Blogs from Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


We are finished with Central America and for that I am grateful. In all fairness, there were excursions that went inland and that were probably wonderful and exciting but we have pretty much had it with tours. It has been a fabulous trip and we have done more than anyone can imagine and now we are ready for reality. Reality isn’t so bad - the lake is beckoning, the boat is beckoning, we miss our family and friends - only 2 more ports and then we reach Miami. We did our obligatory stroll off the pier and glanced toward the souvenirs and strolled back but not before taking a picture of the beach! Ugh! Yes we are definitely ready for home.... read more
Smaller Debris

Distance driven today: none – hanging out in Manuel Antonio Cumulative distance driven: 7,474 miles / 12,028 km Today’s trip: Hiking around Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica We spent all day in beautiful Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The humidity level here is well over 80% most of the day, apart from the time when the tropical rain starts pouring, upon which the humidity level further increases! Zoe and I took a long guided tour in the Manuel Antonio tropical rainforest national park. We learned that, despite its tiny size of 200 hectares / 8 square miles, the national park boasts over 100 mammal species and close to 200 bird species, making it one of the most biodiverse areas anywhere. Our guide, who carried a tripod and powerful binocular lens with him, did ... read more
Ininity pool at our hotel facing the Pacific coast
Manuel Antonio tropical rainforest national park
National park beach

Distance driven today: 91 miles / 146 km Cumulative distance driven: 7,474 miles / 12,028 km Today’s trip: San Jose to Manuel Antonio, Cosa Rica Times I dropped the bike: once on an extremely steep driveway up to the hotel parking – no serious damage other than to Christer’s pride… Today we rode the shortest distance so far, just 146km/91miles. However, there was no lack of adventure for sure. Our goal was to ride from San Jose to the Pacific coast, and the beautiful backpacker friendly Manual Antonio. Instead of taking the straight-forward highway to the coast, I decided (in my infinite wisdom!) to take the scenic route over the mountains. The GPS route showed it to be shorter by a whole 50km/30 miles compared to the coastal highway. Half way into the scenic route it ... read more
Road from San Jose towards the Pacific coast
Zoe resting after a bumpy ride on gravel
Manuel Antonio approching

We had an amazing weekend getaway at Manuel Antonio National Park. We left right after school in an absolute downpour to head to the "beach" for the weekend. We took the Interbus (which is like a private shuttle bus) from Santa Ana to Manuel Antonio. It is on the west coast of Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean side. It took about 3 hours with a lot of traffic and a few stops along the way. We arrived after dark to our hotel "Costa Verde". The hotels motto is "Still more monkeys than people" so we were hoping for lots of sightings. Our room was great, really big with an amazing balcony but it was dark so we didn't really know where we were. The kids were super hungry and we weren't really sure where to ... read more

Los Últimos días.. Following our speedboat to Jaco, a we were driven two hours south to Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Upon arrival we headed straight to the beach for a seafood platter, why not! It was a long beach, and once we had found a spot away from the slightly concerning crocodile warning signs, we were happy chilling out and playing in the immense waves. Big kids at heart, it's awesome how much fun the ocean can be! Manuel Antonio has an odd layout because right by the park entrance there are shops and restaurants, which we were told were overpriced and more for convenience. The majority of good eateries and amenities such as ATMs or shops were on "the road to Quepos". We only went to Quepos itself to purchase bus tickets, but other than ... read more
Love love love.
White Faced (and slightly bashed) Monkey eyeballing me
Have you got my best side?

Love the Sea... In my previous blog entry, I left us in Santa Teresa, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. This entry takes us further South down that same coast to the 'Amor del Mar' hotel in Montezuma. We took a taxi from Santa Teresa to Montezuma which was not a very long drive, and only cost about $30 USD. It provided me with yet another opportunity to make friends with the driver and practice my Spanish. These are the best ways to practice because there is no time pressure - you have all that road ahead of you, and more often than not, these drivers are proud of their country and happy to have a foreigner willing to converse in their native language! I like to think it's win-win for both of us! The ... read more
Love the early morning light
Nature is beautiful!
6.30am waterfall swim!

Santa Teresa... We only stayed in Santa Teresa for one night, but there were two main highlights for me, number one being the ocean view that I woke up to in the morning, and number two, taking a yoga class in front of said view. We had left Playa Grande four hours behind us by car; our friend Hector had driven us down the Pacific Coast to reach our destination. It's always fun getting to know a local as they share their pride in their country...well that may depend which country you are in. Three quarters of the way into the drive, we stopped at a local "soda" (cafe) for some lunch. I had the most delicious home made tortilla with avocado and egg. It tasted of pure fresh maize and this memorable meal cost me ... read more
Horizon Yoga, Santa Teresa
Goodnight Santa Teresa
Soda (cafe)

Our first full day in Costa Rica consisted mainly of us getting situated. We met Casey and Dan at a cafe in the central park of San Isidro del General (the closest city to their place) and they drove us to their house about 25 minutes from the city toward the coast. We got settled in and went for a drive to Dominical on the Pacific coast for dinner at Tortilla Flats, which was very tasty. We brought Jack along because, contrary to our North American sensibilities, dogs are allowed almost anywhere in Central America. Dan got to drive the motorbike home after dinner, which was exciting on that narrow, twisty road in the dark. Our days in Costa Rica were filled with going to the organic markets in Tinamaste and Dominical, making fresh fruit pirate ... read more
Surfing Fun
White Face Monkey
Blossom the Porcupine

After three long days of bus travel from Utila, we made it to Costa Rica. Initially, we thought we'd gloss over this beautiful country because it is more expensive than others in the region. However, we were lucky enough to have found a house sit for 2 1/2 weeks in Platanillo where we would look after a 5 month old puppy named Jack. We set this house sit up through a website called Trusted House Sitters which helps potential house sitters find accommodation in return for taking care of people's homes and (usually) animals while the homeowners are on holiday. Casey and Dan, the couple we were house sitting for, are a couple from the States who have been travelling for a few years and have settled down in Costa Rica with their rescue pup Jack. ... read more
Cost Rica Ridin'
What Did That Coconut Ever Do to You?

Sarah: We had a good last morning in Manuel Antonio - eating leftover pizza, drinking smoothies and soaking up the last few days of coastal sunshine! We arrived early evening in Santa Elena in the Monteverde cloud forest. We were pleasantly surprised by how mild an evening it was, especially compared to the hot nights we had at the coast! Once we were settled in to our room we headed out to a little restaurant recommended by the hostel owner for being good AND cheap AND with a free desert - sold. It was a very sweet little place, with what looked like 3 generations of family cooking in the kitchen and bringing out very tasty grub for us: rice, beans, chicken, all the usual suspects! The free desert of a little flat cake with dulce ... read more
The inside of the huge Strangler Fig tree near Santa Elena.
View from Monteverde cloud forest reserve.
One of our zip-lining colleagues settings out on one of the whopping lines across the valley below.

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