From the Beach to the Mountains: Gringo Style

Published: July 26th 2012
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The last day in Nicaragua, we hiked up to the giant Jesus statue over looking San Juan Del Sur and stayed till sunset. The view from top was absolutely gorgeous! All I could see were endless coves, bays, beaches, and jungle in all direction. Jesus definitely has some prime real estate on top of that mountain. We finished the night off with some local rum and by morning, my new Dutch friends went north and I parted south to the Costarican border via a chicken bus completely packed with Ticos and Nicas. Of course, as soon as I get off the bus to walk the ~1km across the border it starts to rain. By the time I reached Costa Rica I was completely drenched. With the help of some locals, I was able to find a bus to Liberia where I transferred to a bus heading to Playa Tamarindo. I reached Tamarindo by night, grabbed dinner with some locals I met on the bus (it was a long bus ride), and slept at the first hostel I saw. Tamarindo was not what I imagined. Im deep into Gringo territory! There are way too many Americans, shopping malls, multistory buildings, and resorts. Not to mention everything here is extremely expensive... makes me wish I stayed in Nicaragua. But, on the up side, they do have great surf! In the morning, I rented a surfboard and walked south on the beach to Playa Langosta. It was fun with head high waves and surprisingly not too many people in the water. Later that day I moved to a much better hostel and spent the night in the town with some other backpackers. Not wanting to spend a weeks budget in one day, I took the bus inland to the cloud forest aiming to make to Monte Verde by night. I made it from Tamarindo to Liberia to CaƱas to Tilaran. According to my travel guide book, there should have been a 4pm bus to Monte Verde but they have changed the schedule and I had to wait till the next day. Luckily, a Swiss girl made the same mistake and we both took the morning bus to La Fortuna ( I would have to spend another half day in this tiny village if I wanted to go straight to Monte Verde). La Fortuna has been great so far. Much cheaper then Playa Tamarindo, and feels more Costarican. We did a 5 km hike to La Fortuna waterfall which was absolutely stunning. Unlike most waterfalls I have visited, this one falls in the middle of the pool so you can swim around it. This is also the first time I have felt just a bit cold on this entire trip. It has been an unfamiliar feeling through out Central America and it makes me very happy to feel temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

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