A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 92-95 LA FORTUNA, COSTA RICA

all seasons in one day 30 °C

We were glad to leave San Jose and the singing Prostitutes behind and lept into a comfortable bus from a plush terminal not far from our hostel. The scenery was amazing lush green jungle and views of open countryside. The bus did not stop for a reasonable toilet break leaving me in crippling pain trying to hold my bladder. After asking the bus driver twice in my best Spanish, "Cuando alto para bano por favor?" (When stop for toilet please?) the driver kept replying pequino pequino (in a bit in a bit) a bit a huge bit later. (1 hour) we arrived at a small town and I rushed out for a quick release.
Eventually, after heavy traffic we arrived in La Fortuna and made our way to Allemanda rooms run by a cute little family. The town was amazing set in a valley with a volcano touring over it, a river running down the side and lush green jungle all around.

We explored the town in the afternoon and made some dinner in the family kitchen.

The next day, we woke to full grey sky and pouring rain but we decided to grin and bear it and donned our rain coats and headed out into the wet. We hiked for about 5km's mostly up hill up a winding road with sparse houses around. Near to the waterfall entrance we noticed a horse parking area where 5 horses were tired to a wooden shelter and were eating hay. We arrived at the waterfall and walked down 500 steps to the viewing point. The 70m high fall was absolutely amazing, gushing out of the rocks between dense jungle deep into a clear pool.

We rushed down to the rocky area just before the pool and trudged over to a more secluded spot where we dumped our gear, stripped down and slipped about on the green rocks in order to enter the pool. The water was gaspingly cold but extremely refreshing. We tried to swim in the water but the current from the 70m waterfall was pretty extreme causing what only can be described as a mini storm. You could not get very close to the gigantic down pour of water and we were told it would crush you if you got under it . We both laughed at some American guys, all muscles and completely wussy as they couldn't get in the cold water.

We then sat on the rocks and woofed down our standard travelling home lunch of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, yum!!.

On the walk home, it had stopped raining and we saw 2 little puppies who kept running into the road and two Wild Toucans just flying from tree to tree.

In the evening we chilled out at the room and made pasta.

The next day, we booked on to the Cana Negro tour, which although was extremely expensive in our budget it simply was a 'can't miss this' sort of situation.

We were picked up from our Family home and carted off in a micro bus, air conditioned I might add, to the starting point some 1hr 30 m away. The guide was very informative and gave us a running commentary about farming and wild life in Costa Rica the whole way. About half way on our journey the bus stopped suddenly at the side of the road and the guide said, "SO GUYS WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE A SLOTH?" UMM let me think now urgh everyone. "Ok GOOD BECAUSE THERE IS ONE IN THAT TREE OVER THE ROAD." We all exited the bus quick smart and not caring about the traffic on the road we carelessly crossed and hoarded around a roadside tree. There we gorped at this furry creature for sometime admiring its beauty and the fact it was completely unaware we were in its company. Complete with an army of marching ants in their hundreds journeying from their nest up the tree trunk along the branches to the leaves where they chopped them up and carried them back to their queen. Amazing!!!

A short while later we arrived at the river and got onto a boat meant for 40 people but there were only 14 of us so plenty of room. No sooner had we left, we saw a couple of howler monkeys just swinging in the trees. As the boat chugged slowly down the beautiful river lined with huge trees and green vegetation we stopped every couple of minutes as the eagle eyed skipper kept locating wildlife. We saw Kaymen, baby Kaymen, white faced Capuchin monkeys, Jesus Christ Lizards (who can walk on water), tiny bats, Kingfishers, Iguanas, Turtles, Spider monkeys. We couldn't believe how much wildlife we had seen amazing. After the 2.5 hour tour we stopped at a restaurant and had a typical Costa Rican lunch or rice and beans and veggies followed by the most amazing pineapple.

In the afternoon, we skipped off to an Organico coffee shop, seats made of pallets and colourful chairs. Nice chill out spot.

later that afternoon it was raining and very humid.

The next day, we had a complete chill out day and spent the morning having a late breakfast. It was raining again in the morning so we went back to the same coffee shop again. There's a pattern emerging here. Haha!! This day was particularly humid so much so that we were like sloths ourselves most of the day. In the afternoon, I went off to get my hair cut at a local barbers. The barber didn't speak any ENGLISH so it was difficult trying to get the right hair cut. After much body language, hand signals, broken Spanish and grunting. I had myself a grade 1 back and sides and a Mohican style centre. Nice. Cost me £4.

That evening we packed our bags up and went to bed early ready for our 8am bus in the morning. We decided instead of catching the Jeep-boat-jeep at $25 a piece we would go for the local bus. Firstly it took us 1.5 hours to get to a small town called Tilaran where we then had to wait for 2 hours. We made lunch and ate it sat in the nearby park. We watched a group of kids from the local school nearby all shouting and going. Two girls got into a fight and everyone was egging them on. Quite amusing. We then got back on to another bus which then took another 3 hours on very bumpy roads upto Monteverde. The air was much cooler here and very windy. We found our hostel with ease Called Sleepers Sleep cheaper.

Posted by Markandmel2016 09:18 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Day 92 - Travel to San Jose, Costa Rica

sunny 30 °C

Today we caught the ferry at 6am, yikes. Arriving back on main land we got a random cab to the Tica bus terminal. Here we waited for 10 minutes as the hut was closed.

We were first in line and feeling good about ourselves asking for the ticket in Spanish we were both in good spirits. Until the lady told us the following two things:

1. Your tickets our $29 each
2. You will need prove of onward travel and your only option is to buy a return ticket for an extra $29 each that you will not use.

Stupidly...stupidly we believed them and paid a whacking price for these tickets. To top it off when the bus arrived we were sat right at the back in cramped seats right next to the stinking bog. Our seats did not recline and the air conditioning did not work. The whole trip was barbaric and went on for far too long. The border was okay but it would have been easy enough to do ourselves. Eventually we arrived in the Shitty backstreets of San Jose and walked into the red light area to find our seedy hostel.

The hostel was bearable and after a short chill out we braved the dodgy streets to locate some fruit and food for the evening and breakfast. After stepping around junkies, avoiding a prostitute karaoke bar we bagged some goodies but were devastated by the Costa Rican prices. Yikes.

Okay so moan done. Haha!!!

Posted by Markandmel2016 08:58 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

DAY 89-91 ISLE DE OMETEPE

sunny 30 °C

Today we caught a chicken bus from the market area to go to Rivas where we could then get the ferry to OMETEPE. We arrived just as the bus was nearly full and only got single seats on our own. During the journey I had a bit of a embarrassing moment where I was sat next to a lady openly breast feeding her young daughter and everything was out on show. Whilst at the same time a large breasted women had to stand up in the aisle. She chose to stand extremely close to me, with her chest nearly in my face. I honestly did not know where to look!

We got the small ferry to OMETEPE and walked up to our nice little homely hostel called Casa Mauro. That afternoon we booked up with someone from the hostel a Quad bike for the next day so we could explore the island. We had a cheap lunch at a local restaurant and met a lone traveller from Liverpool. That evening we cooked up stir fry noodles and veg in the communal kitchen.

The next day we woke early and at 8am our quad bike arrived. After a very quick show and tell we hopped on with our backpacks clipped to the front and back we zoomed off along the one main road going around the Island. Our first stop was a look out point Jesus de Maria where a sand bar juts out into the lake. We quickly checked it out as later we would be coming back to watch the sunset.

Next we sped up to the Cerro Negro national park where we paid $3 each to get in. Firstly we walked around a tropical butterfly garden and then walked on a trail through the forest. After 30 minutes we arrived at a sandy beach on the lake and went in for a refreshing swim. We then walked back to the main entrance. As we walked back we could hear howler monkeys sounding off in the trees and we followed the sound and saw one just hanging in a random tree.

At lunch time we stopped at Santa Domingo and had a lunch of hummus, pitta and veggie sandwich. The table was overlooking the lakeside beach.
Very nice indeed!

In the afternoon, we zoomed off on the Quad after seeing a gigantic dead tod in the road. Our next stop was the natural spring pool situated a few km's off the main road down a dusty bumpy track. Most people were walking from the main road. Not us we flew by on the quad bike and parking upon the car park. We paid about $12 dollars to enter the pool and it was set half in the shade of the trees and half in the bright sun. We stayed there for about 45 minutes refreshing ourselves in the cool and clear water.

After this we stopped off at a church in a town and found some very interesting statue heads. We then found it difficult to locate the main road and had to ask several people in my broken Spanish the way to San Marcos. Eventually we found the road which was more of a dirt track and zoomed off through more remote villages passing farmland and Cowboys herding them along the road.

In the evening we went back to Jesus Maria. Beach where we both enjoyed a large bag of crisps and a cold refreshing beer whilst watching the magical sunset across the lake and volcano.

The next day we kept the Quad bike and set off again to the other side of the island.We went straight to Santa Domingo where we strolled across the isolated beach and ended back at the same veggie place where we stopped for some green smoothies. We headed around the less travelled section off the island where the roads became rocky and impassable for normal vehicles. We thoroughly enjoyed the amazing views of Banana plantations, flower gardens, awkward looks from locals as we hummed passed in our bright red quad bike. We made a quick pit stop at Merida Hostel where we tucked into some amazing burgers.

After driving for a few hours alon these remote roads we stopped off at FINCA Magdalene where we stocked up on water and some of their lush coffee.

We finished the day off by stopping back at the isolated beach and cooling off in the extremely shallow waters as the sun was coming down.

An extremely lush and amazing way to see the Island. This will definitely stay with us for years to come.

Posted by Markandmel2016 16:52 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

DAYS 86-88 GRANADA

33 °C

Today we walked 1km to the random bus station hidden within a busy and bustling fresh food market. We got on a lush air conditioned van direct to Managua and as soon as we stepped off the bus our bags were picked up for some random men and we were hustled onto another bus before we could say a word. Thankfully this bus was directo to Granada. Hilarious. The journey to Granada was fairly pleasant and we found our lush hotel pretty easily.
Hotel Glifoos a sweet little hotel serving a tipica breakfast with colourful stick men type art on the walls. Clean and friendly owned by a Spanish Man and his Nica wife.

We headed out into the quant looking town and located the main square lined with market stalls and shoe cleaners and the traditional church. The town was unfortunately over run with touristy restaurants and lots of American tourists. We went for coffee and dined at Wok n roll, which had tick box paper menus, and choose your own noodle or rice dish. Delicious but on the more expensive side.

The next day, we had booked a tour to the 365 Islets contained within the Laguna nearby. We were transferred to a docking area where we got into a boat designed for 14 people but there was only 4 of us. The area was stunning and we saw plenty of different birds and turtles. We stopped of at a fortress on an Island designed to look out for pirates years ago. The tour guide Phil chopped up some fresh coconut and we headed off to monkey island. 4 monkeys were resident on this island all rescued from being pets in the country. We had the pleasure of Lucy coming on the boat and she soon scoffed down the coconut. She did look a bit rotund.

Lastly we went to Pirate Island where we stopped at a tacky restaurant and very small swimming pool. Luckily we bought our banana and peanut butter sandwiches and we swam in the lake. After we remembered the guide had told us sometimes crocs had been seen in the lake. Brilliant!!!
As we were sat drying off on the dock steps another boat rocked up blasting out gangster rap music and a large beast of a man with a bare chest and flabby belly stepped off the boat. He was swigging from a can of lager and certainly had a loud mouth on him. He `waltzed down to the dock steps just as Mel was trying to change her bikini bottoms under a towel. He stepped on to the first step and right in front of us slammed to the floor like a heavy sack of potatoes. His back landed right on the ridge of the step. I could barely contain myself and was trying not to laugh.

After the tour we held up at a lush Coffee shop (of course) and had some lunch. We then got picked up for our afternoon/evening excursion to Volcan Masaya where hopefully we would see some flowing Lava. Omg!!! Firstly we were taken to an absolutely dead artisan market selling trinkets and wares. Literally dead as na dodo. Nothing of interest no me, apart from some hefty looking knifes. Then we were bused down to the Volcan entrance where we waited for an hour to get in. Then we drove up to the top and well we were not disappointed a mystical fiery crater with a huge cyclindrical hole containing a flowing river of molten lava. You could actually hear the roaring of the fiery cauldron of orange glowing magma. Mind blowingly amazing. Unfortunately you only get 15 minutes at the top. But totally worth it.

Day 3 of Granada we got a lift from the Spanish hotel own to Lake Apoya to a resort hostel called Monkey Hut. Here your paid $3 entrance but had free access to their rubber tyres, kayaks and sun loungers. He enjoyed a full day of soaking up the sun, reading, drinking coffee, eating chip butties, lounging around on rubber tyres, jumping of the floating decking. And attempting to stand up paddle board on the kayaks. Awesome day.

Posted by Markandmel2016 08:53 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Day 84/85 Leon, Nicaragua

38 °C

After our night at Blue hat hostel and a tradional breakfast of toast and pico de gallo (I think that's what it's called) rice and beans anyway. It was certainly filling.

We scooched further into town and dropped our bags at the new hostel where we were greeted by a huge rotund lady who had just woken from her slumber. We both couldn't believe how hot it was, I think it was 38 degrees both days. Anyway we bimbled off into the main plaza which was half filled with market stalls and old men pushing around ice cream trolleys ringing their bells. On one side of the plaza was a bright white cathedral where you could walk up on the roof to see the dome roof tops and the eclectic architecture. We had to hop around bare footed on the hot roof, brilliant views of the city.

After we found a French bakery serving lush coffee and the best almond croissants I have ever had the pleasure to get my lips around. So so good!!
We found it so hot in Leon it was difficult to do a lot so we decided that the best place to go was the cinema where it blows out freezing cold air. Plus it was in English with Spanish subtitles so we went for a late showing of LIfe, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

The next day, we went to the weirdest museum (Legends and heroes), I have never seen such an odd mix of mannequins and taxidermy depicting the most unusual historic stories in Central America. One mannequin, an old wench, with an ugly face and one breast out of her top was supposedly portraying a lady who was jealous of other women with good looking men and went around the town forcing her breast into their mouths to try and win them over. Seriously!! The whole museum was set in an old prison where the inmates received torture from the guards.
We then went on to an art museum and saw interesting paintings from artists all over Central America. The whole way around we were stared at by the staff and they followed us around like Hawks turning off lights as we went.

I have to admit we went back to the French bakery and scoffed down another croissant.

Oh I forgot to mention, the morning of the second day we found out that around Easter Costa Rica grinds to a halt and we would not get any accommodation if we didn't book now. So we spent most of the morning booking our weeks Spring break at Samara a beach resort in Costa Rica. Tough travelling decisions. A vacation on a vacation.

Posted by Markandmel2016 14:04 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

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