Jaco, Costa Rica recommendations and one last Delta cock-up

Where has time gone? Seriously. Just yesterday Lew and I were jetting off to Atlanta and now, I’m writing from Farnborough again. This was the best trip I’ve ever been on. Apologies for that cliche overload.

As we moved out of the Montezuma area, we had time for one last outing as we headed for the Banana Beach bar in Santa Teresa. It was all very hippy and there was an open-mic session playing out. We kicked off with a mellow Icelandic singer wallowing over love (she was good, just not in line with the vibe), switched to a more upbeat Hispanic looking guy, then onto a Venezuelan rapper… it all went wrong for him, he was reading off a phone, the electricity went, no-one clapped, really awkward. Still, everyone was having a good time. Lew was buzzing as he saw a singer from Union J…

We sat there for a while and enjoyed a cocktail before walking home. I was still limping at this stage, as was Josh with his sting ray bite. Cripples everywhere. 

Here’s a questionable cocktail choice for some lads:

Punctual as you like and under the advice of a local guide, we headed for Jaco early on as the Montezuma ferry was said to be rammed and very unorganised. It was, but we managed to scrape on to the 2pm ferry despite it looking very unpromising. The ferry ride would end up epitomising Costa Rica as a country; slightly eccentric, buzzing and packed.

What ferry do you know that turns up the volume and bangs out absolute anthems? This one. For some reason, everyone was getting the beers in and having a bit of a dance as we headed over Puntarenas. What is going on? Is this a booze cruise we accidentally paid for? After an hour of weirdness and not being able to hear anything, we arrived on the other side and headed for Jaco. 

Not feeling the booze cruise clearly:

One bridge stood out above the others. The infamous Crocodile Bridge. It’s probably not officially called that, but I’ve given it the Upper Case Treatment for its wonder. We parked up, walked onto the bridge and were met with these bad boys:

That one closest to us was about 8/9ft. I was clammy as hell. That thing would tear you apart in one sitting.
That evening, Finny and I went out for food and customised our own pizza in Jaco’s very own Pizza Subway. I’m a true romantic.

Pizza subway:

Here she is… with wings.

That night was a serious effort. There was a fan in the room, but it appeared to be generating no breeze and we all sweltered to the tunes of a club’s bass just outside our hostel. We woke up having shared about 6 hours of sleep between us. The next day would be our last…
At least we did it in style. We’ve had a trip of activities, walking and whatever you can think of, so it made sense to spend our last day doing absolutely nothing under the blazing sun.
Jaco beach club:

We sat down for our last supper and some overpriced American looking place and headed off to San Jose. That journey was hilarious for a number of reasons; maybe it was nervous laughter because the roads were so god damn dangerous and we passed two crashes. Oh, and there was thunder up in the mountains. Kudos to Lew for driving in and around San Jose.
Squad:


One of our last meals: 

That was it. We said our goodbyes to the girls and went off to the hostel that had taken us on our first night. Full circle. How poetic. At least we had our bags this time around.
Now, let’s moan about Delta Airlines just one more time. Please. For me.
On arrival to San Jose airport, they lacked the competency to give Lew his whole boarding pass. Our 8:19am flight to LAX ended up leaving at 11:30am. That’s fine, delays are part and parcel f airports sometimes. It’s a shame we were the only plane delayed. It would have been fine if it wasn’t for missing our connecting flight to London. As we arrived into LAX, we probably could have waved off what would have been our flight to Heathrow. But no, we would wait for 4 hours eating some fast food Chinese thing. It was some kind of comedy sketch. Everything was going wrong, Lew’s ticket had been cancelled by Delta, I was spewing up anything I ate or drank and we couldn’t help but laugh. 

A picture I took before hell broke loose:

Virgin Atlantic have been our saviours since day 1. Of our 4 flights, Delta have messed up their 2 (100% error ratio) and Virgin have held their own. I can’t wait to travel hassle free. A fair bit later than expected, we arrived home. Whatever.. we got back in one piece. Just, avoid Delta airlines at all costs. Are they the American Ryanair? 
COSTA RICA:
In general:

I really love this place. Everything about it oozes friendliness and beauty. If you stand still, there is probably a volcano within your peripherals. If you go there, I thoroughly recommend visiting Nicaragua and Ometepe Island if you have the time. Hire a quad, explore the whole island. See what you can of the country; we did our best in what we had of 3 weeks.

The daddy Volcano: Arenal

Natural Volcanic crater lake at the summit of Cerro Chato:

That sweat:

Greenery… there’s a lot of that in Costa Rica:

A millipede/centipede:

Ometepe Island and the Lake of Nicaragua:

Waterfall on Maderas Volcano: Ometepe Island

Chilling:

Rincon de la Vieja:

The monkey trail:

We like sunsets:

The food:
Accustom yourself to rice and beans. And plantain. That stuff is really good, too. The national dish; Casado is usually really cheap and can be bought from any local ‘Soda’ (the cheap restaurants). Otherwise, there is plenty of fish, chicken, Italian food (obviously) and more. You can be fussy and eat well there. 

Transport:
Hmm. Arguably the country’s Achilles heel. Public transport cannot be trusted, see: ‘Pura Vida, kind of’ and private shuttles add up to demolish your budget. If you can, hire a car as the roads are generally quiet if a little bumpy. It’s probably the most economic decision. 
Or you could just latch onto a police car:

Hire a big car if you want to sort your own transport:
People:
To a person, really friendly and welcoming. Ideally, learn some Spanish.
Activities:
Hiking volcanoes, white water rafting, zip lining in Monteverde, canopy tours across the country, quad biking, wildlife walks, boating in Tortuguero, surfing and snorkelling along the Pacific coast of both Nicaragua (San Juan Del Sur) and Costa Rica (Playa del Coco, Playa Grande, Ocotal, Guiones). We did all of these and enjoyed every minute of it.

Hiking Cerro Chato:

Canopy walk:

Boating over to Ometepe:

Quad biking:

Drinking:

Jumping off cliffs obviously:
Avoid sting rays, but still snorkel:

Money:
It’s a tad expensive in Costa Rica, especially in comparison to Nicaragua. If you want to do everything, you’re looking at paying around $45 per activity and shuttles across the country usually average out at around that. You can do things for less though. Buy your own food, live off Casado, whatever suits you…

That said, we did go in Semana Santa and Spring break. Poor from us. 

Tips: 

Shuffle in the sand, don’t walk: avoid sting rays…

Learn that you probably can’t afford private shuttles all over the country

Pay in colones, Costa Rica’s currency. They rarely have dollars in change and the whole thing is a faf.

Make sure you have DEET fly spray. I have been bitten to shreds, even with it.

Learn at least some Spanish. 

Do as much as you can in the time you have. Almost everything is worthwhile.
So, that’s that. I’ve probably missed a fair amount but it’s hard to remember everything off the back of a 27 hour journey…

Thanks for reading my blogs over the last 3 weeks! PURA VIDA. 

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