The only England fan in Costa Rica
Trip Start Apr 23, 2012
11Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
Despite being in this tropical paradise, finding a place to watch the European Cup qualifiers has overruled all other activity. Paul's just managed to persuade the hotel owner to open the bar early for the England game so I thought i'd do a bit of an update...
After a lovely send-off from our friend Kaboe in LA (more of which soon) we left for LAX airport in good time to get the red-eye to San Jose, only for the airline to point-blank refuse to check us in.
We couldn't prove we'd be leaving the country within 90 days and without an onward ticket we'd apparently be deported as soon as we got there!
The actual journey was uneventful fortunately, and so, on the advice of pretty much every guide book, blog and person we'd consulted, we skipped Costa Rica's capital San Jose on arrival and went straight to a place called La Fortuna about 4 hours away.
There we splashed about in some waterfalls and at dusk we soaked in the hot springs the area is famous for, the water heated naturally by an active volcano that can be seen(clouds permitting) from almost every part of town.
On a jungle hike we were told that bits of Jurassic Park were filmed in La Fortuna too, which might've been a bit of spin from the tour guide but it certainly looked the part.
3 days later we travelled via bus, boat and another bus up some seriously winding dirt roads to the cloud forests of Monteverde
On the way the bus driver suddenly stopped, got out and picked up a stray 'baby' boa constrictor from the roadside and then brought the angry snake to the window for a closer look freaking out all the passengers... the first of many animal encounters. Other slightly more farcical ones included a night trek where we ended up actually running through the jungle to try and see a sloth as the guide yelled "Hurry! He's getting away!!!"
I had a stand-off with giant frog who was guarding the toilet door the other night (he hopped off eventually) and a couple of days ago, after Paul carefully zipped up his backpack & tied it to a tree before going for a swim, a raccoon crept up, unzipped it and ran off with a bag of nuts.
On our last day in Monteverde we unwittingly ended up hundreds of feet above the trees, zip-lining through the forest canopy in Selvatura Park. We were holding on too tight to take any photos, but we found a video on YouTube of the same thing. I say "unwittingly" because the disclaimer form we blithely signed was in spanish and it turned out the tour lasted for 3 hours, and there wasn't just one, but 18 different zip-lines, the longest of which was a kilometer long and really bloody high up.
Before I got the hang of it I ran out of steam on one lineand despite willing myself along, ground to a halt about 10 metres short of the end & had to hang there above the trees until someone came to rescue me
Right now we're in a place called Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast. It's all tropical and green & gorgeous, and, just like the other places we've been to, it's super expensive and geared so heavily towards us tourists, it's been hard to see Costa Rica beyond it.
At the time of writing & in an attempt to curb our spending we've just stayed in a $10 a night hovel (no that's not a typo, i do mean hovel) which has the cheek to call itself Backpacker's Paradise. Somehow this depressing little place has even made in into Lonely Planet, which we're about to give up on due to it's rubbish recommendations.
The huge consolation is we're within walking distance to beautiful beaches, (though the nicest ones are within the boundaries of the National Park, so that's a $10 entrance fee to get to them... Ker-Ching!), we're surrounded by amazing wildlife (not too keen on the frogs though), and for a few extra dollars we've just found a place to stay up the road which has a pool and is actually clean.
This country is beautiful, but it's been tricky on a budget, especially in the these most touristy areas...definitely a contender for an amazing posh holiday though if anyone's thinking about it!