Blogs from San José, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean

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Marshall and I had an uneventful flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. We were pleased with our hotel where we have a ninth floor room that has floor to ceiling windows overlooking this city of 2 million people. We went for a walk in hopes of finding some great local cuisine. Instead, we found Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, and a strip club. Back at the hotel restaurant, we had a lovely meal while watching the soccer coverage. Since Costa Rica is still in the competition, there are Costa Rican flags flying from cars and businesses; the excitement is running high! We had a "group meeting" of the 41 people on this tour and received our instructions for tomorrow. I prefer to orchestrate my trips and travel independently instead of riding a bus around ... read more


===English version below=== De dagen vliegen voorbij in ons paradijsje. Tom werd zelfs al een jaartje ouder. Ideaal om een restaurant op te zoeken. We gingen op stap met Rick, Tracy en Helga. Lekker eten, wijn op tafel en een uniek zicht. Iets om aan terug te denken. Geen wijn in overvloed nog keuze in de winkels. We drinken wijn uit tetra-briks. De kater staat mee op de foto! Er blijft onverwachts dierenbezoek opdagen op onze finca. Ineens een hert in de tuin, een slang in het kippenhok die wel een kipje lust als ontbijt. De hondjes genieten van onze dagelijkse wandeling op het domein. Wij genieten minder van hun nachtelijk geblaf. Het regenseizoen is begonnen en praktisch elke namiddag krijgen we hier klank- en lichtshow. ‘s Morgens puffen en zweten, in de namiddag afkoeling en ... read more
bananen voorraad - our stock of bananas
birthday kid
May 1st Tom's birthday


The next day we have a long drive back to San Jose on the public bus. The temperatures have rocked up to 37 degrees and it's going to seem like a lot longer journey as a result. Fortunately there's plenty space on the bus so I get a seat to myself and can rearrange my legs so they kind of fit! I can hardly believe my travels in Costa Rica are nearly over. It's been such a whirlwind tour - I've seen and done so much. Again, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel all this way across the world to experience something so different to what I know at home. As always on these trips I'll come away enriched and changed. We seem to hug the ocean for miles and miles ... read more
It actually went up to 37 degrees and finished up at 27 degrees in San Jose!


===English version below=== We nemen afscheid van Dennis en vertrekken kort na de middag richting Quizarrá. Toch weer een lange busreis, het is bijna donker op het moment dat we in de dichtstbijzijnde stad, San Isidro de El General, aankomen. In San Isidro nog een overnachting boeken of het erop wagen? We nemen een taxi en gaan op zoek in het pikdonker. Eerst wel nog langs de supermarkt want in Quizarrá zijn er eigenlijk geen winkels. We leggen in ons beste Spaans uit waar we moeten zijn en wonder boven wonder vinden we Finca Granadilla Silvestre. God heeft ons bijgestaan volgens de chauffeur, Costa-Ricanen zijn heel gelovig. Wij bevestigen zijn oordeel, we willen de vriendelijke man niet tegenspreken. Cindy heet ons welkom. Zij is net als de eigenaars Canadese en heeft hier het voorbije jaar 3 ... read more
Aracari
Inkom - Entrance
Lineated Woodpecker


Getting around Costa Rica often involves going in and out of San Jose, at least if you use public transport. We had two stays in the capital and on both occasions we stayed in a trendy art-deco hostel/guest house just off Parque National. The city is probably the most modern we have visited in central America and is heavily influenced by US culture with notable brands cropping up everywhere; Wendy’s, KFC, taco-bell, Wall mart and McDonalds to name a few. The city was bustling and feeling very vibrant during our visit; we were visiting during the Easter holidays which also coincided with the FIA14 International Arts festival and made for a busy and crowded, but fun experience; not ones to turn down a festival we got involved with a few of the events going on in ... read more
Central San Jose
Feeding the humming birds
Male Hercules beetle

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Hola! from San Jose in Costa Rica. I am here in the first part of my central and south american adventure. I left Stuart in New York and flew to LA where I spent a day in Hollywood. My hostel was right on hollywood boulevard where the hall is fame is found, stars with famous poeple's names scattered on the pavement. It was crazy busy there all day long with people performing and people dressed up as different characters. The shopping is great there so I would recommend it just for that! My flight was over night and what I didn´t realise when I got on my plane that it would be landing first in Guatemala! I panicked and thought I had got on the wrong plane but thought surely I wouldn´t have been let on! ... read more
I´m guessing this a colonial building.
Art in San Jose
San Jose festival


Having spent a sleep, wake, sleep, wake kind of night - some of it down to my body clock getting confused by the seven hour time difference and the rest due to an American woman deeming it necessary that the entire hotel heard her travel arrangements for the next day accompanied by raucous laughter at 3am - I wasn't exactly pleased to find out from reception that my travel company had switched hotels last minute and not bothered to tell me! I deposited my bags in reception and vowed not to let it ruin my day and worry about it later. I set off, map in hand, to look for the National Theatre where I met the lovely Eric for my day tour which was to include hiking through the jungle followed by a chocolate tour. ... read more
Sloth
Jungle flowers
Green Iguana


At this point Eric leaves me in the hands of a crooked toothed guide and a bunch of geriatric Americans.The guide proceeds to pick up a poisoned dart frog so I begin to doubt his sanity for one and ability to explain the chocolate process for another. On the way to the tour he tells a tall tale about Theobrama, some god of food who loved chocolate so much he turned the woman he loved into a cacao tree. I decide to keep my distance! We arrive at the demo area and sit ourselves on tiered seats to watch the demonstration begin. We are shown a tiny blossom that in the space of just six months turns into a cacao fruit the size of a melon. When humans saw animals eating these fruits they decided to ... read more
Cacao fruit's seeds and pulp
Seven day fermenting tray
Fermenting cacao beans


After the excellent chocolate tour I say goodbye to the aged Americans some of whom were actually really lovely and friendly, and meet up again with Eric and we decide to explore some more of the reserve before lunch. First spot is a groovy stick insect - evolution is frickin' awesome! I also manage to get a great photo of a bejewelled lizard before it flickers off into the undergrowth. It is so warm and humid yet we start to feel spots of rain attempting to penetrate the jungle canopy. We reach another suspended bridge and half way over Eric clocks something and trains his scope on another surprise creature I never would have spotted otherwise. This time the scope brings into view two incredible little bats clinging upside down to the tree bark. They are ... read more
Long nosed fruit bats
Pretty flowers waiting to catch people on the trail
The geocache tree was a bit like this one


Our Arrival We arrived on the Tica Bus from Panama City. The Tica bus station is in a new building in the West of the City, not near the Supreme Court as our lonely planet said. It is on Avenue 3, transvera 26 near the other bus stations in the North West. There is a Tica Hotel in the bus terminal. We needed to book our TransNica bus to Mangua for the following day so we walked a couple of blocks to do this and the new Tica location was a lot handier. Where We Stayed Hotel el Dorado - just around the corner from the TransNica bus terminal on Avenue 5 Calle 22 Frene al Bar Pecos Bill. $24 for a double room with bathroom, hot showers and TV. We had a bus at 5am ... read more




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