Costa Rica!

Published: November 12th 2011
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Actually the fancy dress wasn’t to bad! Howard and I went as Poms on Tour – he wore his Boro shirt and I rolled up my trouser legs, wore socks with sandals, put a knotted hanky on my head and stuffed a towel into my t shirt to make a beer belly! Grabbed a bottle of beer and put a fag in my mouth - It got a few laughs, others made more of an effort and Martin went as the Prince of Persia using bed sheets etc with his girlfriend on a leash dressed up as a panther – where she got the ears from I have no idea! Ronnie had arranged for the local dance school to come and do some traditional dancing for us which was nice, even nicer as they didn’t try and get us to join in. The barbecue food was good – just not a lot of it and it was quite a good evening after all.

So after stamping on all the ants and brushing off all the fleas we got to bed!

10th Nov ’11 Ometepe, Nicaragua to Monteverde, Costa Rica
We travelled by pick up truck to the ferry – this time I was well prepared with 2 travel sick tablets! The ferry was quite quiet and no chickens this time, the crossing wasn’t too rough either and we had fantastic views of Lake Nicaragua with the volcanoes as a back drop – wonderful!

We then travelled by minibus to the border on the way as Howard had told Ronnie how much he wanted an election t shirt and how he had been a councillor (she had a good laugh at the description of Howard with long hair and Debbie in her Mickey Mouse t shirt on the election posters!) and she had a word with the driver and once we pulled up one of his friends was there with an election t shirt which she sold to Howard! Get in! Never thought we would manage to get one!!

The border crossing was fairly straight forward on the Nicaraguan side. While we were waiting to get our passports back 2 of the group wandered up with hammocks that had only cost $5, they were closely followed by the lady they had bought them from with her sack, next thing everyone is buying hammocks and she sent her son off to fetch the rest of her supply. We ended up buying the whole lot and off she went a very happy lady with no work to do for the rest of the day. On the Costa Rican side we had to queue for ages and when I got to the desk they wanted proof that I had $100 before I could get in, of course I had no money with so had to shout for Howard and in the end they were satisfied with having a look at a credit card. Howard had not had to do any of that.

We then all had lunch at the border cafeteria and then piled into the bus for the 5 hour journey to Monte Verde. We were the last ones on so got stuck with the 2 little pull down seats in the middle of the aisle, not the most comfy. I kept nodding off and falling into Alex who had the seat next to me, but after 2 ½ hours we had a stop and David (trainee guide) took my seat and I got a proper one at the front which was good.

We wound up the mountain side higher and higher into the cloud forest, the views were great. It is a really lush green area and looks a bit alpine. The houses are all better than we have seen, concrete or wood and kind of swiss chalet style. They all seem to have glass in the windows which is a big contrast to the other central American countries and Costa Rica is definitely more wealthy and the people seem to have a much better standard of living. Everything to buy is also much more expensive.
We arrived at our hotel The Historias Lodge which is …. Yes you guessed it…. Right at the top of an enormous hill! However the place is lovely and we even have a little balcony!! Once again Howard upset the apple cart by refusing to just book the zip line tour that Intrepid normally use, he had done his research and for the same price we could go to the Selvetura which is supposed to be the best one in this area. A discussion ensued and all but 3 decided to go with Howard’s recommendation. In the end even Ronnie (the tour leader) decided to come with us!
Everyone else walked into the town for tea but Howard and I just went to a tiny little local place. When we walked in Alba (who runs the hotel) and her family were there so we had a good chat and her children practised their English on us. We had a nice reasonably priced meal (unlike all the other restaurants) and headed to bed.

11th Nov ‘11
Today we set off for the big adventure – the Zip Line Canopy Tour, I started off feeling very apprehensive. We were all picked up and taken out to the site in the cloud forest, then we were fitted with our harnesses, hard hat and gloves. We hiked up into the jungle coming across a large orange and black tarantula on the way and then climbed the ladders up to the first of the 13 zip line platforms. We had already been shown how to use the zip lines, you are clipped on by the first harness line, then an additional strap is clipped on, you have to get into a sitting position with your knees raised and your ankles crossed. You hold onto your straps with one hand and then use your other hand on the line behind you, you have to form a circle around the line with your fingers and to brake you put your hand flat onto the line, well that’s the theory anyway! Oh yes and the vertically challenged amongst us had to jump hanging onto the line in order to get clipped on and then dangle until it was our turn to go!!

As I was a tad nervous they decided I should be one of the first to go! So I did my jump got clipped on and then I was hurtling down the line, each time I started to spin I had to stretch my arm further back to try and get back under control, anyway I made it and much to my amazement didn’t have to wait to be taken by a guide but was just clipped onto the next line and shot off!!! I was shaking like a leaf but wether that was fear or adrenalin I have no idea.

We had to hike up through the jungle to reach some of the other platforms and some lines were shorter than others, the long lines looked terrifying but were amazing, you hurtle along and then just before the next platform you have to brake – most of the time it didn’t seem to work, but they had brakes which the guides used to stop you before you took them out!

I gave the tarzan swing a miss but Howard and some of the others did it, they were clipped on to the long rope thing then had to step off the high platform and swung right out, they all really enjoyed it but Howard reckoned it wasn’t a patch on the Amazon one (Gary!).

The final line was the longest and we had to go down in two’s, so I was clipped on first then Howard and he had to cross his legs around my waist, neither of us had to hold the line and then we were off. This was amazing it was a long line right out over the top of the cloud forest and the views were stunning, half way through we were really buffeted by the wind which kind of naturally slowed you down a bit but we still zoomed along until we were fairly close to the end when we just stopped. One of the guides then came out and wrapped his legs round me (now that was a position I don’t find myself in everyday!!) and towed us to the platform.

We were the second ones down and it soon became apparent it happened to everyone. Martin and Annetta were the fourth lot to go and apparently had been told by the guides they should not go down together as they are both really skinny and wouldn’t have the weight to get to the end but they insisted they wanted to and much to every ones amusement they stopped right in the middle of the line, dangling high high above the jungle being whipped about by the wind! One of the guides went out and towed Annetta back but Martin had to make his own way back hand over fist pulling himself in – it took forever, needless to say a lot of jokes were had at his expense!!
Then it was all over, 2 hours gone in 10 minutes and I have to say it was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best experience we have had on the trip and to think I wasn’t going to go after the horse incident, but I am so glad I did now!
On the way back we got off in the town and went to the bakery for lunch, had a look around, bought the beer for tonights little ‘do’, then caught a tuk tuk back up the monster hill.

I have just discovered a creature from the black lagoon lurking in our bathroom, all I can tell is its huge, is black, has about 6 long thick legs and a pointy shape so Howard has been dispatched!


13th November 2011

Just read your page on Monteverde, as we will be going there in a few months. Great blog. Can't wait to read your next page.
14th November 2011

Thanks for your comments, hope you have a great time and make sure you go zip lining!
14th November 2011

Thanks for your comments, hope you have a great time and make sure you go zip lining!

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