Pura Vida

Trip Start Mar 23, 2008
Trip End Jun 2008

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Where I stayed
Backpacker´s Dream

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, April 14, 2008

Fleeing the sweltering heat of the Panamanian lowlands, we headed out Monday for Boquete - a cheery little mountain town nestled beneath Volcan Baru, Panama's highest peak. Of course, we had to climb it! Pat and I set out early the next morning (Maybe even too early because we forgot to stop at the store for extra food!) and began the long 8 mile hike to the top. Our guide books explained that the summit was covered in cell towers and microwave antennas and 4-wheel drive vehicles regularly make the ascent to maintain the hardware. Great! "A road," I thought, "this will be easy!" I couldn't have been more wrong! I have no idea how any 4x4 could make it up that "road" when I, with my two legs and two hands, had trouble navigating the slick, rocky stretch of trail. It was supposed to take 4 hours but took us 7, probably because most people are not crazy enough to camp near the summit - they make a 12 hour up-and-down quickie of it. Naw, we're hard core and, that's right...we camped in the bitter cold near the top and hiked to the summit the next morning for an awesome view of the sunrise as wisped up and over the peak. The hike down was miserable, knee-crunching, 9 mile trek, from which I am still sore - three days later. But I'd do it again and recommend it to anyone!

From Boquete, we headed northeast, crossing the continental divide of Panama and dropping along the Caribbean coast to make the trip into Caribbean Costa Rica. Within minutes of leaving the bus station, the scenery changed dramatically. No longer passing by cement-block houses, the road twisted past wooden shacks...a distinctly Caribbean feel. We stayed a few days in Cahuita, Costa Rica, along the Caribbean coast. A very reggae/chill/surf/hang-out/do-nothing kind of town. We stayed at a place (the cheapest in town) that was a thrown together shack complete with rat poop on the bedding, circa 1920's electric wiring, and a charming old crazy owner named Jose - who sang me a song every morning and who we found designing and sewing his own pair of trousers when we came back one afternoon. The place was aptly named "Backpacker's Dream". It was a hoot, an experience and awesome all at once. We also visited a national park in Cahuita and were quickly surrounded by howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys and we even saw a sloth! And, yes, howler monkeys make sounds similar to the audio track from Jurassic Park - quite freaky!

Now we're in San Jose, trying to figure out where to go next...we'll see!
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