Pura Vida, kind of.


I’m taking a break from sports writing and devoting my blog towards the upcoming three weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The first few days have been, you could say, eventful. On entrance to the country, my travelling bud Lewis and I received emails to say ‘We are sorry. Your luggage did not reach its final destination as we intended. Thank you for choosing Delta Airlines.’ 

Ah. That’s a bit of an issue, actually. So in fact, I don’t really want your thanks. Even so, we signed our lives away and agreed for our bags to be delivered whenever and wherever they could. Josh, who had travelled with a different airline, had been waiting for 5 hours at San Jose airport for us to arrive. Sorry ‘butt’. We set up camp in our hostel in San Jose, gathered all the info for our trip to Tortuguero to meet our fellow Costa Rica backpackers on the Caribbean side of the country and slept (about 2 hours, that’ll do for now).

Our trip to Tortuguero was going swimmingly, the public buses were spacious, we didn’t have the burden of looking after our luggage and actually, the views were pretty epic. Then, we arrived in Cariari for our stopover somewhere in between the two places. It was your typical authentic Costa Rica town, very little English speakers, lots of fields, motorbikes, a guy who seemed genuinely excited to see us ‘Canadians’ and thriving town centre. The luggage issue was so yesterday, everything was all good today. 

‘When and where will the bus be arriving for La Pavona?’ 

‘It’s already gone’, the bus official said.

Oh for…

Incorrectly, we had been told the bus would be there and we would have half an hour to wait. Apparently it had already gone. 

Well, we’d jumped bigger hurdles and plucked up the courage to order a taxi en español. An hour cab ride to La Pavona, the place where our boat departed for Tortuguero, cost $10 each. That is incredulous. Imagine that at home. 

Now, I swear… things turn out well. The boat ride to Tortuguero was astonishing; Lew and I saw a caiman, there were colourful looking birds and yet again, Costa Rica looked wonderful. 

‘Mission Reach The Girls In One State’ was a success. In Tortuguero, we had a snug little hostel room and finally met up with Finny (my girlfriend), Frances and Emily (friends of Finny). Everyone got along well etc etc. 

Now, we were cooking on gas. Start the car. We’d been informed that our luggage would be arriving in our hostel at La Fortuna. One more day of the same pants and t-shirt. Praise el Lord.

Tortuguero seemed to be the hub of all wildlife. On a walking tour, we saw all sorts. Spider monkeys, howler monkeys, a toucan, the biggest army of red ants you could ever imagine. 

We were knackered to be fair. In the evening, we headed to the girls’ hostel to watch an island game of football with some beers… but the night ended at about 8pm as we went to bed. Bless our little jet lagged heads.

We had a private shuttle out of the island, just cos, you know… VIP and that. On that journey, we saw a few iguanas, more caiman and more of everything. It was a lovely little town. We were now headed to La Fortuna, the home of Arenal volcano. In my eyes, that’s far too close to Arsenal to be considered beautiful, but there’s some leeway for it because really, it is huge and something I’d never seen before. 

ANYWAY, OUR LUGGAGE HAD ARRIVED. And we had a swimming pool. This really was fast becoming a mini heaven and I’m not even religious. With a spring in my step, I showered, changed clothes… all the luxuries you can possibly think of. 

Here’s the squad:

Today, we went white water rafting and I can truthfully say that was a lot better than I was expecting. You know it’ll be tough, a true experience for the adrenaline junky like myself, but from the first second, we almost capsized. That’s my sort of thing. Frances fell out and Finny ‘rode the bull’, sitting at the front like, well, a bull rider. It was intense at first, but as we rafted down the river, it eased off and we could enjoy the surroundings and even take a dip in the water. Lew got some stunning Go Pro footage with an attachment to his head. Shame he looked like an arse in doing so. Jk.

As part of the tour, we were taken to a local farm for food. Until this moment, the food had been a solid 6.75 out of 10, but this lunch was a 9 (no easy 10s in this game, because otherwise there is no room for improvement). We had rice, beans, chicken, yuca mash and fries, some kind of delicious juice and really hot sauce. The rules of the farm were that if you wasted the food, you would pay the difference. We all had two servings quite easily. For desert, our treat was a shot of some traditional Costa Rica drink. It tasted like vodka, went down like vodka (I almost spewed) and induced the vodka ‘face’. You know, when people wince instead of even trying to pretend they enjoyed it? Yeah, that.

So that’s about it. I’ve missed loads but I’m quite tired and will be updated this if and when I can. Oh, and here’s a picture of Arenal volcano. We can’t climb it, but will be hiking a different and slightly smaller version tomorrow. 

It hasn’t all been so ‘Pura Vida’ just yet because you know, bags, but it’s certainly starting to feel that way with every day. Our Spanish is progressing very slowly, the people are all so friendly and the place is beautiful so, here’s to the next few days! 


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