Good friends are always there…even when they are hundreds of miles away…to give you a dose of perspective. This morning, while texting with my friend Holly, I mentioned how it was 10:30 am and while I was planning to go hiking, I was feeling kind of tired and lazy about the hour long bus ride to get Manual Antonio National Park. In the most sensitive and certainly loving way, her response was…”Oh my.. what a hard day you have. 😉 Put on those flip flops and get going.” Not only did she make me laugh, but she reminded me that after six weeks on the road, I have quickly succumbed to this less that laborious lifestyle. So…I popped on my flip flops and headed to the bus stop without a second of delay and filled with knowledge of how blessed I am to be living this life dream.
Costa Rica has been pretty cool! In a way, I wish I didn’t know anything about it before I arrived. When you talk to people who have been to Costa Rica, they are awed and excited and talk about the mind blowing experience. To me, it is kind of like being set up on a date where someone tells you amazing things about the other person and when you meet them, no matter how smooth and charming, your brain starts picking out flaws.
I have to say that I have never experienced such amazing natural adventures. I hiked over ten miles in two national parks and rarely saw another person. It is the rainy season here, so while the temperatures are very warm, there have been daily showers in some places. Monteverde Cloud Forest had beautiful landscapes of mountains and clouds that made me feel like I was climbing near the sky. I traveled on the “natural” trail and muddied up my feet enough to make me feel really tough. Manuel Antonio National Park is without a doubt one of the coolest places I have been and I love the way the rain forest collides with the beachfront. The reward for a humid hike is a dip in the cool water…incredible!
Transportation has been easy. I worked with Costa Rica tours in San Jose to organize many city to city shuttles because it was the most efficient way to move around in a hurry. In Quepos, I have used public buses to travel and they are super inexpensive…less than a dollar for rides over 30 km. I am staying at a hotel between Quepos as Jaca Beach which was recommended by a friend whose nephew owns it. It has been comfortable and a great chance to see parts of the country that I would not have explored without this recommendation. I am always surprised by how many people “know someone” where you are traveling and how many of these connections prove to be so valuable. That is one of the reasons I always recommend that people share their travel plans with others…you never know what magic will be created and people…some good friends and others near strangers…share the best tips I have received.
Some of the ultra tourism and expense of Costa Rica have been surprising. You can find cheap enough accommodations and transportation, but the cost of food has been expensive, even at local spots. I guess expensive is relative…the costs mirror prices at home, but seemed a bit shocking after enjoying those $1 dinners in San Salvador. There is not a lot of street food here…which is usually how I make it through each day.
My last stop here will be a few days at the beach before heading to Panama City for a few days. On Friday, I am meeting Ramon who I met at my friend Ursula’s wedding. Ramon keeps a paper copy of an address book that he updates each new year. Getting…and staying in the book is a special honor reserved for his most trusted and interesting friends. From the first five minutes we met, I pledged that I was getting in that book and planning to stay in it. I am pretty sure that meeting his family for an international lunch is a sure ticket to admittance. Lucky for me, he is visiting family in San Jose at the same time I am here. I can’t wait for this special day. God works in mysterious ways to help us reach our goals.