After a very early start, humid day and a hard border crossing, I am finally in the land of Costa Rica, Marvin’s home! I really am expecting a lot from this country.
I woke up at 6am after a surprisingly good night’s sleep, considering the dramas of last night. I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed and heard a huge crash behind me into the bathroom door, and I just knew I would see a huge bug as I turned around. It was some massive, horrible flying thing and Andrea had to come and be my lifesaver – I honestly have no idea how she wasn’t as scared of it as I was! So a big thanks to her for that.
We said goodbye to our ‘mum’ this morning, which was still quite sad as she hugged me, although she didn’t have a clue what I was saying to her! She even packed us a breakfast, which was very thoughtful. We then had to get a chicken boat from the island to mainland Nicaragua, which was quite busy with uncomfortable seats as well as being rocky, but it was still almost as fast as the ferry which took us to Ometepe in the first place. So that stage of our Volcano Trail was sadly over, and we looked forward to the next part – adventures in Costa Rica!
We had to get another chicken bus to the border, which was fine again as it wasn’t very busy, but we had to watch our bags (someone had their phone stolen on a chicken bus in Mexico). It was crossing the border which was the really tough part – it took us about an hour just to get out of Nicaragua, and then we had to queue for two hours out in the heat to get into Costa Rica. It was strange being in no man’s land for that long: we kept seeing a dog run back and forth and we were saying how easy it is for them – they don’t need passports to cross borders! We had to have our passports checked multiple times, our bags scanned and we had to provide proof that we were going to exit the country again. It was clear that we were going out of the more relaxed countries of Central America. Cue Lawrence’s observation of the day:
“Costa Rica is a lot stricter and less relaxed than the other countries we have visited.”
We got some currency – roughly 500 colones to the dollar – so we felt like actual millionaires! Then a four-hour journey to Monteverde was underway. Looking at the scenery as we went by, I noticed that the foliage is a lot greener, denser and more tropical than Nicaragua and Honduras, reminding me that we are moving further away from North America and closer to South America all the time. Marvin told us a bit about Monteverde, saying that the Quakers arrived in the 1950s to develop the area by setting up factories, which make good-quality cheese in particular. There are also many untouched gold mines around the area which locals dig at every day to try and earn themselves some money. We drove through the winding hills into the cloud forest, where you can see the Pacific Ocean and the gulf on a clear day. It was cloudy today (after all, we are next to a cloud forest), and the roads were very rough, which me feel quite ill. We eventually arrived in the Hotel Historias Lodge in Monteverde during a storm – however that did not detract from the beauty of the place. The staff are lovely, there are palm trees and hummingbirds outside, and the rooms are huge. It truly is another paradise.
Tonight we are going out for a meal to a place called the Tree Hotel, which apparently has actual trees in it! We are also going to decide which activities we will be doing tomorrow. I hope you’re ready, Costa Rica!