We took a Tica bus from Managua, Granada to San Jose, Costa Rica which meant we didnt have to endure another horrid border crossing on our own. It was a breeze going through Nicaragaua as the bus driver sorted out all our immigration papers. Costa Rica entry was a little more of a pain, they insisted everyone unlaod all their baggage and line it up on a table in the sweltering heat. This would have been easier to accept if they had actually checked our bags but instead we all stood there sweating our arses off for 45 mins and were then told to put everything back again! Other than a couple of random police checks along the way the rest of the trip was hassle free. We arrived in to San Jose about 6pm that evening. The city is massive and it looks quite similar to Mexico City with huge posterboards, fast food places and big hotels everywhere. Everyone seems to drive SUV´s too and is all apparently due to the influx of Americans moving to the city over the years. We took a taxi to a recommended hostel called Costa Rica backpackers and were abit taken aback when the guy told us it would be $32 a night! We had paid $11 the previous night in Nicaragua. However after a quick overview of the place it was easy to see the reason for the price. The place has everything you could want and need. There was a huge swimming pool in the garden with hammocks and benches everywhere, a massive kitchen for guests to cook in, a tour office, free internet, 2 bars, a restaurant and about 20 showers all with HOT water! The rooms were a good size too. We had a great meal of Thai green curry and chicken & rice and watched a movie put on in the bar. The following day we had planned to go to Monte Verde, a mountaneous town northwest of San Jose that is famous for its cloud forest and more importanlty for faye, Sloth spotting. Unfortunately i didnt feel too well in the morning so we decided to stay at the hostel another day so i could rest and faye could concentrate on some all important sun bathing. I slept for much of the day,.. as did the sun and poor Faye was stuck in the computer room for 5 hours in bikini looking at the miserable weather. The following day we managed to drag ourselves from our luxury hostel and catch a bus to Monte Verde. At this point we only had one night and half a day before we had to get back to San Jose for our flight to Colombia ( we were originally supposed to leave for colombia from panama on the 30th but ran out of time so changed it to fly from San Jose on the 31st!). When we arrived at Monte Verde we were absolutely gutted that we hadnt come sooner. The place is fantastic and feels like a small canadian ski town. Its high in the mountains, so quite cold and there are so many forest treks and wildlife tours to do there. We have already made plans to come back to Costa Rica for 2 weeks and spend it in Monte Verde. The only thing we had time to do before catching our bus back was a 5 hour hike around the Mont Verde cloud forest. We started at around 6am and went with a guide deep into the forest. Of course top of the list was to spot a sloth and faye let it be known to everyone in our group. So there were six of us trekking through this beautiful forest with heads permanently upright trying to find a hairball (all you can really ever see of a sloth) 20ft in the air!! Im sorry to say we didnt get to see one, which is another of the reasons we are planning a future trip.. We left Monte Verde with very heavy hearts and headed back to our luxury hostel for one more night before we would be heading to Colombia for utter madness with Sara for New Years. Annoyingly by the time we arrived back to the hostel all of their double rooms were taken. We had no other option than to check into a 8 bed dorm ( our first dorm weve had to sleep in since being away! not happy!). It was even more of a pain as we had so much to sort before our flight and didnt want to have to share a room with 6 other smelly backpackers .ugh... luckily however, after seeing the utter pain etched on our faces, the reception guy put us in a dorm seperate from everyone elses and we we never got anyone else checking in so had the entire room to ourselves. We left super ealry the following morning to catch our 8am flight. because we had changed the flight last minute instead of flying direct, we now had to fly San Jose to Panama City, Panama City to San Andres (a Colombian island close to Nicaragua. yes we had to fly back up the way we came!) and then San Andres to Cartagena. We were cutting it very fine and wouldnt be landing into Cartagena until the evening of New Years Eve. Any flight problems or delays and we would be toasting midnight in some god forsaken airport!