21.07.2012 - 23.07.2012
We bid farewell to the lovely San Juan del Sur and the warm seas of Central America and jumped aboard a chicken bus towards the border. Again super busy, our bags were thrown on top of the bus within a blink of our eyes. After 6 weeks of bussing it we have become considerably less concerned about the whereabouts of our large rucksacks as they are taken from us so speedily it’s often difficult to keep track of where they stow them – I think sometimes it’s best not to know! They are always returned to us in the end!
We arrived at the border and swatted away the annoying touts like flies, negotiating the border crossing on foot alone (we are pros!). It was particularly hot so the 1km walk between the border posts was not the most enjoyable but we soon found ourselves out of Nicaragua (a sad time) and in Costa Rica – exciting!
Another two very hot buses we arrived in Monteverde, in the Costa Rican cloud forest! The second bus was a very dilapidated old coach, with panels falling from the sides, holes in the floor and light fittings dangling from the ceiling. After the 1 and a half our journey it was clear why – we took a very bumpy, steep and windy road that really no coach should be subjected to! As we climbed the mountains the views across to the Western peninsula and Golfo de Nicoya were stunning – it was all very lush and green, and much better maintained than other countries we have seen. The temperature also dropped by about 10 degrees which was a very welcome change!
Our main reason for visiting Monteverde was to do a Zip lining canopy tour which we did the next day! Despite joining a whole school of American children we enjoyed flying through the trees on 11 zip lines, a 15m rappel and finally a “Mega Tarzan Swing”.
We both felt there wasn’t quite enough speed or adrenaline involved although some of the lines were very long and gave amazing views across the trees. The last line we were able to do Superman Stylee – and flew down the zip line headfirst. Well, Sarah flew - at great speed, but Joe ground to a halt before the end of the line, dangling over the trees below and had to be rescued! Rather disappointing if a little embarrassing! The best was saved until last – the Tarzan Swing involved jumping from a 50 metre platform, free falling and then swinging back up the other way. Sarah was more than a little terrified especially as we first had to walk about 20 metres out onto a narrow, very bouncy suspension platform to get to the jumping spot.
On arriving she announced to the two staff she was “rather nervous, and not sure she was able to do it”, legs wobbling manically. They reassured her this was optional and suggested she just wait a metre or 2 back from the jump. Then within about 10 seconds, harnesses were attached, the edge suddenly became very close, a small gate was opened and Sarah was off the edge of it, letting out an almighty scream! They clearly have no time for wimps! It must have been pretty scary as even Joe let out a ‘manly’ roar when he leapt.
The next day we got an early bus to Monteverde Reserve, a huge area of protected cloud forest (apparently) full of wildlife. After a slightly embarrassing scrabble around in our wallets for enough money to enter (Costa Rica is muy caro!!) we set about exploring the cloud forest. Eyes peeled for wildlife we walked every track we could – it was very beautiful, jungley and cloudy – but the wildlife appeared to be hiding. After five hours our list was as follows: a large black bird, a small black bird, a small green bird, a blue spotted beetle and numerous colourful butterflies. All very lovely, but where were the monkeys and jaguars?!? Hiding in the 97% of the park that isn’t open to visitors we imagine! Despite the lack of wildlife it was still amazing and very tranquil. We then followed the five hours walking with another 8 km walk as we had no money on our persons to take the bus! After all the time we have spent sitting on buses it was a lovely change to be using our legs. We are both very unfit!
A lovely time was spent in Monteverde; Costa Rica seems a nice country but much more developed and very set up for tourists. It was a big decision to only leave 5 nights here but we feel we made the right decision – especially as a bottle of water costs $2!! Tomorrow we head to our final destination, Turriabla for a spot of rafting!