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.


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.
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