Green and serene

Trip Start Nov 08, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We have just done the most tranquil border crossing in the world. By boat. All you do is get your passport stamped, get on the boat, drift across the border looking at monkeys and birds and turtles and going about the same speed as a leisure cruise, and then get off at the other end to have your passport stamped. Piece of cake. Loved it.

Welcome to Costa Rica. This was going to be a different kind of latin america. They are quite well off so food and accommodation is expensive and their business is tourism (and coffee) so there is a well set up travel infrastructure. This means scheduled buses, hotels, restaurants, national parks, resorts and not feeling like you are going to be mugged or killed all the time. We were looking forward to it. Well, Paul wasnīt looking forward to upping the budget, but hey.

Ended up in a place with air-con and TV. How exciting, itīs been a while. Itīs very odd when TV becomes a novelty. We planned to visit the nearest national park, the Caņo negro but of course didnīt want to pay for a tour and weīd heard that they scam you and take you to the border where we just came from, so took the local bus at 5.30am! Weīll do anything to save a couple of quid. It was fairly frustrating at first as there didnīt seem to be a park entrance. We couldnīt find anybody. We got touted a couple of times by the locals who wanted $60 for 2 hours in their boat with them, but other than that we were alone. The best thing we could do was wander up and down the river bank taking in the scenery. But we saw more wildlife in 40 mins than weīd seen on our whole trip. The place is amazing. Itīs just full of exotic birds, turtles, monkeys and caimans (small croc), so we just hung out at the side of the river. At about 9am a man walked up to us and offered to take us out on his boat. Paul knocked him down to $40 and we went out with him on the river in the park for a couple of hours (well we thought we were in the park, but who knows). We were just grinning from ear to ear as we passed iguanas, lizards, caimans, turtles and birds in just the first 200m. Itīs quite an incredible place. Paul thinks IĻm turning into a twitcher, oh dear...but the pink spoonbill was just so pretty!
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