to the Panama pictures. :)

Date: 2009-03-08 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
Well, it wasn't expensive at all... Including tours, meals at nice-ish restaurants and souvenirs, it was, generally speaking, about $40 a day, including hostels. The flight from Guatemala to San Jose and then from Panama city back to Guatemala was about $250, but we flew first class for reasons to this day we can't understand o_O

The ziplining day was a little more expensive, since the ziplining tour was... I can't remember, maybe $47? Still totally worth it, IMHO.

I wish I could give you more accurate numbers... I had our EVERY expense written in our itinerary, but believe me, I've looked everywhere and I can't find it. I'm sure I will the minute I start looking for something totally unrelated.

Date: 2009-03-08 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loved.livejournal.com
Oh wow! That is pretty cheap. I would pay that much to zipline. (I'd probably pay more because that's not something you can do all the time.) Haha. If you ever do find it, let me know. And if I start planning to travel there, would you mind my pestering for hostels/activities and names of other things? :)

Date: 2009-03-08 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
Not at all! I'd love to be of help :D

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