Pura Vida in Costa Rica!
Six month after I started driving southwards from Canada, I have now reached the turning point of this journey. While plans, fellow passengers, time schedules and personal aims have changed along the way, so has the final destination. Instead of bolting through to Panama, I decided to take it easy and spend more time in the places I love. Pura Vida!
In San Juan del Sur we meet with Agata. We know her from our trip to Utila Island and now she will travel with us for a while in Costa Rica. Living in Cologne, we had basically been neighbors in Germany already without knowing each other. Agata is a special educational needs teacher back home and came to Central America to take a break.
We cross the border into Costa Rica without any problems. Having one person who speaks Spanish does make a big difference here! Straight after the border we realize how nice Costa Rica is. The grass is green, the trees are tropical and the rivers are flowing. We like it straight away! But against my hopes the streets are really bad again and we mostly have to drive all the way to Volcán Arenal on gravel.
Instead of climbing the volcano we relax in the free hot springs around the area. A nice guy from Israel offers us some free coffee and we enjoy the warm water of the springs.
In the following day, Agata and me climb up some TV Towers to enjoy the view of…fog!
Our next stop is Monteverde, where we hike in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It is a rainy day and foggy clouds cover the whole area. It is still a nice walk through this diverse ecosystem. Thousands of different plants and animals make this place a must see in Costa Rica.
While driving from Monteverde towards the Nicoya Peninsula in the southwest of Costa Rica, I realize that I’m now on my way back to Canada. It’s a discovery of mixed emotions. On the one hand I’m sad to slowly leave this fragment of the world again but on the other hand I’m looking forward to new adventures in different parts of the planet. But I also can’t ignore the fact that I really need to work to refresh my travel funds.
In Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula it is time to say goodbye to Rani. She has been good company for almost two month now and we became friends along the way. We spend some nice last days together in Montezuma, watching the street artists, swimming on the beautiful beach and jumping from waterfalls close to town.
When exiting Montezuma I see a backpacker trying to hitchhike in our direction. Agata and me look at each other and stop to pick up Dima and Anastasia from Russia. They have been traveling as a couple for a while now, starting in Mexico and making their way down to South America. We soon realize that we get along pretty well and Dima and Anastasia offer to buy some fish for dinner to thank us for picking them up. We don’t refuse and offer them our tent to camp with us on the beach in return.
In Santa Teresa we find an amazing camp spot in the shade of the palm trees right at the beach. I guess it is the most beautiful spot I have had on this whole trip. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach, Iguanas walking around the camp looking for food and tropical birds making the trees even more colorful. Life couldn’t be better!
We prepare the two fish in a big bonfire and talk about various topics until late in the night. For me, never having been a friend of seafood before, it is a great experience to eat some fresh fish prepared in such a nice environment.
The following morning I spend some time taking pictures of the various sized and colored Iguanas around the camp.
The next few days go by visiting one lovely beach after the other, cooking together, cracking coconuts, playing card games and collecting mangoes. Somewhere in-between we surprisingly have to cross a river to get where we are going. After checking the depth of the water I decide that I should be able to cross it with the camper and give it a go. We fly through as if nothing had ever happened. A few kilometers down the road there is a second river crossing and I feel way too confident this time…
Looking like shallow water, the little stretch of river turns out to be about 50 centimeters deep! A wave flows over the hood while I’m trying to push through and the engine sucks water. There are a few miserable sounds from the front and then the engine dies. We are stranded!
Not long after some locals pull us out of the river and some others help us to get a mechanic to check out the engine. Removing the spark plugs and cranking up the engine does the deal and the water splashes out of the machine. In the late evening we can continue, having learned some new insides into the river crossing business.
After almost two weeks in Costa Rica it is time for Agata and me to make our way back into Nicaragua. We just can’t afford staying any longer. Costa Rica is really beautiful and I would have loved to see more of it, but it is also the most expensive country in Central America. Good bye it was nice to know you!