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Published: February 18th 2011
Finca de Magdalena was about a Km from where we got off the bus in Balgue. Dario went and hired a bike to ride to the farm and ask for availability and prices. He returned a while later... bloody and dirty!! He had managed to hit a rock coming down the hill and went over his handlebars. Nurse Jess had the task of cleaning and bandaging! The patient meanwhile got offered spirits from the locals and bought himself a beer to manage the pain. A farmer from Magdalena came and met us later on his horse to take our big bags up the hill so we didnt have to carry them all the way, which was luck,y, it was further than I thought! The farm was just what we needed, hammocks on a large deck looking out at a beautiful view. They had their own restaurant you could order any time of day and we just kicked back and chilled out for 2 nights there, didnt even leave the premises.
We then decided we should get our asses into gear and head off the island. We caught the 7am bus back to Moyogalpa and had brekky while waiting for the 10am
ferry back to san jorge. We caught a taxi to Rivas and arrived in time for a bus to be leaving to San Juan Del Sur. Unfortunately we hadnt realised just how popular San Juan was with tourists, all the hostels were full, we couldnt find anywhere to stay!!!!! so we sat and had lunch and then while i minded the bags Dario went searching. He came back after 2 mins having found a cute little hotel that was half empty, only reason is its nowhere near where the bus drops you off, so obviously less people go this way. I was only half a block from the beach, prime position, so it was great! The beach is a swimming beach, not a surf beach, but many people come here to surf as there are beaches with no accomodation nearby that have great surf. We went for a swim in the arvo and managed to get black sand everywhere! We had dinner at sunset, it was beautiful! Lovely pizza and wine with a sunset over the pacific ocean! Nice way to end our time in Nicaragua.
Next morning we packed up and headed to the bus stop. We took a
bus back to Rivas and then on to the border! The border crossing was massive and very spread out, we had to pay our municipality fee, then a tip to get the immigration form we needed, then $4 each to get the passport stamped out of Nicaragua. Then walk about a km to the Costa Rican border control (after being stopped by nicaraguan security and told we had to pay 100Cordobas, but i argued we´d already paid at the stamping of our passports and they eventually let us through without a bribe-we hadnt got a receipt from the stamp guy) and got the forms for free and waited. Very easy process in costa rica once you got to the front of the line. We were suposed to have a print out of the ticket we had bought onward to Cuba but didnt but they just asked when and where we were leaving the country. We waited an hour for the bus to Liberia where we had decided to stay and on we went. Leaving Chicken buses behind, all the buses at the border here were more luxurious-but no aircon.
In Liberia we stayed at the Liberia Hotel right next to
Parque Central. We were hungry as we hadnt eaten lunch and since we were given a free drink voucher at the hotel for a pizzeria we wanted pizza, but they were shut until 6. In fact most places were shut! one bigger restuarant was open looking out over the park, so we had 2 of the best batidos we´ve had in the trip and a plate of fries and fried frankfurt which was a little odd. Later we made it to the pizzeria and had some amazing strawberry daiquiris that were our free drink, and a pretty damn good woodfired pizza. We hung out at parque central and got some bad icecream and then later some more take away batidos... they were so delicious!!!! from the same restaurant as before. Prices in costa rica are more than in Nicaragua, but not too much more.
Next day the plan was to make it to Monteverde- at about 10am we were leaving the hotel and read a sign with the instructions on how to get there... we were supposed to be on a 9am bus as the only connection from a town called Tilaran to Monteverde leaves at 12.30!!! we raced to
the bus station and thought we could make it... we got to Tilaran at 12.50 and the bus had gone! So we had to stay the night and wait till the 12.30 bus the next day. We stayed at Tilaran Hotel and went for a walk up to a hill with a gant cross on it behind the town. It only took half an hour to get up there, dodging cow pats on the way. It was so windyup the top though that it was pusing us off balance! it was crazy! But it made us understand why we could see numerous windfarms on the tops of surrounding hills. The town is very sweet and tranquil. We took our laptop to the only restaurant in town with Wifi. Its a restuarant that is a stop for tourist buses as well, so there is a souvenir shop attached. We had some good food and ended up staying there for 3 or more hours using the internet. Finally we went back to the hotel after dark and chilled out with cable tv before going to bed.
Next morning we had 2 breakfasts, some bad pastries which didnt fill us up, followed by
a shared plate of rice, beans and eggs and banana batidos. We then waited at the bus stop from 11am as thats when we had to leave the hotel. Finally the bus came. There were allocated seats (we had to prebuy tickets at a booth nearby) and off we went. The trip takes about 3 hours. Dario started feeling ill on the way there. We found a hotel called Cabana Vista al Golfo, we had a shared bathroom, but it included wifi, a kitchen and breakfast which was good. The view from the kitchen was stunning, down the valley. Dario wasnt feeling well, but we still went on a night tour of Santa Maria reserve with a guide. It was amazing! we saw 3 sloths, inc a baby, coatis, which are small racoon like animals that climb trees, fireflies, frogs, snakes, tarantulas, was awesome! After the tour I started feeling ill too. That night we both had fevers and chills. Next morning at 8am we went to the doctor, a free doctor who works out of the pharmacy. He said rest and lots of fluid, paracetamol.
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