Published: June 4th 2009June 1st 2009
Touched down in San Jose, Costa Rica and were welcomed by a heavy downpour, this wasn't totally unexpected as it is currently their 'Green' season which generally means high humidity and 'mucho' rain. We didn't hang around in San Jose (as per Lonely Planet suggestion) and caught the early morning bus to Puerto Vieja on the Caribbean side. We arrived at our first palm fringed beach six hours later and were eager to sample the chilled-out Caribbean vibe. Spent the next couple of days exploring on bikes enjoying a scenic ride along the coast to some deserted beaches (all of this whilst listening to the sound of Howler monkeys in the trees and dodging Iguana's and crabs on the road). However, we had been recommended to cross the nearby border into Panama and visit a set of Islands called Bocas del Toro. As usual Lou and I couldn't stay in one place for too long and although this wasn't our original plan, we thought why not and after all it was another stamp in the passport! The border crossing was relatively painless but quite funny as it involved walking precariously across a narrow, disused railway bridge, literally from Costa Rica into
Panama. But what made it even more crazy was that there were caimen (small croc's) peering up at us from the river below. One slip and who know's what might have happened...it almost felt like some sort of challenge from 'I'm a Celebrity' and we wondered how many people 'hadn't' quite made it into Panama!
After a 45 min exhilarating speed boat ride we arrived at Bocas del Toro town in Isla Colon, this was the main hub of the archipelago and was full of colourful colonial style wooden houses with a mixture of West Indian and Latino inhabitants. It was unusual to arrive at an island without a beach in sight (this town was built on wooden jetty's over the water) but you only had to hop on a water taxi and you were whisked off to some amazing beaches. One was called ‘Red Frog Beach’ named after, yep you guessed it, red frogs which inhabited this particular area. These tiny (but poisonous!) spotted frogs are sadly in decline but we were were lucky enough to spot one hiding under a big banana leaf. Another fave was Starfish beach which was a beautiful little stretch of palm fringed
beach that was chocca full of starfish...and also the odd coconut or two! However, our absolute favourite had to be our day trip to the far off Island of Zapatillas. Firstly we stopped off at a great snorkelling spot where the coral was some of the most colourful and pristine we had seen, the best way to describe it was like some kind of multi coloured aquatic garden. Then it was time for the main attraction of Zapatillas which incidentally happens to be the setting for the forthcoming Australian 'Survivor' TV series. It was easy to see why they had chosen this setting, a real Island/Jungle paradise with a bit of a 'Robinson Crusoe' feel about it.
We had a brilliant time in Boca's but it was time to meet up with our friends Yan in Becky in a place called Nosara on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Our arrival was timed perfectly for the Champions League final where we sat and watched Man U get outclassed by Barca (sorry 'Red' fans) whilst sipping on 'Imperial', our favourite Costa Rican coldie! Yan and Becky very kindly put us up for a few day's in their cool little apartment
in the jungle. Lou thought she had seen the last of the creepy crawlies in the Amazon but alas this is still jungle and to her dismay she did see a Scorpion which Yan promptly flattened with his flip flop! The next few day's were very chilled and we had a good dose of surf life, not least when we had our first lesson. You'll be pleased to know that we both managed to ride some 'sic' waves! (surf terminology of course!) Well actually, that is a bit of an exaggeration, we were obviously beginners and so had to stay in the shallower white waters. Still, we did both manage to stand up, so a few points scored there! It was great fun and Nosara was a top spot to learn with it's endless rolling waves and surprisingly warm water, no wetsuit and towel needed here!
Left Central America and headed for Miami for our final couple of day's before heading home and so here we are now on our very final day writing this blog. We should say a few words about Miami which is pretty much everything you would expect...sea, sun, sand, very cool Art Deco buildings
and a few bronzed bodies thrown in. At least now we do finally have a tan and don't feel so much like pastey Gringo's, unlike Rio at the start! This has most definitely been a Honeymoon to remember and we've had the best time! Back to reality now, but looking forward to catching up with you all in Blighty.
See you soon!
Mr & Mrs B
There are more photos below