As with most of my trips last year, Costa Rica was sporadic and unplanned. By sporadic and unplanned I mean, Monday at 5:00pm I was watching Netflix and eating pudding pops–twelve hours later I had my bags packed and was headed to Miami International Airport. In less than half a day I finished a movie, ate six pudding pops and convinced two of my best friends to travel to central America with me. I’d say it was productive, but seeing that the movie I watched starred Nick Canon, I probably lose points.
My trip, short but amazing, consisted of this:
Day One: We flew into San Jose where we were quickly bombarded by a bunch of tanned taxi drivers promising to drive us into the city for twenty dollars. I said, “no gracias” and took the city bus for ninety cents (the city buses come often and are right in front of the airport). We ate the country’s traditional dish (casado) in an open breezy restaurant and then trekked around for several miles until we found our hostel (if you’re looking for traditional cuisine always avoid the restaurant filled with tourist. Odds are any restaurant filled with white people is the Fuddruckers of that county). That night we continued to gorge ourselves on local foods all while getting drunk on Imperial beer and shots of guaro (liquor made from sugar cane) for Sammy’s birthday (the initial reason for the trip).
Day Two: Up at 5:00am I could still smell beer on my breath. The hostel’s blankets ended up being crazy dusty so I spent the night sneezing–until I moved to a bed without blankets–where I then froze to death. We caught a 6:15am chicken bus from the Coca Cola bus station downtown and headed north to La Fortuna (the four hour trip only cost $3-$4. Don’t go with a private company, they’ll charge you upwards of $125). We walked to our hostel, checked for bed bugs and booked a tour to climb a volcano in Arenal. The tour included entrance to the hot springs after the climb, so an hour after swatting bugs and collecting volcanic rocks we were flying down water slides and lounging in steamy volcano water. I tried to get the girls to come with me to a bar afterwards, but they insisted on lying around and being girls. Oddly I adjusted to lying around like a girl quite easily.
Day Three: After a long night of one of the girls trying to convince us that we all needed to sleep in the same bed to ward off spiders, we were up at 7:00am to catch a ride to Monteverde (the land-boat-land for $18 was booked, so we took a city bus for $2-$3). It stops in Tilaran for two hours. Tilaran is a really small town and might have been the place they film The Hills Have Eyes, but we managed to survived, all while switching from Imperial beer to Pilsen–another local made brew (it tasted like Miller Lite with a Spanish accent). Tilaran was another two hours of farm land and mountains to Monteverde, but totally worth it. Instead of doing a tour that day we hiked around on our own and took pictures of a sloth hanging around on telephone wires. That night was in downtown Monteverde (downtown is two and a half streets) debating which restaurant to eat at and which ones to wish we ate at after we were already full. I think we drank wine after that.
Day Four: Like all days so far, we were up early and zip lining in the rainforest by 8:00am. If you’ve never zip lined, stop slacking and do it! Really, I enjoyed zip lining more than having sex with this girl–and that girl was hot. The climax was a quarter-mile zip line from one mountain, over a valley, to another mountain. Then you had the option to bungee jump on the Tarzan swing. I of course decided to bungee jump. And despite my yelling and baby-like crying, loved it. We drove back to our cabin (one of the girls thought we needed a night away from hostel bugs). The cabin had bigger bugs than any place we stayed on the trip (well, except for the five-inch grasshopper I found and saved at the airport). We hopped on another bus and started driving out of the mountain towards Liberia. Thirty minutes later our bus broke down. We waited for a second bus and ten minutes after getting on that bus, it too broke down. From there all I remember is falling asleep next to some nine-year-old Costa Rican boys and waking up in a hotel four hours north of where our second bus broke down. There was only one bed–obviously another way to fend off spiders–and a bathroom with a window by the shower. I showered while looking out for peeing Tom’s. (In Spanish countries is it peeing Jaun’s?) And then the girls and I, tired from the last four 18-hour days, dressed and walked to the nicest Burger King we’ve ever seen in our lives and ate chicken tenders until our stomachs exploded.
Day Five: Awake at 4:35am we headed to the Liberia airport and thanked ourselves for going on a completely unplanned, but wildly wonderful vacation. Note this is also the day I saved the grasshopper.
I wanted to speak in-depth about all the hilarity that ensued while riding local chicken buses through the country side and bungee jumping into the rainforest, but I’m still too covered with mosquito bites to clear my mind. It’s one of those, “you had to be there moments.” And unfortunately you weren’t there, but you can always join me on my next trip. I’m thinking Thailand–and at least for two weeks.
Travel more. Getting lost is how you find yourself,