After three weeks of travelling through Central America, everything starts to feel more relaxed. You are used to changing environment, sorting out your transport, diner place and overnight stay every day. Travelmode kicks in and from now, all you will experience will feel more easy and comfortable.
In this stage, I arrived in Costa Rica. Already more laid back and in the travel mode, this little pearl of a country was experienced even better. I liked everything about Costa Rica. It’s an huge difference with her neighbours on the West Side. Not only in touristic development, but also in vegetation. Something for me important; nature. Everywhere you look, you see juicy forests. There were 8 traveldays left. Here’s the Costa Rica story.
February – 2014
From Rivas Nicaragua, we took a Tica Bus (comfortable and well organized) to San Jose. About 11 hours later we arrived in San Jose, due to some mechanical problems – shit happens. Our dear friend Lonely Planet, warns for Taxi drivers willing to only drop you of at one particular hostel in town, they tell you the hostel you picked doesn’t exist anymore or they say they don’t know about it. This happened to us as well! But just being firm and saying to take a different taxi, worked. We tried on Shakti, it looked good, but expensive. We continued to Costa Rica Backpackers, this one was full. Luckily the Guesthouse version on the opposite of the road had a spare room. And this was the best room ever!!! Kingsize bed, everything spacious and clean. Nice, relaxed atmosphere as well. Good Hostel. We Happy.
Next day we tried to book a room in Puerto Viejo, but everything appeared full. So we decided to head to neighbour Cahuita first. A cap dropped us of at the busterminal, from where we took a bus all the way to Cahuita. A local bus! Cheap and without any problems booking and taking it! yeah! I loved the feeling of being able to go anywhere you want, without being afraid of losing my stuff or ending up in the wrong spot. After a pleasant ride through mountains and walls of green, we arrived in time in Cahuita. We booked a room in Secret Garden, run bij a friendly Dutch owner. The place looked very relaxed and nice, so did the little village and beautiful white sand beach. For the first time I felt being on holiday 🙂
The best surprise came, when we discovered the Cahuita National Parque, just right at the beach. Dutch hostel owner Willeke, told us already which animals to be seen in the park. And this wasn’t exaggerating! Not only was the park the most beautiful place I had been in my life, it also held plenty of animals to discover solely. We saw sloth’s, monkeys, racoon’s, squirrels, yellow snake, blue crabs and colourful birds. This is paradise. Fantastic. In Cahuita’s little village you experience a Caribbean vibe, as everywhere on the east coast of this country. There are several cocktail happy hours, some shops and a couple of restaurants to choose from. Try diner at Cocoricó and have lunch at Soda Chocolatte (there’s only one main road, you will find it).
After spending 3 nights in Cahuita, we wanted to go to Tortuguero National Parc. You will only find information about reaching the place from Limon or Moin by boat (expensive!) BUT you can also do it by public bus.
Take an early bus from Cahuita to Limon (really early like 7.00, $3, 1,5hr, 5 daily)). In Limon you walk one block west to Terminal Caribeno. From here, get the bus to Guápiles ($4, 2hr, hourly departures). In Guapiles the bus to Cariari (45 mins) was waiting for us. We jumped on and arrived in Cariari in time to catch the last bus to La Pavona at 15:00 ($2, 1 hr). Note: in Cariari you have to walk again to another bus terminal, from the new one to the old one! It’s 500 meters to the east. This last bus trip is very very nice, as it drives through banana plantations with banana bunches transported on a genious railsystem. I loved it! In La Pavona (not really a village) you buy your boat ticket at the restaurant ($3), go to the boat, sit down and relax. You made it! The moment you are on the water you will enjoy great views and spot crocodiles. Useful website with maps to make the chances of not getting lost bigger: Tortuguero by public bus
Tortuguero was our real final destination, and it was wonderful. Of course you have to visit the national park. One of the locals offered to bring us there by little wooden boat. My boyfriend and he paddled together through the scenic rivers while our guide pointed out the animals around. It was great! Also the village of Tortuguero is lovely to explore. There are a lots of small shops with local/handmade goods (souvenirs!). Also you will find nice Western oriented restaurants among local operations. We stayed at Miss Miriam II (great value for money!) and were addicted to Budda Café. Breakfast we enjoyed at Miss Miriam’s and having diner at the Wild Ginger was an absolutely great experience. Try also Taylor’s Place. Ask around for directions, there are no streetnames.
The last night we spend in Hostel Casa del Parque. This was the best end of the trip we could wish for, amazing rooms and an beautiful building in the middle of San Jose. From here we walked to restaurant El Balcon de Europe (calle 9), where the friendly owner served us nice dishes from our home-continent.
Although they say Costa Rica is expensive, prices are still far below Euro-standard. With the possibility of using public transport, you save heaps of money. I love the easiness of getting around, discovering places on my own. People are very friendly and even the tourist places aren’t as tourist as an average Fisherman village in the Netherlands.