Costa Rica - Pura Vida

Trip Start Mar 21, 2007
Trip End Dec 23, 2008

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Considering our original plans for Central America were to hit Belize, Guatemala & Costa Rica, finding ourselves in both Honduras & Nicaragua was not factored in to any schedule we have. I guess thatīs why very quickly we figured out that a schedule is a silly thing to have on a trip like this anyways. Our time in Honduras & Nicaragua, albeit brief, was really special and definitely some highlights so far, so weīre really glad they were en route.

Lenny & Catherine, another couple of Irish rat-race escapees, who we first met in Grenada showed up in San Juan so a debaucherous night of copious amounts of Nicaraguan rum ensued, finished off of course by a swim at 4am. Needless to say the appeal of doing the border crossing to Costa Rica the next morning got postponed another day as we nursed a very nasty hangover.

So we eventually packed our bags again and headed for the border after a brief enchanting encounter with Nicaragua. Itīs definitely a country of people who have been through an awful lot and now with their new president, Ortega, chumming up with Chavez and Cuba, Nicas are quite afraid that all the Americans looking for a better bargain than they can find in Costa Rica will look elsewhere to spend their dollars. I have no doubt that if I went back to San Juan del Sur in three years time it would be completely different.

Leaving the dry, parched Nicaraguan soil the lushness of Costa Rica which literally changes as you cross the border was a sensual treat. As green as any Irish landscape, albeit slightly more tropical, it was gorgeous to see the land dripping with life. A week later and about 32 inches of rain, my appetite for rain has changed slightly. So Costa Rica is the most expensive country weīve been in so far because theyīve managed to attract tourists for a lot longer than their more turbulent Central American neighbours. Is it worth it? Maybe, if all I was to see of Central America was Costa Rica, I would be pretty impressed but considering what Iīve already seen itīs not as an amazing experience as I thought it would be.

We headed straight for the Nicoya peninsula to look for more surf (nope, still didnīt make that barrel) and after a couple of nights in a relatively commercial Tamarindo (Cancun it ainīt, but wasnīt in a rush to stay either) we headed south to Mal País. Despite being Central Americaīs most expensive country, it officially has the worst roads. One 30km trip we had to make took over 2 hours, seriously!!

En route we hooked up with Scott & Alex, a Canadian couple from British Columbia, who we had lots of giggles with for the last week. The weather turned in to the equivalent of a month of Irish rain each night, so we had to get pretty creative with our leisure time. (Apologies for those of you who have busy, stressful lives at the mo, I feel your pain!) We stayed in this huge hostel in Santa Teresa, where for the first time in about two months we could flush toilet paper and have a hot shower. Itīs the little things you miss sometimes.

In between surfing some gnarly (cheers Scott!) waves, we rented ATVīs and took off for a hilarious day to Montezuma. Needless to say the boys need for speed and the dodgy roads were an entertaining combination. We hiked up a river to some beautiful waterfalls and then bumped in to Lenny & Catherine again in Montezuma.

So we hooked up with them again the next day (Champions League is very important on a round the world trip) and had a very productive afternoon of drinking beer, learning to juggle (Dave), learning new card games (Geneva) and giggling.
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