Punta Uva & Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, Caribbea

Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
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21
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Trip End Apr 06, 2013


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Limon,
Friday, June 8, 2012

Tuesday

The coach ride to Limon was long and warm but the scenery was amazing. We nearly didn't make it as the bus from Santo Domingo got us there with 3 minutes to spare and we didn't even know which bus to catch. We figured it out but realised its nigh on impossible to get by in a country where you don't speak the language....AK is frantically trying to learn Spanish and so far he is doing pretty well.

We were on the bus for about 3 hours when we came to a standstill. We worked out, through people that speak English and Spanish that there had been a serious crash up ahead. We got off the boiling hot bus for some fresh air and was confronted by a cow running up the road! It was the craziest site to see. It was frightened though so SJ was getting worried. People were shouting at it and it was getting confused. It came running past again pretty close and then disappeared again. We heard rumours that people had died in the crash but we are not sure how true this is. We got moving in about 45 minutes which is much quicker than back home!

We got to the hostel and checked in. It's really like being in the jungle as there are no windows so you can see, hear and smell the jungle. We liked it but it isn't for everyone. We made sure to put up our mosquito nets as the insects are just free to come into the rooms.

Wednesday

AK and SJ had a surprisingly good sleep in their single bunk beds under mosquito nets and after AK made scrambled eggs for breakfast they headed to the beach.

The beach was beautiful and the sand was white and clean. Getting into the water was like getting in a warm bath. SJ even braved the 'sea monsters' and got in to ride the waves. We made a school boy error and didn't put sunblock on as it was a little bit cloudy. We would pay for that later. We had a walk up the batch and then went for some lunch back at the hostel.

In the evening AK went to the supermarket to get dinner. He bought pork steaks, bratwurst sausage And beans. He cooked them and we sat down to dinner. SJ didn't have sausage as it looked too much like hotdog but she had the pork and beans which was really nice. AK had everything and after dinner had beers with Scott, an Australian we met at the hostel.

Thursday

Today is SJ's dad's birthday - happy birthday dad/Dave. SJ misses her dad very much and knows he would be so proud of what she is doing. He is definitely with us on this big adventure, keeping an eye on us.

AK has not been too good this morning and has been on the toilet a lot. He is not sure what has caused it but it seems he has an upset stomach. Scott is also not feeling too good so we suspect it may have been the sausage as Scott had the one SJ didn't want. Scott also told us that the ham he bought from the supermarket was 2 weeks out of date and he had eaten a few slices before he realised! After SJ made the school boy error of getting burnt in the sun yesterday at the beach, she is as red as a beetroot. She also has many mosquito bites all over her legs so she is also feeling sorry for herself.

We are going to visit the Jaguar rescue centre as recommended by Beverly. Its a charity that was set up to take in injured and sick wildlife and to try and rehabilitate and release them back into the wild. So we hired bikes, bought water and headed off with Beverly, a nice girl we met at the hostel who is from England and studying in Liverpool.

It was only a 10 minute bike ride but in the blistering and humid heat it was not a pleasant ride. It was definitely worth it though as it only costs $15 each and you get a guided tour that starts with an introduction to all the snakes you can find in Costa Rica, including the poisonous ones! We then went on to see howler monkeys where we actually went into the enclosure and held and played with all these monkeys. SJ loved it but was a little concerned that they would become used to humans and not be scared of them.....this can only be a bad thing??

We also seen a lot of Sloths which SJ fell in love with. They are the cutest little things that are so placid and docile, hence their rather unbecoming name. There were some very young ones who were found by the public without their mum. Who knows if the mum had been killed or the baby had just fallen off their mum. SJ would like to believe the latter.

SJ held a tiny tree frog and we seen many other animals including wild cats, a Tucan with a bust beak, a depressed owl, a white tail deer whose mum got killed just like bambi and who will have to stay at the centre as she is too familiar with humans, hawks, budgies and AK's favourite...Tarantula! AK was feeling pretty rough at this point so after the tour he headed off back to the hostel, and more specifically....the toilet.

SJ cycled into town with Beverly and bought calamine lotion, insect repellant and soup and crackers for AK to eat. By the time she got back to the hostel she was pretty tired and sweaty and even had shaky legs!

In the evening SJ made AK soup and a tuna sandwich but it just made him feel worse! We sat in the common area watching the film V for Vendetta with with Scott, Beverly, Maria the owners daughter and a guy from Chile. It was nice to chill and listen to the rain as there was a mini storm that lasted all of 20 minutes.

Friday
AK was still feeling poorly and was visiting the toilet often so we checked out of our room and chilled in the hostel. AK is starting to morph into the hammock as he has spent so much time in it.

In the afternoon we jumped a taxi to our new hostel in The next town. The hostel seems pretty cool and the rooms are spacious and clean. The beds are double bunk beds so AK is on the top as usual. At this point, getting a good night sleep is more important!

We spent the afternoon on the balcony, AK in another hammock while SJ called her mum and then sat reading. We were watching humming birds and lizards and could see and hear the waves crashing on the beach, beautiful and peaceful and just what the doctor ordered for AK. We think we may stay here a few more nights as so far we like it a lot.

We got talking to a guy called Chris from the US. He is really nice and friendly and has invited us to volunteer at a soup kitchen that feeds local indigenous people so we are going to head off to that in the morning.

SJ was happy to learn that the hostel has a laundry service she has already sorted out two bags of washing for tomorrow!

We are getting an early night again and AK has not had a drink now for two nights on the run....a first in the 8 weeks we have been away.

Saturday

AK & SJ headed out to the house where the soup kitchen is and after a few minutes the rain started! AK doesn't have a waterproof jacket so he got wet, SJ was all dry and snuggly in her 'reduced to clear' bright blue waterproof. We eventually found it and were greeted by a really nice American couple called Barry Stevens and his wife Nancy. They are probably in their late 60s and back in the US had very successful careers but decided to give it all up and move to Costa Rica to set up The Bridge, or El Puente as it was locally known.

The Bridge helps the local indigenous people who live in tribes in the jungle. Some of the things they do is open up their home as a soup kitchen three days a week. They make big pots of soup, coffee, fresh fruit juice, fruit and cake. On the day we were there we had ~30 people come and it was one of the children's birthdays. Nancy had made a chocolate cake with candles and had bought a pile of presents! The indigenous people did not speak any English but they spoke some Spanish. They all come from different tribes and have their own tribal languages. They seemed really grateful and Nancy and Barry had a good relationship with them.

In the evening we went for dinner with Chris and a lad called Josh who we met at the soup kitchen. We went to a Caribbean style restaurant and had coconut rice with beans and Caribbean style beef. It was really nice. After dinner we went to a bar for a few beers and watched the locals salsa dancing. Both the men and women can really dance well and SJ was very impressed. We were sat outside near the beach and were watching a thunder storm out to sea. The lightening was really bright and lit up the sky over the sea.

On the way back to the hostel the lads bought some tropical tobacco of a rasta man which made AK very happy and he stayed up on the balcony having a little smoke with Chris and Josh.

Sunday

AK & SJ had a great lie in and got up and went for some lunch. We were trying to find a place called Bread & Chocolate which sells....bread and chocolate, but we couldn't find it. We stopped off at a little place called Dreadnut that sold fresh fruit juices and coffee and cheesecake. AK got a fruit juice and SJ got a pineapple smoothie. The fruit in Costa Rica is amazing! It's so fresh and sweet and it tastes different to fruit back home.

We then had lunch in another little cafe place but SJ had a feeling that it wasn't too clean, we are there anyway....a decision SJ was later to regret.

We had planned to go to the botanical gardens in the afternoon but it started to rain so we chilled out on the balcony in the hostel. When it rains in Costa Rica you can't do much. In the words of Forrest - Costa rica has every kind of rain there is, Little itty bitty stinging rain, big old fat rain, rain that flys in sideways and sometimes it's seems rain comes straight up from underneath!

We decided to eat at the hostel as the rain didn't let up so we didn't want to go out. The food was a bit expensive but it was nice.

SJ started to feel a bit poorly so she went to bed early. In the night there was the most amazing thunderstorm. The lightening was lighting up our room and the thunder was that loud that it made the bed shake. It was pretty cool listening to it and the rain. AK could sleep through anything but this storm woke him up.

Monday

SJ woke up feeling very poorly and realised, to her horror, that she had a stomach upset. She felt really sick and had lost her appetite (not like SJ at all!)

After the storm the night before it was still raining and just outside the hostel were two huge black vultures sat on the fence. They were soaking wet and looked pretty miserable. We think they were just chilling and riding out the storm. We also seen a huge Iguana perched on the fence.

SJ decided it was best to stay in bed and close to the bathroom so AK went for some breakfast and then sat on the balcony watching the rain and the wildlife. He also watched the England France game and just chilled with Chris. He kept checking on SJ and bringing her drinks. It was a pretty miserable day for SJ and with rain there wasn't much to do.

Tuesday

SJ woke up feeling a lot better but still a bit delicate. We had breakfast at the hostel, AK watched the football and then headed into town for some supplies and some money.

Josh joined us in the afternoon and we headed to the beach. The sand is quite different to the sand at Puerto Uva as it is black from the volcanic ash. It made the beach look dirty but it wasn't and the sand was really soft. SJ just paddled at the edge but AK got straight in and had a swim and battled the waves which were pretty big & powerful. One particularly big wave caught him by surprise and took him under and spun him around. When he emerged he looked a little shell shocked and admitted that he thought his back was going to break! He was ok though and got back in.

After the beach we headed back to the hostel to chill. We bought coconuts from a local who cycles up and down the road selling fresh fruit. He chopped the top off with a huge machete so that we could drink the milk. It was lovely and afterwards we cracked it open further and ate the flesh. It made SJ think back to when she was a kid and the many attempts her and Carl had at cracking open a coconut while Andrew watched on in anticipation. They tried many things but the most successful was putting it on the garage floor and whacking the shell with one of Alan's hammers. Most of the time the hammer just bounced off the shell. When we did manage to crack it open we lost most of the milk. What we really needed was a machete but SJ thinks it was probably a good thing they didn't have one.

We didn't do much else as the rain started again. We had a few drinks with Chris and Josh and AK had a little smoke. SJ had an early night as she was still feeling a bit delicate and she had to pack her backpack as we were leaving the next day.

Wednesday

We got up early, had a shower and headed out to catch the 9am bus back to San Jose. Chris was also catching the same bus and after oversleeping he turned up just in time. We bought tickets and got on the bus. Not long after we got on the bus, a man at the back started to talk pretty loud on his phone. He was really angry and aggressive to the person on the end of the phone. He was talking in English and Russian. At one point he was screaming into the phone and telling the person to shut up and listen to him. He sounded like a psycho! Then he called an airline and completely lost it. This went on for about an hour. It was entertaining but also a bit scary as he sounded crazy! AK and SJ were speculating that he was some sort of drug lord from Russia who had been in Costa Rica setting up a major shipment of cocaine from Columbia via Costa Rica.......I think we have watched too many films!

Other than the constant overtaking on a one lane each way road (this is standard driving technique in Costa Rica and usually occurs whilst the driver is talking on his mobile phone!) the drive back to San Jose was pretty uneventful. We are looking forward to chilling in the Costa Rica Love hostel with Manfred and Maylinge.
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