Costa lotta Rica's, Costa Rica

Trip Start May 31, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Monday, August 15, 2011

Today was my 4 R's day, Ross', Rest, Relaxation & Rejuvenation day. Because of the monkey drama I was not able to hike the volcano so while Jo, Andy & Chris set off nice and early I stayed at the finca. Spent a couple of hours writing and enjoying the amazing view from the finca. Wasted the afternoon away watching a bloody awful movie, Piranha 3d, which I can highly recommend if you want to see how bad a movie can be! Chilled in hammocks and waited for the guys to return. Once they got back they told me about the hike and then we went out for dinner and hung around the finca in the evening.

As it is Sunday there was only one bus at 5am, which we needed to catch to get the boat off of the island. We were up at 4am, caught the bus, then the boat, taxi and finally a bus back to San Juan Del Sur arriving early at 10am. Feeling refreshed from Ometepe, although a little scarred we were happy to visit San Juan for one last night to say goodbye to our friends. Spent the afternoon with them at their hostel, where we had previously stayed and then in the evening went to a hostel called 'The Naked Tiger' it is a seriously cool new hostel which is a mansion up on top of a hill over looking the town and the ocean. After our evening at 'The Naked Tiger' we went back to our old hostel to drink into the early hours before saying a couple of goodbyes to Lyle & Mel bringing an end to our time traveling together. We didn't however have to say the G word to Courtney who we had some how convinced throughout the day to come to Costa Rica with us and attack a tough 2 day hike to the highest point in Costa Rica a top of Mount Chirripo in the Chirripo national park.

Bags packed and ready to go we left San Juan catching a couple of buses to the border bringing an end to a great time in Nicaragua, even with multiple failed outings, multiple day hangovers and multiple monkey bite scars! Nicaragua has been awesome. We crossed the border into Costa Rica and caught a 6hr bus to the capital San Jose. Due to the fact that you can buy pretty much any prescription drug over the counter for a mere pittance long bus journeys are now quite pleasant with the aid of Valium and Zanex, knocking yourself out as not to bore yourself with the long and tedious bus journeys which occur ever so often when traveling. Arriving in San Jose dopey and a little slurry we checked into a hostel for the night.

Today the 5 of us are heading to Parque national Chirripo to organize our hike to the summit of Cerro Chirripo which is Costa Rica' highest mountain. Jo attempts to wake up Courtney but its an epic failure, Jo, Andy & Chris head to the bus station to catch the 10am bus with me waiting for Courtney to get her shit together. We arrive at the station to find Chris Patiently waiting and he explains that Jo & Andy have gone ahead. Courtney then realizes that in her disorganization she had left her walking shoes at the hostel so we had to cab it back which took 10 times longer than it should of because of the old and senile, incompetent driver who didn't seem to know the way around his own city! Grabbed the shoes and went for breakfast deciding to get a later bus. Arrived in the town of San Gerrado De Rivas where we would be spending the night before an early start on our hike. Luckily we bumped into Jo & Andy who then explained everything we needed to know  to organize ourselves for the next day. The ranger station had closed 5 mins before we arrived and we needed to start early in the morning.

Wake up at 6am and left for the ranger station to buy our permits for the hike. Got a ride up to the start point which was 2km out of the village and began to walk at 7:30am, Right away I could tell this was going to be a hard and strenuous 2 day hike as it quickly became a steep climb. Today we had to make the 14km mark as there was a housing there for the hikers to spend the evening, cook dinner, rest and sleep before an early start for the hike to the summit. The hike today was beautiful, Starting off at an elevation of 1520m and finishing at 3400m climbing nearly 2km in altitude. Starting off in some lovely jungle which then turned to a beautiful mixture of tropical lush greens in the cloud rain-forest and then ending above all of it on a rocky and dry , cooler mountainous scape. At times I know we thought why the hell are we doing this as it was definitely not going to be an easy stroll to the top. Carrying heavy packs and sweating profusely all the way to base camp we got there at 2pm, taking 6.5hrs. Arriving tired and hungry we cooked a simple dinner of pasta, sauce, cheese and tuna then rested for the evening.

Today I really felt the irony, our lowest part of the day was when we were at our highest and our highest part of the day when we were at our lowest! Let me explain. Started off waking up at 3am and leaving base camp at 3:30am for the 6km final hike to the summit of Cerro Chirripo, this took 2.25hrs and was possibly some of the most difficult hiking I've done. I don't have the slightest clue why, but we were under the impression it was going to be a fairly easy flat walk to the top with only 400m of ascent being spread out over 6km. This was not the case, we were walking in the pitch black on slippy rocks in the freezing cold with only one good torch between the 5 of us. Moral started to get pretty low at times but we had to carry on, you don't come this far not to finish what you started. Courtney having never been on a single hike before and spending the last 3 weeks partying hard was especially feeling down about it but she persisted and struggled and we finally reached the summit after a tough scramble to the top at 5:45am. Spending about 30 mins on top of Costa Rica we wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags as the bitterly cold winds chilled us to the bone and waited hoping for a beautiful sunrise. A little disappointed that it never came due to thick fog we left the top and hiked the 6km back to base camp for breakfast. Had brekkie and then left base camp for the 14km walk back down to the start of the trail. Walking back down was hard on the knees but a pleasure compared to yesterdays hiking and this mornings. We barely stopped for breaks and had time to take in our beautiful surroundings observing monkeys for a while and even getting close to a snake. This took 5.5hrs, we then walked an extra 2km back to the village arriving at 3pm. Today in the past 12hrs we had walked a total of 28km, climbing 400m to an altitude of 3820m and then descending 2.5km back to the village. With a total of 42km round trip including a large ascent and decent in the past 30 or so hours we were all incredibly happy and proud to have achieved it, hence the irony of being on such a high at our lowest point! Celebrating with a couple of beers after being sober 3 days (the longest since this trip began) Me, Chris & Courtney caught a bus back to San Jose, leaving Jo & Andy to make their way to Panama.

The intention was to catch an 11pm night bus to Panama City, Panama. After arriving at the ticket office and being told the bus was full and the ticket price was twice what we had read in 'The Lonely Planet book of lies' we were a little pissed off and booked it for tomorrow night. Having spent several days here a little over 3yrs ago I didn't remember it being a very interesting place and didn't really want to spend 2 days here. Well this time it was different we spent the afternoon wandering around the city and I actually had a really enjoyable day which including the following things:
- Being taught to play a strange game, created by an old chap in a park.
- Being given directions by a friendly clown with a megaphone.
- Bumping into a group of midgets handing out flyer's dressed as bumblebees.
- Eating the most tasty baked food from some of the many great bakeries.
- Even recognizing an unfortunate disabled street beggar from my last trip to the city 3 yrs ago.
The only thing that sucked about the day was the fact that prices here have risen, a lot, with some things costing 3 times as much as before due to the tourist boom.

Much the same as yesterday. Wandered around the city taking things in, enjoying the atmosphere and rested at the hostel until our departure at 11pm. It is however worth mentioning dinner time as it was quite funny. Having an hour and a half to kill before we needed to leave for the bus station we decided to go and grab some comforting fast food ahead of the 15hr journey. This was all rather normal until after we'd eaten at Burger King, still with an hour to go I came up with the disgusting but great idea of having a full moon fast food fiesta where we would visit all 5 of the big chains! Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, McDonald's and finally KFC where within the hour we had ordered a food item at each and sat in to dine before moving on the the next greasy pit. I don't know where this inspiration came from but certainly felt that any calories we had burnt in the past few days hiking were now securely back in our bellies. Feeling gross we left  for the bus. Next stop Panama, our final country to visit on the trip, number 8 of 8.

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Danielle Nobre on

Rossy..... Shave your face please. From your stylist xxx

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