Ah Costa Rica! Pura Vida mis amigos! The land of great coffee, surfing, and massive amounts of reserves/national parks. The people are friendly and welcoming, the food is rich and homely, and the streets literally have no names. There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the sounds of tropical rain, waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of howler monkeys losing their sh*t, and waking up at the ass crack of dawn to the sounds of thousands of birds all shouting at each other at once. It truly is magical, if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally speaking, I loved it; all of it. Not even the mosquitos, who seemed to be immune to my OFF! Deep Woods bug spray, could get me down.
If you’ve been following along you know that Thomas and I purchased our tickets to Costa Rica in January, for use in December; rookie mistake. On top of that, we didn’t even bother to check our flight prior to heading to the airport. Don’t judge us, we’re just simple folk. This cost us our only day in San Jose. We arrived at 7pm, instead of 12:30pm because our connecting flight got cancelled so long ago, they didn’t even have it on record anymore. We did manage to get our car rental reservation once we arrived, but soon discovered that the $76 CAD bill, was in fact $391 USD. Scam! No, not really...it’s just us making yet another rookie mistake. Third party liability insurance is a requirement in Costa Rica and all of Latin America when renting a car. Who knew? Those who research their trips properly of course! We thought about nixing the rental, but decided that based on our itinerary, not having a car simply wasn’t an option. After all was said and done, our first day was completely burned.
The next leg of our journey was also riddled with folly. As we headed out on the road to La Fortuna which is located about 2.5 hours northwest of San Jose, we discovered that we forgot our GoPro housing back home and wouldn’t be able to use ANY of our GoPro accessories without it. After 2 Walmarts and 2 wasted hours, we found one, and did some unnecessary damage to our wallets. By the time we got to La Fortuna, the sun was going down. Another day burned...
We are now on day 3, and we are literally just starting our vacation, sheesh! We made our way to the Arenal National Park. Unfortunately for us, and despite our best efforts, plus ample amounts of stealth mode, we saw no wildlife in the park; apart from a few butterflies and bugs. After a 1.5 hour hike, we made it to the viewing area for the volcano and it was….. breathtaking. Volcan Arenal has so much lush forestry on its slopes that when the clouds cover it’s tip, it’s quite easy to mistake it for a mountain. What a beauty! After our long hike back, we headed to the Baldi Hot Springs Resort for a little R&R. Our Airbnb host Andres was kind enough to hook us up with reservations for the hot springs + dinner, at the price of just the hot springs ($37 USD instead of $57). Yay, a bit of luck!
After saying our goodbyes to La Fortuna, we headed out on the most wonderfully scenic 5 hour drive south west, and arrived in Jaco just in time to take a few pictures of the most amazing sunset. Our final destination, Manuel Antonio, was still about an hour away. Finally, the ocean! Our little quasi tree house was the perfect location to chill away the last few days of the trip. We got in some much needed beach time and paid a visit to the local park. Though one of the smaller in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most popular, as it is teeming with wildlife; capuchin, howler, and squirrel monkeys, sloths, and raccoons are abundant. Wrapping up the trip this way was definitely our favourite part. It took us 3 days to get our bearings, but we left Costa Rica feeling like seasoned travellers. Things went from rough to smooth and we managed to stay in pretty good spirits throughout. It taught us a lot, and was the perfect little test before the long haul. Pura vida, mis amigos, Pura vida!