26.12.2010 - 02.01.2011 30 °C
The return trip from Bocas Islands to the mainland was luckily as dry as the trip out. However, after that the boat trip the remaining of the day was pretty awful. We ran into a Catalan man when we got off the boat who told us loads of BS about there being any bus etc to the boarder, so we went along first to share a taxi with him (obviously the taxi guys said the same). Normally we never do this, but it all went so quick and it was raining too. Still after a while we figured that this was all complete BS and asked to be driven back and voila, there were loads of cheap local transport. Ok that taxi drivers do this as they need to make money, but hate when gringos talk about things that they don’t have any idea about.
After that we came to the boarder which was a complete mess. There was no logic in how to cross the border and loads of people cueing in different lines. You had to get a stamp there, pay here etc. Also very unlucky as the guy in front of us was getting passports from a whole buss stamped. After that we had to walk over a bridge that looked like something from a Vietnam war movie. Pretty cool actually, but we were too wet, too tired and too annoyed to take any pictures of it. After getting to the other side, there was even more chaos. We had to wait an hour only to be told that we have to have an journey out from Costa Rica to be allowed in. However, you cannot buy bus tickets online, so unless you had a flight ticket you were basically forced to buy a completely useless ticket back over the same boarder we were crossing for 12 dollars each. A complete robbery I say.
We were so annoyed and tired that we decided to break off the journey and stay a night in a small Caribbean village called Cauita. The place was actually pretty nice, but we got a chock from the prices. The supermarket in the center charged 4 dollars for a packet of milk or 2 dollars for a can of crushed tomato, for example. That’s like double the prices of Norway. Could this be the most expensive shop in the world? We ended up eating our favorite cheapy dish, spaghetti with garlic and onion. Yummy!
The next day we went for a walk in a national park that was just next to the village. It was actually really cool. We saw loads of monkeys and sloths. The trail was also really nice, mixing between walking through jungle and sometimes walking next to the beach with palm trees. We decided to take a bus in the evening to San Juan to break down the journey to the Pacific side of Costa Rica. For some reason there are no night buses which is pretty annoying as a coast to coast trip is 10 hours which would be perfect for a night trip. So in the end we had to stay a night in a hostel in San Juan. We decided in the morning to take it a bit easy and actually go explore this capital a bit, though even the staff in the hostel said that there are really nothing to see. A few hours walking around and we could conclude that they were right. We were amazed how American the culture was there, they had way more American fast food chains than we do in Europe, Taco Bell, Wendy’s etc. A sad thing is that even the poor Ticas (Costa Ricans) save up money all week so that they can go to eat at Mc Donald’s on Saturday night.
We were going back and forth with things to do as my leg was still not well and I could not swim. After some thinking we decided to go to the volcano area in the center of Costa Rica. However, when we came to the station we spoke to a lady in the buss cue and she told us that the place was not very nice, its cold and raining, and that we won’t see anything of the volcano as it is not active at the moment and there would not be clear views anyway. When she told us that she only went there because she had to, we were deterred enough and decided to make a change of plans. A taxi later to another bus station and we were on a bus going south to the Pacific coast. In the end we had not had much sun so we were really looking forward to some sunshine.
We decided to go to the slightly less touristy part of the coast, to a place called Montezuma. The only reason why there´s a little bit less tourist there is because it’s a bit of a pain to get there, especially since we had started travelled so late and there were no public transports. We had to take a taxi from the bus stop, then a ferry across a bay, after that a taxi again to a village where we had to stay over. We had run into two Dutch girls, one of the possibly being the worst person we had met during the trip. We really were chocked how rude this girl was to us and even more to the Costa Rican´s. Think her friend was really embarrassed of her too. After this we had to take an local bus, then change to one more to finally arrive in Montezuma.
It was actually quite a funky little place. Pretty busy too as it was leading up to New Years. After taking in a crappy cheap hostel right on the beach, we went exploring the area. We started to talking about how cool it would be to volunteer in a place that is actually nice, like this. By chance we saw some info about volunteering and found out that there were actually quite a few possibilities. One of them was working with sea turtles, something that neither of us had thought about before. Still we wanted to go to see them so why not volunteer for a while. It turned out however that there were not many turtles coming to Montezuma this time of the year, but that they had another center further north close to Samara, so the turtles would have to wait.
I still could not swim so we were trying to come up with other activities. We found a cool café that had various activities for free every day, one day we went salsa dancing, and another day Laura did some sort of stretch yoga. One day we rented bikes and cycled out to the tip of the peninsula. It was a really nice bike ride along some deserted beaches and small villages until we reached the nature reserve Absolute Cabot which was the first reserve, founded by a Swede who got killed protecting the nature. After a few days my wound was good enough to swim and we went visiting a set of amazing waterfalls. I am always very skeptical to waterfalls, as they are almost always a disappointment. However, this place was amazing. There were natural swimming pool that you could swim around in and you could jump from the cliffs down, the highest being a ten meter cliff. We saw loads of locals jumping there, but I decided against it after a guy told me that his friend had died there. Actually we saw a guy being cut up pretty badly when he tried to walk out on a tree branch that was hanging over one of the pools, though he was pretty drunk and stoned this guy.
We weren´t really doing much in the evenings as I could not drink yet. Though we went to check up on the action in town a bit, lots of hippies playing bongo drums, doing fire shows and that sort of stuff. We had gotten to know two Dutch girls in our hostel that we hanged out with a bit. On New Year’s we went with them in another village called Malpais, where I went surfing and the girls went bodyboarding. The waves were pretty messy, but at least I got one good wave. In the evening we went out for a meal with the Dutch girls. We decided to treat ourselves, but like on Christmas day, we were let down by the expensive food. The local cheap places we go to are always much better, and least then you get will get enough food to be full. At about 22pm I decided that I deserved to have a beer, which turned into 4 beers. Ok I still had 2 days more of antibiotic, but 4 beers on New year’s evening is still pretty good. The girls had made loads of homemade piñacolada, but luckily none of them were very big drinkers so 4 beers was ok. We were mainly hanging out on the main street in Montezuma which was packed with people dancing, drinking etc. The music was pretty bad, but we were still dancing around having a great time. It was not the best new years I have had, but it was pretty good, and it was great to wake up on New year’s day without a hangover.