Published: December 3rd 2008December 3rd 2008
Rain, rain go away, come again some other day! Well, it´s finally hit us. The unseasonable torrential downpours which other travellers have been warning us about for weeks during our travels in CR and Nica have finally hit us too. Our plan for our remaining 10 days in CR was the Osa Peninsula and Carribean Coast but torrential rain in these areas (theoretically it´s now the dry season!) has caused such severe flooding, it´s virtually impossible to travel around there. We made it down to Puerto Jimenez in the Osa Peninsula, one of the most remote and unvisited areas of CR (and supposedly one of the best!) and organised ourselves a little independent 3-day hike, bought mosquito nets, 50 bucks worth of food, the whole shebang. There was torrential rain literally all night before we were due to go, but it was like that the night before as well and the next day wasn´t too bad. We got up at 4:40am to catch the bus into the park, still torrential rain, got absolutely soaked walking the two blocks to the bus station. After an hour in the back of the "bus" (read 4WD pick-up cattle track with bench seats and a
tarpaulin), we hit a massive flood in the road (which was before the actual river crossing we were supposed to make - apparently a car was already trapped in that one) and our "bus" had to turn around and take us back. So we had an option - try and stick it out until the next day, with rumours that at least 5 more days of heavy rain was expected in the area, or cut our losses and go somewhere else. Needless to say we chose the latter!
Unfortunately, most of CR is now experiencing this weather (along with Panama and few other places) and we've already visited the drier areas. We thought about still going to the Bay Islands in Honduras for diving but the forecast isn't too crash hot there either and we've met many travellers who have been over the last few weeks and told us the visibility is really bad due to the weather. About two weeks of good weather is needed for the visibility to clear up, so not a great option there either.
So, we came straight to San Jose with the intention of saying farewell to Central America ASAP to make
the most of our remaining trip. TACA, our lovely local airline with whom all our flights are booked with, had 3 attractive options for us to change our flights to: Cuba (way, way too expensive unfortunately), the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico (we don´t trust the weather there either), so back to California it is. We´ve always wanted to go to Yosemites, San Fran, etc so now's the time! We have 10 days, so we should be able to make a nice circle from LA, up the coast to Big Sur, San Fran, maybe Lake Tahoe and then Yosemites and back to LA. We've locked in the car and GPS, the weather is a decent sunny and 20 degrees, so California here we come!
A few final notes on CR
- We were amused and amazed to see a Canadian guy join us on the pick-up truck in Osa carrying the smallest backpack ever (barely a day pack for a city walk), a tiny tiny tent and a bag of apples. Also, he was wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and skater shoes. After a chat on the truck, turns out he was also intending on doing the 3-day hike and didn't think he'd bother with any waterproof clothing. We've never seen someone look more woefully under-prepared than this guy!
- Before coming to the Osa Peninsula we went to Manuel Antonio NP, CR's favourite park apparently. It's not hard to see why either; very accessible, tiny in area with easy walking tracks, beautiful beaches backed by the tropical NP and tons and tons of wildlife. We saw loads of monkeys (squirrel, spider and howlers), our first sloth, turtles, stacks of iguanas etc.
- Costa Rica is a really lovely country. It is literally green, tropical, jungle, everywhere! Despite a lot of concern about the rate of development in the country, it still feels like an untouched paradise of endless national parks. The people are friendly, travel is safe, with cheap, reliable buses (a blessing after some of our previous bus experiences elsewhere!) and we've really enjoyed it here. We´re even still enjoying gallo pinto! (stirfried beans and rice). So long, farewell!
There are more photos below