Costa Rica - aptly named

Published: January 25th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

San Juan del Sur has a beautiful white sandy beach and clear, warm water. There are palm-thatched restaurants on the shoreline, while up above the little town there's 'Pelican Eyes' - a private resort with three infinity pools, with bars to match. After all our travels it was delightful to laze by one of the pools as the sun set, and then to ease down to the shore for lobster ceviche followed by grilled sea bass. We could have happily spent more time here, but Costa Rica called. As ever, the border crossing was confused and chaotic. Leaving the bus, we were quickly mobbed by money-changers, people offering to carry our luggage, others trying to sell the (free) forms needed to exit Nicaragua and many more unwanted 'helpers'. There were no official signs showing where to go / what to do, but we followed the other gringo travellers and after a long wait we entered clean, calm, prosperous-looking Costa Rica where you can drink the water. water....bliss after 2 months on bottled! We stayed in St Elena, Monteverde where we walked in a cloud forest reserve and tried the disconcertingly named 'Extremo' zipline. Fifteen cables, 5 of which were long (the longest over 1 km) at heights between 225 and 550ft. We had to rappel down 90ft, and there was a 'Tarzan Swing' where you jumped (or were pushed!) from a platform 60 metres (196ft) high. A definite adrenaline rush. The next day we moved to La Fortuna, at the base of Volcan Arenal, where we took it easy in a hot springs resort. Quite beautiful. 18 natural hot pools surrounded by tropical vegetation, with temperatures ranging from cool to 98 degrees, a water slide where we happily reverted to childhood, 2 poolside bars, 4 restaurants, clear starry skies, and an excellent dinner. We also went to Las Chilles , close to the Nicaraguan border, and took a boat ride on the Rio Frio. Stacks of wildlife - egrets, kingfishers, cormorants, amazon swallows, herons, vultures, snake birds, howler monkeys, whitefaced monkeys, Jesus lizards (they can run on water), and mean-looking caymans - a super day. South again to San Jose, with some excellent museums (more gold than we've seen in our lives - see photos below), where one-by-one we said goodbye to our companions with whom we'd travelled from Guatemala some weeks ago. We hope we'll meet all up again in some corner of the world! One note of caution about using bank debit cards in Central America. Separately, both our debit cards were cloned while using the same ATM in Antigua, Guatemala and our respective accounts later emptied by fraudsters, one in Bogota, Colombia and the other in Lima, Peru. The cards were in our posession the whole time, and we've no idea how they found out our PINs, but trying to contact our banks in the UK and USA was time-consuming, frustrating and expensive. Six hours time difference didn't help, there were no replies to e-mails and the supposed toll-free telephone lines didn't work. Our experience is not unique - we met a Norwegian lady who'd had exactly the same experience. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary at the BAC ATM we used, but one way to keep track is to use internet banking and regularly check that all withdrawals are genuine. Forewarned is forearmed! We leave for Peru tomorrow, so more to follow. Hasta luego!

Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 24


25th January 2011

Your wonderful trip notes make me "homesick" for glorious Costa Rica. And I'm dumbfounded at your adventuresome spirits--one simple zipline did it for me but you undertook the max--whew! Thanks, too, for the warning on the use of debit cards, and feliz viaje!
26th January 2011

Onward and upward - or the reverse?
So sorry you had the nuisance of the debit card - so many canny crooks out there. Wasn't CR wonderful? I just know you walked the same bridges we did last year in the cloud forest- did you find the secret note I left you ??? Maybe that rascal monkey took it! We are off to Tucson next week - and won't like it one bit without you, Mare. Dianne has surgery on Tuesday so we will be visiting her in the hospital - probably can't take her any wine either - and not able to spend an evening with her unfortunately. She is eagerly following your blog. Love you both, Margy
26th January 2011

Had such a great time with you guys! Wishing you much fun and safety as you continue your trip! Look forward to catching up with you again in Radelaide! XX
26th January 2011

Have you ever seen such gold gold???? Looked almost unreal to me, and with so much there almost as though the Gold Museum had manufactured their own artifacts!
30th January 2011

Your travels
Hola Mary and Bob, Wow! I am greatly enjoying reading about your spectacular trip. What an interesting and exciting time you are having. Not sure if I'd have the courage for zip wires. The latest lot sounded particularly bowel watering - longer than 1km! Someone is having a laugh. The photographs are wonderful, too. Such beautiful scenery, wildlife and local art works. Sorry to hear about your card troubles. Crooks put small cameras in the tops of ATMs and film you putting in your PIN, which they then match up with your card details. To protect against that always cover your hand when putting in your PIN so that it can't be seen from above. (I learnt that when I did Jury Service in the summer. Not a total waste of 2 weeks.) I look forward to reading your next blog from Peru. Ursula
3rd April 2011
San Juan del Sur - infinity pool

oh my lord!
I hadn't seen this one either-It's beautiful! How wonderful. Infinity pools are just gorgeous . lovely cx
3rd April 2011
Tough life!

I love this
3rd April 2011
Volcan Arenal in background


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