Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Michael and I decided that for our last big venture to a new spot in Costa Rica we wanted to discover more about the Osa Peninsula.  We didn't know a ton going in, but we knew that it was a road less traveled and friends who had been there loved it.  We said our goodbyes to Montezuma and took a boat ---> mini bus ---> big bus ---> taxi ---> to a leeeeettle 12-person plane.  The 50 minute flight ended up being worth the entire journey already.

Our very own plane

Michael tried to get into the cockpit multiple times.  Good thing I could pat the pilots on the back when they had a successful takeoff. 

One of my favorite parts of our trip is our "rutterless travel".  Traveling with no concrete plan which then leaves flexibility to change anything at the drop of a hat.  This proved successful as we flew above the Osa Peninsula and started chatting up a guy named Robert.  Our new friend was going to a yoga retreat at a beautiful spot right on the beach where the accommodations were tent cabins and the food was delicious and came in huge portions.  Sign me up immediately.  We had no real plan anyway, just a vague idea of the area we wanted to visit.  Once we landed, Robert told us that he was supposed to share a cab with a couple joining the retreat but they were stuck somewhere with disgusting weather and missed their flight.  Yay!!  Thank you vortex!  We jumped in with him and drove to this mystery spot with tons of food. 

Our new digs

For the next 2 nights we crashed a yoga retreat where everyone else had probably paid 4 times as much as us and was ready to get their namaste on.  We just wanted to play in the water and eat delicious homemade meals.  Michael surfed, I chatted about chakras and everyone was happy.  

A little hut

Living in a tent

On a hike we discovered that the tide is quite tempermental.  This is a shot on the way out to our hike...

And this is coming back.  Jellyfish are fun :)

These kind of lucky things keep happening to us and I welcome all of them.  I would also welcome another portion of homemade tortilla soup from the lodge but who am I kidding?  We have been somewhere for almost 3 days so obviously it's time to move on!  Next up, we will visit the "big city" of Puerto Jimenez.  I hope the bright lights aren't too much for us.

Journey to Montezuma, Costa Rica

I can't believe its almost been 2 months and we have made it through Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua.  We are onto our 4th country of the trip: Costa Rica!  I had been here once with my brother and we did the tried and true route, so this time I wanted to see a part of Costa Rica that hadn't been visited by so many people and maybe was a little harder to get to so the traveler footprint wasn't as massive.  The last part wasn't hard to achieve; it is ridiculously difficult to get anywhere in Costa Rica if it isnt mapped out in Lonely Planet. 
We decided to go to Montezuma, which we heard was a place travelers would venture to and then stay for months because it was so beautiful and remote.  So here we go:
A truck from the beach in Nicaragua ---> a taxi to the border ---> the first bus ---> the second bus ---> a mile walk ---> a ferry ---> a third bus and then pass out upon arrival.

A ferry view and a lotta hair

At the border we had another quintessential Central American experience.  We got out of Nicaragua with no issue, but when we came to the border to get into Costa Rica we were informed that in order to get in we had to show proof that we had a flight home.  We of course had no such thing.  We made our saddest face and tried in spanish to plead with the guy with no sense of humor but he stuck to his story: show me a plane ticket or you're not getting in.  With no internet and no Virgin America ticket counter to be found at the Costa Rican border we didn't even know where to start with our options.  Michael decided to give it one more shot with the guy, so after dancing around in line for a few minutes we walked back up to the counter ready for another pleading/crying session.  Instead the guy rolled his eyes, stamped our passports and waved us on.  What just happened?  I was ready to spend the night in our tent at the border, but I guess suddenly the law changed in the few minutes we were standing there and I wasn't about to argue it.  

Montezuma was a little bit of a let down once we got there.  The beach was beautiful yes, but we were  taken back by the American style prices of the hotels and food and the little town left us disappointed for all the travel we had endured to get there.  We still had a great time discovering the local waterfall and some street entertainment consisting of circus tricks from an all-female group.  

Some friends from the hotel 

We are going to try one more long trek to get to the Osa Peninsula down in the southern part of Costa Rica.  We have heard it's untouched and unlike anything else in the country.  That's enough to get me to take a 12 person plane to an unknown area I know nothing about!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Maderas, Nicaragua

Our last stop in Nicaragua was kind of up in the air when we left Isle de Ometepe.  This type of travel is what I prefer, to just go with whatever plan creates itself, but it does force a good amount of on the fly choices and flexibility.  Last minute, Michael and I thought maybe we would just jump the border into Costa Rica and forget about going to San Juan Del Sur, the beach we heard most people head and therefore we wanted nothing to do with it.  We had done our share of the backpacker trail and were ready to take the road less traveled but just had no idea where to go.  
We decided last minute to take a leap and travel to a town we had heard very little about except for one dude at our last spot who said "yaaa, check out Maderas...it's coooool".  'Nuff said, here we go! 

We headed down a back breaking road in a cab that had sold almost all its parts for cash.  Literally, all that was left was a steering wheel and seats, we were surprised he hadn't sold the leather and just left us with foam to cushion the blow of the road. 

We pulled up to what I thought was one bar on a beach and the taxi driver told us we were here!  Where exactly were we?  I swear we just drove 20 minutes on a dirt road and there was a shack for a bar in the middle of nothing.  This was the town??  

A view of the town from the beach

But sometimes, first impressions can be oh-so-wrong.  One second of walking on the beach, again with our bags, and I knew we had found a secret little beach that was just the style we were looking for.  For the next 2 nights we camped, saw some amazing sunsets and made art in the sand.  We were going to charge people to look at our artwork cause why not?  People charge to take a picture of their pig on a rope down here. 

Our first night in our home 


That's the thing about the "towns" down here.  If they are a little off the beaten path they may just be 2 bars on a beach and therefore call themselves a town.  Works for me. 

Next up, we make a little visit to the Costa Rican border!