Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pura Vida - It's Toats Costa

I am a total slacker (and very busy with work these days), but here is the Costa Rica recap by day:

Day 0/1: Slept over TI-83’s the night before we left and made an amazing dinner (tilapia) – I got to sleep on the pullout couch. Our 5am wake up call was no problem because we were so excited. We got a car to New Jersey (barf) and our flight out was at 7am. I sat with TI’s girlfriend Mamadita and we spent the morning flight getting buzzed on Screwdrivers. Once we arrived in CR, we took a public bus from the airport to the city (which we prematurely exited in the middle of nowhere) and arrived at our hostel. It was a bit shocking to be in a room with 3 strangers, sleeping in bunk beds, but I quickly adjusted. We walked around the city for a while (though there was not much to see) and ended up getting dinner at a pub. TI-83 quickly fell asleep so Mamadita and I went up to the bar at the hostel and had some drinks and surprisingly AMAZING quesadillas (this was a consistent and surprising theme in Costa Rica – I LOVED the food there).

Day 2: Another day in San Jose. We quickly realized that this is not a touristy city at all and would highly recommend that if you do this trip, you skip San Jose all together. That being said, we made the most of our day by going to a museum and sitting at an outdoor restaurant people watching. The piazza where the restaurant is was full of street vendors selling great things like colored bra straps, skip-its, and “MUSICA MUSICA” (cds). Another fantastic day 2 realization was that we could withdrawal 100,000 in local Colones and that was about $200 USD – BALLIN. That night, we stayed at the same hostel, playing cards, and drinking. We called it a night a bit early in anticipation of the next morning.

Day 3: This was the first day of a 2-day rafting trip that we were taking. We got in a shuttle and took a 2 hour drive to the Rio Pacuare. Once at the river, the 3 of us, one guide, and a rescue kayaker die 18 miles in class 1 and 2 rapids until we reached our camp. Throughout the day, we were also able to hike up some waterfalls and jump off of rocks into the water. Our camp was total Swiss Family Robinson and very VIP. There was no electricity and it reminded me of the show Land of the Lost when the nighttime fog started rolling in. There was nothing more relaxing then falling asleep in a hammock under a roof in the pouring rain (rainforests are, in fact, rainy).

Day 4: We woke up early to the most delicious breakfast that I have ever tasted (prepared by our guides Ivan and Graybean) – then embarked on some more rafting. We were able to get out of the raft and hike up more waterfalls. About half way through the day, we started hitting some serious Class 4 rapids. On one rapid, TI-83 fell completely out of the raft and had to be rescued by a kayak. The trip was exhausting but well worth it! That night, we were on to La Fortuna – a town that is well-known for having an active volcano towering over it. The hostel was really nice and we had a private room/bathroom (yay).

Day 5: We woke up early for our 7am pickup to go canyoning (rappelling). We rappelled down 4 waterfalls and one cliff. (The highest waterfall was 185 feet high! We are so extreme). One of our instructors was named (nicknamed?) Cowface – he asked me if I had a boyfriend in the US and if I wanted a Costa Rican boyfriend. Of course, I had to be obnoxious and say that I wanted him to be my CRBF. He took this REALLY seriously and offered to drive the three of us to the volcano in his personal vehicle later that day. Since TI-83 was egging him on the entire time, I decided that he would have to get me out of this. I ran away like a 10 year old girl while my trusty travel buddy/pimp let Cowface down gently. This was only after I was forced to awkwardly sit next to my suitor for a 30 minute van ride thanks to TI. Later that day, we decided to go on a horseback ride up the volcano to see a waterfall. My horse was named Paccharo, but I kept calling him Pikachu. This did not please him which is why he constantly tried to trot or gallop so that I would fall off (great pictures of my face posted on TI’s facebook if you want a good laugh). Once we got up to the waterfall, our guide said that we would take a “short hike” to go swimming. TI and I decided to make the hike barefoot and in swim suits. MAJOR MISTAKE. By “short-hike” our guide really meant hour long trek through the rainforest down the side of a cliff … fyi always wear shoes on anything called a hike. The waterfall was beautiful and the swim was refreshing.

Day 6: We spent the majority of the day in a van on the way to Monte Verde – a GORGEOUS region that looks like the Sound of Music. That being said – please keep in mind should your travels ever take you to Costa Rica that the drivers are insane and the roads are not paved … at all. When we got the Monte Verde, we went to a zip lining tour which was amazing. We did 11 zip lines and even had the chance to do a “superman” line where the pullies were strapped to our backs like we were flying – completely amazing and totally recommended.

Day 7: This was my least favorite day, but a means to an AMAZING end. We spent 7 hours in one of the death-trap vans getting to Montezuma. Montezuma is a beautiful and charming little beach town. Our hotel was gorgeous and right on the beach. That night, we had guaro (CR’s national liquor), cheese, and fruit for dinner right outside of our room and fell asleep early after some seashell searching on the beach.

Day 8: We woke up early for breakfast and some beachtime and then headed to town to meet up with our surf instructors. All 3 of us were able to stand up on the surf boards, and we all managed to get major sunburn even though we were wearing SPF 50. While our instructors were washing off the surfboards, we saw a Howler Monkey … I was VERY impressed by the wildlife living in the bamboo.

Day 9: Sadly, this was the end of our beach time, but like the VIPs that we were on this trip, we chartered a speedboat from Montezuma to Jaco Beach to get back to San Jose (instead of the 10 hour bus ride). We returned back to our original hostel and spent one more night before our flight out on day 10.

All in all, this was the vacation that I had always dreamed of – lots of adventure and an amazing time. It is definitely something that I will never forget!

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