Final thoughts about Nicaragua

Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
Trip End Jul 20, 2020

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, October 8, 2004

I savored my last day in Nica and did nothing special. I had spaghetti and salad for lunch (did i mentioned that i can't see any gallo pinto anymore) but forgot to have my last Nica beer such as a good Victoria, Bufalo or Brahva. Oh well.... But i did buy some chili smoked cheese balls (they are soft and smoked). The boat left Granada at 3PM and it was rather crowded. I left the hostel with 5 other people and we hang out together on the boat. The best good bye present i could get was an incredible sunset ... the best i had seen in a while. This was another reason why i wanted to take the boat.... to see the sunset reflections in Lake Nicaragua. The colors were marvelous from light yellow to bright orange to dark orange and interspersed with purple and blue clouds. The sun disappearing into Lake Nicaragua, a fiery blood orange color.....the show went on for about 30 minutes. My last glorious sunset in Nicargua.

We crossed in Costa Rica on Tuesday morning and noticed right away the big difference. It was clean with no trash lying in the streets and solid houses with carefully maintained gardens. As in Nicargua, the majority of houses is built in bungalow style and colorfully painted in light pinks, yellows, orange or blues. The land is cultivated extensively and efficiently and cattle farming seems to be a major part of agriculture in this region and throughout Costa Rica.

Now I am in La Fortuna which is a very touristy place with tour operators in every corner and hawkers swarming around the bus stations to attack innocent tourists with brochures and hotel offerings. This is quite a culture shock coming from Nicargua. Everything is geared towards tourism here and one has to spend major bucks in order to see most of the attractions. From La Fortuna, we toured the Volcano Arenal area and admired the lava flows at night. The tour started at 3 PM with a trek through the forest where we saw spider and howler monkeys. Then, we went to the Arenal observatory where we could see meager lava sprouts. Unfortunately, it was rather cloudy and the top of the volcano was hiding behind the clouds. After that, we went to Baldi Hot Springs where we soaked our lazy bones for more than 2 hours in different heated pools. The best part was viewing the volcano eruptions at 9PM. From the observation spot at the Hot Springs, we got a pretty good view of the lava coming down the volcano. The next day, I went back to the Nicarguan border for a trip into Cano Negro Reserve. There we got to see a variety of birds such as egrets, kingfishers,glossy Ibis, black-necked stilt, neotropical cormorants, American anhinga, northern jacana, wood stork, white Ibis, black-bellied tree duck, green backed heron, and roseate spoonbill. But the highlight were two sloths, a three toed and a two toed one and three caimans.

Today, I left for Sanata Elena and Monteverde. This was a bus/boat/bus trip taking about 3hours. The waters of Lake Arenal seem to be pretty clean and temperatures were inviting for a swim. In Santa Elena, I booked a canopy tour and had the time of my life. The tour included 16 platforms and cables of different lengths and velocities, a Tarzan swing and a rappel. The cost was $30, less than some of the other companies charge and we were only three people, so it was almost like a private party tour.
Tomorrow, I will visit the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
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