Ok so my first update! Should have done it much earlier as i have so much to write! I will try and keep it short, and i am also in the process of trying to get my photos uploaded as well.
The first few days didn´t quite go to plan I arrived on Monday and stayed at a really nice hotel up in the mountains with awesome views over San Jose. The next morning i headed to the airport again to meet SJ and over an hour aftrer her flight got in she still hadn´t appeared. Started to get a bit worried and with my little spanish i had trouble trying to explain to the guard that my friend was missing. Later realised i was speaking a mix of french and spanish to him which is why he didn´t understand. Anyway SJ finally came out however she was lacking a rucsack!!So we headed off to the hostel which is so nice in the middle of the city but you walk in and you would have no idea, hammocks everywhere, a swimming pool, palm trees, nice place to start. Lucikly the next day the airport had called to say that SJ´s bag had arrived and we thought we would be adventurous and get the local bus! Bad move as on the way there some scally thought it would be fun to steal SJ´s purse! So not the best way to begin the travels and so we decided to leave San Jose as quickly as possible!
While at the tour place in the hostel we met up with a couple and another guy and we all decided we would travel to La Fortuna together, so 5am the next morning we had our first experience of the local buses and luckily arrived with all of our belongings! La Fortuna is the home of Volcan Arenal and again we touched out with our hostel hammocks and swimming pool overlooked by the volcanoe. I was really suprised as to how close we were to it and considering it´s still active was quite nerve racking!
We spent three days in La Fortuna and think it was the best three days ever. We went on the hunt of a random waterfall mentioned in the lonely planet and found it under a bridge on the edge of town. It was awesome took us a while to figure out how to get down to it but we found the swimming hole and were greeted by locals throwing themselves off it from a random rope tied to a tree. We quickly joined in however weren´t as brave and went from a lower ledge and it was amazing, and even better as it was free. We went the next day to a huge waterfall that you had to pay for, was more impressive as it was in the middle of the jungle and you could swim to the rocks behind it. We also went on a night tour to see lava but it was quite dissappointing a just saw the odd random orange spark. We also went for a walk up to old lava flows and the base of the volcanoe. I have never been so amazed in my life (those of you who know me know i´m a geology freak and love volcanoes!) we stood there and there was rocks rolling down the edge and you could hear it rumbling, at one point it got a bit loud and i did get a little bit worried! Everywhere you looked were previous lava flows and they were huge, and knowing we were in the firing line also hiked the nerves! But it was one of the best things i have ever done standing at the base of a volcanoe as it rumbles away shooting rocks of lava out! Sad i know!!
On the way back down from the volcanoe some girl came running up to us shouting snake. And there was a fer de lance snake in the middle of the path not looking too happy. The guys we were with explained that if they bit you your muscles begin to melt! It is one of the deadliest snakes in costa rica! Hence the lack of photos as i ran in the other directions! There was also some volcanic hot springs that we visited but it was so americanised still good fun and felt like we were sat in a massive bath and each one was different temperatures, but at $10 a drink we didn´t stay too long!
From La Fortuna we had a fun jeep-boat-jeep ride to the cloud forest of Moteverde. The two places are so close but split by a rainforest so the trip involved a jeep to the lake a boat across the lake and then a really nast jeep ride on the other side, hence the neame! We didn´t spend very long here just one day but during that day we did a zip line canopy tour. Again out of this world! Zipping across the top of the jungle hundreds of feet up held on only by a wire! Photos show all, along with a video of the tarzan swing which was a little uncomfortable but fun all the same. Then in the evening we went on a night hike. After a close encounter with a snake the day before we were all bit on edge. The guide wasn´t the best showed us a tarantula in a hole but two minutes later i spotted one for myself just sat in the middle of an old tree root! We also saw a racoon, lots of spiders and beetles and some birds, luckily no more snakes! Although there was a lack of animals it was still amazing to be walking around a jungle in the dark not knowing what was staring at you!
Our stop in Monteverde was a bit quick as i would have like to have spent more time in the cloud forests but as we decided we wanted to see both the pacific and caribbean coasts we had to rush a bit.
We hit the pacific coast first at a place called Mal Pais which was totally chilled out and a surfers paradise. So we decided to join in and hired a board and headed to the beach. However the massive red begginers board ruined the coolness of the whole episode! I managed to stand up the following morning but then me and SJ went out on our own and got caught in a rip tide and found ourselves surrounded by rocks, it resulted in me being hit over the head by the board and then smashing backwards in to the rocks. The beach was huge and had hardly anyone on it and was white sand for miles lined with palm trees. Really began to hit home that i was in costa rica then!
We then went up the coast to Montezuma which was also very chilled out full of surfer dudes saying yeah man! We decided to take a boat trip to Isla Tortuga which is a deserted island with white sand beaches and palm trees. We got the chance to go snorkelling and saw a moray eel, lots of colourful fish, and star fish. Other people saw sharks, but can´t say i´m upset to have missed out, i got scared at the thought i was in close proximity to them! That evening we got introduced to a random and rather scary local called Carlos by some other people we had met on the boat t rip and he took us to the beach and started a little bonfire which was nice, although carlos was a bit mad and just kept shouting ´More Fire´. We were later joined by two more hippy locals who began singing and playing the recorder!! Both Montezuma and Mal Pais were so quiet there was a single dirt track in each of the towns that had a few places to eat drink and a supermarket, and everything in Costa Rica shuts so early by 10pm everything has closed and everyone is in bed!
Next day was long as we headed all the way across costa rica to the caribbean coast, took about 12hours but cost about 6pound! The caribbean coast was so different very rastafarian, it felt like we had left costa rica and landed in Jamaica. But it was a nice change to rushing around and you didn´t have a choice but to chll out. We stayed in a hostel called Rocking J´s in Puerto Viejo that was huge and let stay in either hammocks, tents or tree houses. We went for the latter as didn´t want to be eaten alive by bugs! We hired some bikes and went for a bike ride down the coast to Manzanillo. It said the road was paved but if you call pot holes and dirt track paved then it was. Very bumpy ride! When we got to the beach we realised it was Labour Day and there were caribbean families everywhere having massive BBQ´s, reggae music everywhere it was packed and smelt amazing.Spent the afternoon here and stocked up on some tasty typical caribbean food!
Next few days we spent doing nothing apart from chilling out and sunbathing which was nice after a few hectic days running around. In the evenign we met a load of other brits and as usual the bar in the hostel shut early so we took the party to the hostel bonfire and spent the evening there chilling out having a laugh. Like our previous beah bonfire we were later joined by ´Rockin J´ himself and his bongo!! Although not as brown as i would like and have almost managed to dodge the strap marks!! All the beaches around were pure white sand with palm tress and forest behind it, so certainly a nice place to lie and relax!
Our final stop was Cahuita as we were on a mission to find ourselves some monkeys and there is a big national park there. We spent the afternoon on Playa Negra which was in stark contrast to the white sand beaches of the rest of the pacific, it was like walking in mud! We were lying down sleeping and were woken up by about ten horses storming towards us!
We went for a walk early this morning into the national park and were very pleased as we saw loads of monkeys! They were howler monkeys and are so loud, they have like a bark slash growl and when you get close it is quite freaky. We also saw a sloth, loads of lizards and some birds. As it was right on the beach there were crabs everywhere and everytime you walked they kept disappearing into holes in the sand which was quite erie! We saw two lots of monkeys while in the main part of the jungle and they were amazing i couldn´t believe i was seeing monkeys in the wild! We saw little baby ones just hanging upside down. On the way out of the park we stumbled across a tree full of them and they were less than 100m away and just sat there staring at us, and then they started jumping from tree to tree in front of our faces! It was certainly a highlight and a good way to end the two weeks!
Could spend a month easily in Costa Rica but we have managed to cover a lot of ground in two weeks and have done so much stuff all of which has been amazing! Hence the length of this update and the kind of bullet point nature of it!
Will be putting up my photos soon!! Hope your all well, we leave for Ecuador in a few hours and i´m really excited about seeing a new country! And will try and make the next update more cohesive and shorter! xxxx