Better out than in...

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

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Friday, May 15, 2009

Are you seeing a theme yet? This country is just one big national park. From Volcano Arenal we headed to Monteverde NP, a privately owned piece of cloud forest. It was purchased by a bunch of Quakers to help save the rainforest, and to keep tourist numbers down they have also fought against having a decent road built. This means that the journey is terrible, taking 6 hours with a 2 hour connection in some hole of a place. To counter this the tour agencies developed Jeep-Boat-Jeep. It takes 2 hours and crosses across the lovely lake Arenal. But guess what? Itīs $18 per person. So we plumped for Bus-Bus Station-Bus. Thatīs $3 and if you buy lunch itīs $4. Bargain. Paulīs favourite phrase is īI have the time but not the moneyī.It really annoys taxi drivers.

Visiting the park was beautiful. We rented binoculars and saw a few monkeyīs a caoti (looks like a raccoon), some pretty birds and quite odd insects and we spent about 6 hours walking through it. It was lush and tropical and green and in places had some stunning vistas across the valley. Getting off the main trail was easy and you could avoid the crowds of people with loud american guides. However, it was $17 to get in. The annoying thing is, is that the next day we walked to the entrance of another reserve and saw just as much wildlife by the side of the road for free! Toucans, giant beetles, hummingbirds, monkeys and even a quetzal. The resplendant quetzal is supposed to be a rarely spotted bird of paradise that people make special trips to try and find. After reading bout the effort people make to see this bird we couldnīt believe it was just sitting by the side of the road.

Got absolutely drenched in the afternoon tropical rain and found out that due to the humidity nothing dries, so we were stuck with wet clothes in a wet room. We also discovered a scorpian on the wall which was a bit of a shock. The owner of the hostel rescued us in the style of Steve Urwin
when he simply peeled it off the wall with his fingers holding itīs tail. He said it was perfectly safe if you just grab it by the stinger, and they donīt really hurt that much, just like a bee sting. Still, no thanks eh?
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