Published: July 6th 2012July 6th 2012
Let's just say we are not on our way to becoming master travel bloggers! Strap in, this is going to be a long one.... Corcovado continued
We were picked up for our boat ride to Corcovado Reserve at 6:20a, a beautiful 1 hour ride to the Reserve along the Pacific Coast. What an amazing place! Walking through the rainforest we were able to see a Tapir lounging in a mud pit (largest mammal in Central America), toucans, scarlet macaws, a Grand Curacao (largest bird in Costa Rica), and all four types of monkeys: squirrel, howler, capuchin, and spider (Sky witnessed a couple squirrel monkeys gettin' busy). When we stopped at the banks of the Rio Claro for lunch we saw a crocodile in the river, and Sky was very excited to see tailing snook as the tide rolled in. After a long, choppy ride back to the tent camp we had about a 20 minute rest before Selso (staff member at the tent camp) asked if we wanted to go fishing. We thought Selso was going to be the one taking us on the boat to go fishing, instead it was his 14-year-old son Robbie captaining the boat! He
was an amazing boat driver, we were intially disappointed that we were just trolling for Mackeral, and after no success Sky convinced Robbie to take us back into a small bay so he could fly fish. Sky was able to hook into a beautiful Snook, which made for an amazing dinner that night! He fed the two of us, and Selso's entire family, with Selso eating the head. It was fun to watch Robbie posing for pictures on the beach with the Snook, he was quite happy to give the people on the beach the idea he caught it, his smile was a mile wide!
We left Corcovado Tent Camp at 7a on a colectivo (water taxi) back to Sierpe so we could catch the bus to San José. We got on the "express" bus, geared up for a 7-hour ride with limited leg room, no AC and a jackass German tourist in front of Sky that insisted on reclining his seat all the way back! We were both a little irritated when after only a half an hour on the bus we stopped at a bus station for an extended lunch break! Regardless it was a scenic ride
crossing big valleys on some amazing long span bridges. San José:
We checked into Hostel Pangea, a great upbeat hostel with a nice pool, great deck, good food, and HOT showers! Amen! We dropped our stuff in our room and set out to check out San José. We saw more people in 20 minutes than we had the previous three weeks in Costa Rica! We didn't see too much of San José, just the main plaza, central market and pedestrian mall. Later that evening we ran into Pete and Rose, friends we had met on the way to Corcovado, they were staying at Pangea as well. We had a great night with them drinking and trading stories of traveling. The next morning we killed some time before hopping on a bus for a 5 1/2 hour trip up to Monteverde. The bus drivers cruise about 65+ mph on two lane roads, we figured being seated toward the back of the bus gave us the best chance of survival in case of a head-on collision! We arrived in Monteverde around 7p after a grueling slow and bumpy ride up the last 23km of the mountain road. I was happy
"I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!"
it was dark as I didn't want to see the drop offs on the side of the road! Monteverde
Checked into Monteverde Backpackers, a small noisy hostel, but good enough for one night. We dumped our stuff and cruised town. We ended up at the Monteverde hotspot, Amigos, which initially was dead, but within a short amount of time the place filled up with 50+ American teenagers dancing to all of the hits of Justin Beber, we started drinking heavily at this point. It was quite fun watching the chaperones getting loaded on beer and taking crazy pictures that they would surely regret in the morning. Changed accomodations the next morning to a place with a kitchen and great views of the cloud forest. It was so refeshing to be at 4200 feet! Cool air, manageable humidity, and some cloud cover. It was crazy to see both pine trees and palm trees on the mountainside! We went to an orchid garden that morning, and were amazed at just how small the orchids are, the majority of them being smaller than your thumbnail! I learned that the vanilla bean is actually the seed pod of an orchid. Saw a
kickass bug on a leaf that looks like it has a skull made out of gold armour on its back! Went on a night hike that evening. Our guide Alex took us on the speed hike version. I suspect we looped around the same trail 20 times. We saw huge walking sticks, a green viper in a tree, scorpions and a sloth. We got the best views of a sloth cruising along a power line when we got back to town! He was actually quite fast!
The next morning we went to Extremo! zip lining tour. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing this was. Here are some of the details of the course: 15 cables, including 5 long ones (one over 1km long), cables at a height between 225-540ft above the canopy, a rappel of 90ft, a tarzan swing and the option of going "Superman style" on the 1km cable! Zip lining couldn't have been more fun and safe. I just about crapped my pants on the tarzan swing. You were strapped into a different harness, told to stand on the end of a platform and step off! I thought that the instant you stepped of
the rope would grab you and begin to swing. No, there was a 20ft free-fall, then the swing took you out over this big ravine, you were able to swing five or six times before they brought you back in. So much fun!!! On the last cable both Sky and I decided to go Superman style. This was the longest and highest cable of the course, it was quite an experience to be staring straight down into the canopy/valley below while going who knows how fast suspended by only your chest and feet! Time and money well spent! Later that evening we went on a frog pond tour, was great to see and learn about the poison dart frogs. Those little guys have enough poison in them to kill 10 humans!
We went to Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve the next morning. A beautiful hike, but we were suprised that we saw very little wildlife, only some bugs and hummingbirds. We did however see our first glimpse of Arenal volcano. Spent that night hanging out in the common area going through a bottle of vodka and cranberry juice, met Bill, a retired lawyer from MS that now guides private
tours for people throughout Central America. A great travel resource for us. After talking extensively with him we've now decided to head up to El Salvador and Guatamala!
I knew I had too much vodka the night before when I couldn't stomach to eat the onion, pepper and cheese omelet with bacon Sky cooked the morning we left, still regretting that one! We took a beautiful, scenic jeep ride from Monteverde to the shores of Lake Arenal, we then boarded a boat that took us across the lake at which time we boarded another jeep which tool us to La Fortuna! 3 hours total travel time. La Fortuna:
We had great views of the volcano the entire time we were driving to La Fortuna, just a few puffs of smoke coming out of the top. We were a little disappointed in how far off the lake the town is, so figured Sky's quest for a Rainbow bass would need to continue from a different location. We arrived at Arenal Backpackers, all of the rooms were booked, so we had to spend the night in a pretty basic tent with no fan. Great place though, pool, good wifi,
bar. We upgraded our accomdations the next morning. We then set out on a hike to La Catarata de la Fortuna waterfall. A 7km hike, uphill all the way! Once arriving at the waterfall we then had to climb down 480 steps to reach the falls. Spectacular falls, very refreshing to dip in the pools, the power of the falls was quite intimidating. Once the tour groups cleared out we had the place to ourselves! Once again Sky was quite intrigued by the fish in the pools! After a grueling 480 steps back up neither of us were looking forward to the 7km hike back, so we hitched a ride back to town. We took a little siesta, then regrouped and went to Baldi Hot Springs. Beautiful mineral springs ranging in temperature from 89 - 152 degrees! There were tube water slides that would never be allowed in the US due to their speed, steepness and number of casualties coming out of the tubes! They provided great entertainment for those of us posted up at the bottom. After a drenching rain and lightning storm which lasted about 45 minutes we again pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was
This one had an affinity for Sky's head and junk. Dumb bird.
at this time that Sky treated me to his own version of "Flashdance" under one of the lighted waterfalls. Email me if you'd like the video. Nuevo Arenal
We decided to move on to Nuevo Arenal from La Fortuna because it is situated on the banks of Lake Arenal which makes it easier for Sky to catch a Rainbow bass. After a one hour bus ride we arrive in Nuevo Arenal, right after getting off the bus, a man who can only be described as a German Sideshow Bob gives us a recommendation on where to stay and eat. We cruised down to the lake, stopping to eat a chocolate muffin at German Sideshow Bob's bakery. We ran into Captain Ron who gave Sky some tips on how to fish the lake, his recommendations didn't prove very fruitful though. Met an American elementary school girl from Fort Collins on our walk home, what a small world.
OK, if you can't tell I'm a little blogged out. Sky will be posting next as he has the biggest news to tell about the most recent part of our adventure, just before we crossed over into Nicaragua. Traveling is great,
I will never take paved roads, ability to do laundry at the drop of a hat, or hot showers for granted again! I would readily trade one of my Neutrogena lip glosses for some tater tots or peanut butter butter M&Ms!
We hope all of you are well, have a sip of your cold, icy beverage for me! FYI, Sky is still growing his mustache, ensuring me that it'll reach its full potential in two weeks. Yeesh.
Love to you all! Becky and Sky
There are more photos below