Category Archives: Costa Rica

Montezuma

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We spent four days in Montezuma, a decently busy little beach town with a lot of cafe-type restaurants. After leaving our shared twin bed at the hostel, we moved to the Montezuma Pacific Hotel, which was clean and simple and had an Iguana that tromped around the roof. The nearest town with a bank and post office is Cabano, just a short bus ride away. We passed through Cabano again when we traveled on from Montezuma and, while waiting for our bus, we sat in an open-air restaurant and spent two hours drinking one Coke. Spending hours drinking Coke mad with real sugar cane is one of my favorite memories from Costa Rica. Anywho, our activities in Montezuma included:

Playa Grande, Montezuma Cost Rica

Playa Grande, Montezuma Costa Rica

Beach days:

We spent a couple days being lazy on the beach and getting sunburned. Even when I’m wearing sunscreen I burn within half an hour in the sun near the equator. So, we spent a lot of time in the shade, mostly coming under the sun when we got in the ocean to cool off. We also spent a fair amount of time laughing at each other when we tried to jump over or go under waves. The best beach near Montezuma was Playa Grande, about a mile and a half walk from town. It’s so long that I felt we practically had the beach to ourselves. On the walk there we saw tons of plastic washed up on the shores. All this litter broke my heart! Where does it come from?

The bottom waterfall at Montezuma waterfalls

The bottom waterfall at the Montezuma waterfalls

Waterfalls:

One day we walked up out of town to three waterfalls. At the lowest falls there was a girl scrambling up the unsteady rock and mud next to the falls so she could jump in. Everyone at the bottom was nervous as clumps of mud fell out from beneath her feet. Yikes! We didn’t jump here, just went for a dip. Swimming in natural pools in the jungle is glorious! We then hiked up a steep hill to the top of the second waterfall, where there was a rope swing. There were people jumping here too…even scarier to me because they had to jump over a bush and couldn’t see the bottom of the waterfall. There was an older man there who lives in Alaska for the summer and Montezuma for the winter (that’s the life!). He was helping people know where to jump, as he said he had done himself 600 times. There was a group of boys there afraid to jump and a group of girls came up and jumped right away. Yay girl power!…I, personally, enjoyed the rope swing :). Maybe this is lame, but we had a ton of fun here.

Cece's signature butterfly farm face

Here I am freaking out at the butterfly farm.

The Butterfly Farm:


Upon coming to Costa Rica, I really wanted to visit a butterfly farm. When we visited Montezuma’s butterfly farm, I became frantic and terrified…just a little bit. The butterflies were gorgeous and interesting to watch, but I nearly had a panic attack when they fluttered around in my face. I didn’t know I would freak out so much over this…but that’s that. No more butterfly farms for me.

butterfly at the butterfly farm

I don't mind winged things...as long as they are not near my face!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cece tanning and trying to keep the sand out of her eyes

With such crazy winds and no chance at snorkeling, I had no choice but to get a tan and try to keep the sand out of my eyes.

Snorkeling…Almost

One day we had great expectations of snorkeling at Isla Tortuga off of Montezuma’s coast. Our half hour boat ride to the island was bumpy, to say the least– I was flying off the seat and smashing back down. It was so windy and the ocean was full of choppy whitecaps. When we made it to the small island, we were told we couldn’t snorkel in the wind because it was dangerous and our visibility would be so low anyways. We laid on the beach being pelted by a relentless sand storm. I suppose this is good exfoliation at least! We had a fresh-cooked lunch on the beach and waited some more for the wind to die down. No luck 😦 Finally, we headed back to Montezuma without having seen a fish but for the ones on our plates!

A Quick Note on a Long Travel Day

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View from our ferry across the Nicoya Penninsula

The view from our ferry across the Nicoya Peninsula.

January 2, 2010. We got an 8:30 a.m. bus from La Fortuna to Tilaran, where we arrived at 10:30 and had to wait for our next bus. . Here we at some croissant sandwiches and a brownie as big as our faces. The next ride was 2 and a half hours on a very hot and sticky school bus to Puntaranas. Originally we were planning on staying here, but the town seemed a little sketchy so we decided to head all the way to our final destination.This involved ferrying across to the Nicoya Peninsula–on a ferry that had karaoke– and getting on one more bus to Montezuma. When we finally arrived it was about 10 at night and we couldn’t find a bed. We ended up paying $8 to share a top twin bunk in a hostel, where we spent all night trying not to cuddle so we didn’t put too much weight on one part of the mattress!

Tico Breakfast and Zip Line Time!

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A zip line over the river

Zipping over the river!

On January 1, 2010 we started out with an authentic Tico (Costa Rican) breakfast: Toast, eggs, rice and beans, avocado, soft white cheese, tea, and orange juice. Ever since our trip to Costa Rica two years ago now, I have loved this meal. This food is all delicious and the combination of all of these things brings back memories. Plus, two-beverage breakfasts always make me feel like royalty for some reason. Costa Rica is all about two-beverage breakfasts! After our glorious breakfast it was time to zip line! This was one of the parts of the trip I was looking the most forward to. Our highest zip line was 350 feet above the ground, the longest was 1,200 feet long, and the fastest was 40mph! Woooo hoooo!

At the end of our zip line adventure

At the end of our zip line adventure.

La Fortuna waterfall and Debit Card Debacle

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On December 31, 2009 Alex and I went to a waterfall about 3 or 4 miles from your hotel in town. We paid ten dollars and hiked down into the jungle valley for about half an hour. The path down was steep, with 456 steps. While Alex’s family friends watched, we ventured over the slick rocks into the small pool below the waterfall. There were choppy waves in the pool as the falls crashed down and we were the only two swimming there. We later learned that one of the dangers of swimming here is that logs or whole trees fall down upstream and some crashing down in the falls, surprising and sometimes injuring swimmers. Good thing there wasn’t a treefall that day. Before too long we went downstream to soak in the calmer pools with many more fish and people.

The second half of our journey on this day started after our New Year’s Eve dinner in town. Because we were planning on traveling the next day we decided to get money out of the ATM in La Fortuna. Costa Rican ATMs are looking out for you. By this I mean that it spits your card back out at you and, if you don’t grab it immediately, it eats is back up so you don’t get robbed. What a nice ATM, right! Well, my ATM card got eaten on the third day of our 18-day trip. Yikes. The next day we called the bank to cancel the card and emailed my already-nervous mother to tell her the bad news and get her help!

The road to La Fortuna

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On the bus to La Fortuna

On the bus to La Fortuna. My first foreign bus ride was a little rough!

On December 30, 2009 Alex and I took a four hour bus ride from San Jose to La Fortuna. My mother told me before we left that she pictured me riding around on buses with chicken crates on top. The buses however, were quite nice and spacious…and chickenless! On the ride to La Fortuna I gave up my seat to woman carrying a baby, which she had to pass off to various people while she vomited throughout the bus ride. Alex was still sitting next to her by the window and the bus just got more and more stuffy as people crammed in at every small town stop along the way. For four hours I was standing, sitting, and shifting seats with people. This made for a very long bus ride on very narrow and curvy roads. The further from the city we got the more beautiful the scene out of the bus window became. The houses we passed eventually lost their barbed-wire guardians and I saw many women meticulously sweeping their tile porches. We passed crops and cows, something I wouldn’t have really thought about seeing in Costa Rica. After a really long morning we got off at our destination and went searching for Hotel El Buho. La Fortuna is a lush jungle town at the base of the Arenal Volcano. There is a main strip of touristy shops and restaurants in town and a small, beautiful park right in the center. On our first day there, we saw the top of Arenal briefly as it peeked out of the clouds. Although our hotel porch looked right at it, we weren’t lucky enough to see it again. We met up with some family friends of Alex’s that were also in La Fortuna and, after having lunch with them, proceeded to the luxury Los Lagos hotel where they were staying. Here we soaked in a glorious hot springs pool and I drank a Pina Colado out of a pineapple at the swim-up bar. After they dropped us off in town we ate at Luigi’s Pizza and wandered around, being tourists!

Eggs with legs

Here I am marveling at the very strange eggs-with-legs figurines we found at quite a few places. I am not sure how these represent Costa Rica and why you would want to take one home.

San Jose

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Hostel Toruma, San Jose

Hostel Toruma in San Jose, Costa Rica

My boyfriend Alex and I got into San Jose on December 29, 2009 at about 5 in the morning. Frontier has a flight from Denver to Costa Rica for under $400 that flies from about midnight to 5 a.m. From the airport we hopped on a TUASA bus from Alejuela, where the airport is, to San Jose. The next task was to catch our first taxi and find Hostel Toruma. My first foreign taxi ride…what an adventure! We couldn’t find our hostel and our driver was all over the road as he called (or pretended to…we’re still not sure) to call other drivers. Meanwhile the meter was running, so to speak. After driving by the place at lease twice and not spotting it, we finally found it. Hostel Toruma is the old house of a Costa Rican president that served 3 terms. Imagine if the White House turned into a traveler’s hostel someday! The place was clean and quiet and we sat by the pool all day, recovering from our overnight flight. We went out to fetch lunch materials from the nearby corner store: crackers, soft white cheese, avocados, and juice boxes. These things would become a staple on our 18-day adventure around Costa Rica. Honestly, I only saw flashes of San Jose: buildings flying by on the cab ride, dirty streets and sidewalks, women’s jet black hair glistening in the humidity, and the ever-present KFC  across the street from our hostel. We are not city people and we know this and accept this about ourselves. We don’t get excited at the thought of tromping around cities, experiencing the restaurants and nightlife. Thus, San Jose was just a stop along the road to more exciting places for us.