Travel Day to Monteverde and rodeo...

Trip Start Apr 19, 2014
Trip End May 19, 2014

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Thursday, May 1, 2014

It was a very early morning today as we had a 5:30 pick up at our host family's house to be on the first ferry back to the mainland at 6:00. We had breakfast with Brenda at 5:00. She served us rice and beans with a steak sized piece of fried cheese and a slice of avocado. It was so heavy and filling but delicious. We were definitely set for the day and a nap after that meal. The puppy was excited to see us when we got up and almost immediately started chewing on my toes again. During breakfast we also had a frog come through the dinning room like it wasn't a big deal. I purposely forgot to mention the giant rat yesterday that was running around between the bricks in the ceiling in the main room and poked his head out. I wanted Gina to sleep. There was geckos making gecko babies on the wall in the living room as well while I was watching movies with the family last night. It was all good fun and part of the home stay experience. After breakfast we thanked Brenda for everything and headed off to the ferry. The ferry ride was pretty relaxed, mainly because it was so early. The crossing was a little rough as the wind made the lake a little choppy.

Back on the mainland we loaded into a taxi van that took us to the chicken bus station. The van was supposed to be for our group only but it was half full of locals when we got on so it was a bit exciting trying to squish everyone in. I ended up jammed into a seat up behind the drivers head which was extremely uncomfortable but at least the ride was short. The dashboard of the van had no working gauges and the steering was extremely loose but not to worry the horn worked... At the chicken bus station we loaded onto the next bus leaving for the boarder. For those not familiar with the concept of a chicken bus, they are pimped out school buses that the locals use for transport and you quite literally could be sitting next to a chicken. The bus we has was nice by chicken bus standards and the guy sitting behind he was only carrying a some chairs for kids and a oscillating fan so it wasn't so bad. I even managed to have a rest me du jour. The ride to the boarder was about an hour. We were told this boarder could be a little exciting so we were prepared. I spent the last few cordobas we had on Oreos and pop at a small shop before we crossed. Going through immigration on the Nicaraguan side was a bit long but at least we had pop and cookies. We then had to walk over to the Costa Rica side and go through the formalities on that side. Overall it was not near as bad as we were prepared for so that was great. We've definitely been through more difficult boarder crossings. Our tour leader said we where very lucky as usually there is a huge line but not today. Split into two vans, we continued our journey towards Monteverde which was still 5 hours away. We stopped for lunch in the town of Liberia. I tried to take local currency out of the bank machine but it would only let me take the equivalent of $78 US out. I was not impressed. For lunch we went to Subway, apparently it's a pretty popular place with restaurants around the world... We needed something quick and it was our healthiest option. After lunch it was back on the road for a few more hours. We made one pit stop at a place that had macaws and toucans which was pretty neat. I had the toucans biting my finger at one point which was awesome. After the stop the road got really rough into Monteverde.

In Monteverde we checked into our hotel and went out for an orientation walk around town. After the walk I stopped at a taco stand for probably the best tacos of my life while Gina and a few of the others went to a coffee shop for smoothies. I joined then after the taco deliciousness. After the smoothies we got picked up for our first activity in Monteverde, a night walk through the jungle to spot some of the nocturnal animals. The night walk was on a private reserve that was part rainforest and part banana plantation. The group was split into two smaller groups of 6 and our guide gave us each a flashlight. The first cool thing our guide found for us was a huge stick insect. Apparently they are very common in the rainy season but not this time of the year. I don't know how he spotted it as it looked exactly like the branch of the tree it was sitting on. The next cool thing was a large ring-tailed salamander. We then made our way across the property where a sloth and its baby were spotted. It was neat seeing them in the wild up in a fig tree eating fruit. You couldn't get the best view as they were pretty high up but still worth it. We then checked out a massive leaf cutter ant colony, another sloth and finally a raccoon that was hard to see as he was moving quickly through the canopy. Overall the walk was good.

Afterwards we got dropped off at the rodeo that was going on in town. It was like a miniature version of the Calgary stampede with just as many drunk people but instead of line dancing there was salsa dancing. The highlight was the bull riding/fighting going on. It was weird, first the rider would ride the bull, then bunch of people would chase it around the ring until the guys on horseback would rope the bull and take him out of the ring. A few bull got some horns on people sitting on the fencing around the ring. We stood at the edge of the ring behind the fencing. It was definitely something to see. After watching a few rounds we headed back to the main area to eat and have a few beers at the beer garden. We spent the rest of the night at the dance party that was going on and walked back to the hotel afterwards. It was a long day but lots of fun. Tomorrow were are ziplining in the morning and quading in the afternoon. Should be excellent.
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Grandpa and Grandma on

Following your trip is like reading a good story and we can't wait for the next chapter! Thank you. Stay safe. Love G & G

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