Thursday, April 28, 2011

Costa Rica

 After many hours of flying and watching too many in-flight movies, I finaly arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica. The second I stepped off that plane, the memories of my two other trips to Costa Rica started flooding my mind. Everything was a happy memory, from the big jungle paintings on the walls of the airport with colorful tucans and macaws flying around, the taste of Imperial beer at the bar, and especialy the "pura vida" greeting by everyone I came in contact with.
On the plane I met an English dude that was going my direction, so we paired up and took a free shuttle to the nearest hotel. The next morning, I was on the hotel computer looking up bus scheduals to Manuel Antonio, my old stomping grouds, when the guy showed up and told me he had rented a car, and I could ride along if I liked. Free ride sounds good to any backpacker. As we headed out for the three hour journey to Manuel Antonia, I was quickly reminded that Brits don't drive much back home. I was comical to me and the hotel patrons and workers alike, seeing him try to work the gear shift, killing it a few times before ever leaving the parking lot. More than one reminder was in order, that we where now driving on the right hand side, not the left.
About an hour out side of Manuel Antonia we stopped for lunch in Jaco. The last time I was here I had eaten the best sushi in the world at a little place called Tsunami. It was closed however, so we went to a fish taco place mentioned in the Lonely Planet.  From then on, it was a majestic coast line to our destination, much to our delight, especialy for my English friend who had never been to the country.
I am not sure if it is because Costa Rica was my first traveling abroad experiance, or maybe it's all the memories from living here alone for three months, but this country is still my favorite. Maybe it's the unparraleled beauty of beaches and country side alike, maybe it's the layed back tropical feeling you get while hanging out in a hammock on the beach at the edge of a rain forest. Could be the tiny capuchin monkeys that try stealing your beverage any time you are drinking at a beach town. Might have something to do with waking up and realizing theres a sloth and it's baby hanging on the rafters of your balcony, just kinda staring at you. Maybe it's the great experiances you get climbing up the side of a smoking volcano, zip lining through cloud forest canopies, rafting through jungles, walking over narrow suspention bridges overlooking water falls, snorkeling with whales, dolphines, octopi and turtles. This country has all those things and more. I can not say enough about my time here, but like any local would, I'll sum it up with two words; Pura Vida.
Back to the story. Once in Manuel Antonio, and settled into my dorm room at Big Mouth Frog hostel, it was time to go find my friends. I had not talked to them in the two plus years I had been gone, let alone seen them, but had a good idea they where wtill aound, doing the same old things. Life moves at a slow pace here in CR, and I figured I would find 'ol Lennin down at the beach, renting snokeling gear to tourist, sipping on his fifth Imperial.  Sure enough, I had to look all of eight seconds before we found each other, and the supprise was thoro on his part. After a few rounds of hungs and beer openings, he took me to find the rest of the buddies from back then. Soon a party was planned, it was easter weekend as well as a reunion, and a big camp fire was built on the beach. After a liquor run, the Cazeche (sp?), Guado (sp?), and Imperial where in abundance, and after the last tourist was gone, the night began. I remember late that night, or was it early I don't know, my boating friend wanted to take me to the harbor by my hosel in his boat, but due to frequent breaks for some singing at the moon and swimming in the dark, it took a drunken 2 hours to go the one mile home.
The rest of my time in Cost Rica was not waisted either, and was alot of fun. I am working my qway home now, following the Pacific almost all the way home. Where Manuel Antonio/ Quepos area holds special places in my heart, the whole coast to Nicaragua are equaly serene. Jaco, Puntarenas, Montezuma, Tamarindo are just a few great beach towns along the way. For now, it is adios amigos, I'm bound for home, with a whole lot of bus time in my future.

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Hunting for poisonouse dart frogs in Arenal
Manuel Antonio

Hiking up the volcano

Sunset at Manuel Antonio
The smoking Arenal volcano.

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