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September 11th 2008
Published: September 11th 2008
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Playa Flamingo and Brasilito
Playa is spanish for beach. If you are looking for the touristy thing than Flamingo and Brasilito are for you. We passed through Flamingo and back to Brasilito as it was slightly less effected by tourists. Stumbled across Outback Jacks an aussie style restaurant and cabinas run by Dave the Kiwi while the aussie (real name is Dennis) who started the whole thing toured the states with an Aussie mobile BBQ show. I dont have a lot to say that is great about the beaches. Might be just because i have been spoilt with Australias white sand and coral coast lines but the volcanic sand is brown almost to the point of being black and rubbish I thought that maybe Santa Rosa may have been a odd one out but no all the beaches we have been to are covered with a large amount of local rubbish. The government is starting to teach the locals about the effects but it will be 1 or 2 generations down the road before it has any real effect.

Anyhow Dave was delighted to speak to someone who had nearly the same accent as he did and invited us on a crawl of the local bars (he has had a lot of time to check when all the local happy hours occur!). This was a big night starting at the Monkey Bar where a JUG! of cocktail mix was $15 US. The views from this place were stunning!

We returned to Jacks and the soccer (fotbol) was on the big screen. Now if you dont like soccer in Costa Rica too bad, you are part of a minority and you have no say so we joined in with all the locals and cheered the home team. To give you an idea of the love for the game, all the smaller towns are designed around the soccer field being in the centre.

While in town we found Monkey Jungle a great local Zipline tour. As we found out later a lot of the time the smaller operators are the better ones. This was run by 4 young guys and safety was good (CR style) and they added some things that are not included in other tours in the larger parks. Again the monkeys made their feelings about our presence known in no uncertain terms. it was such great fun! On one run the guides showed us how to hang upside down. Lynne had some trouble. She said it may have been due to uneven weight distributiuon?.

Playa Samara
We started out early as the roads along the coast are unsealed and the going is slow. We were about 80%!o(MISSING)f the way to our destination and had even managed a small river crossing in the car (Lynne was so scared at this point but pulled through like a champ!). We came to a river which we decided was a little more our Suzuki was able to handle. We doubled back and took a back road! NOTE: TAKING A BACK ROAD IN A PLACE WHERE EVEN THE GOOD ROADS ARE NOT GREAT MEANT WE WERE IN FOR SOME FUN! 4 hours later we were almost back where we started from and happy to be there! we took the more used sealed road and were in Samara in just over an hour. At this stage it was dark and we were tired so we grabbed the first place which we came across and crashed! Next day we found a shack for $10 US per day.

Barra Honda
Is a national park as are most of the places to see in Costa Rica. This was going to be a over night camper, I have realized that I do not enjoy camping as much as I thought I would but we pitched tent anyway and it was cheap! $2/night facilities are poor! No head on the shower and of course no hot water, 1 out of 2 toilets working (someone has used the busted one and just left it! PEW!) 1 working light which I moved to the shower as it was getting dark. The afternoon storm rolled in it was very close. At one time I thought if I held my little finger in the air it would get blown off! The thunder scared the crap out of Lynne. Then the rain started and by this time we had finished out showering. We scurried back to our tent. We had initially had the tent in a grassy area with a slight tilt but had decided to move it to a flat area which had less or should I say no grass, this was a mistake. Once inside our safety bubble we awaited the down pour and it came, now water proof must mean different things to different people but to me it means NO WATER GETS IN!, while the tent did not leak it was allowing water to get in not enough to flood but it was a pain! And the splash from the water smashing onto the ground caused the mud to splash onto the tent and what a mess it left for us to clean in the morning! Enough of the misery. The next morning we packed up and set the tent to dry while we toured the park.

In this park you are not allowed to go to the caves without a guide so we hired a guide and the package cost approx 28000 colones. This was all inclusive our guide was a fantastic local who had been guiding in the park for a long time and was 66 years old. He told us a story of people who were 1/2 his age and could not even walk up the hill, it was a steep hill, he was really cool telling us about local herbs which grew and their uses, trees and vines which can even be used as an insulin substitute. After an hours walk we reached the cave. Now I think we have mentioned a couple of times how rustic the Costa Rican buildings are and how the safety standards are much different to that of Australia! Well the mouth of the cave was basically a hole in the ground and they have joined probably 5 ladders together for the descent (we had to wear harnesses and there were safety ropes) with all this in mind we clung to ladder and slowly descended to the highest part inside the cave. The floor was lime stone and was very slippery. Each step was very cautiously taken and as usual the guide just plodded along like he had suction cups on his feet. This is a great place and has not been sterilised like some of the tourist parks we have been to. You can touch the formations and it looks like a lot of people have in some places the stone is polished from all the hands. the pictures will do it more justice than i can from writing so i will stop now and you can see for your self how beautiful the caves are. I will say that the caves are narrow and at one point the guide made a point of saying to Lynne that pregnant women can not go into this particular area. See if you can see from the pictures which part this was? Haha! (nothing a bit of pushing and shoving cant fix)

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