Read more about the article Cahuita and Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo - Costa Rica

Cahuita and Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica

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The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica

Our last days in Central America after 3 weeks’ long trip were for relaxing and recovering from such busy days we had. Then what’s best than the Caribbean coast along Puerto Viejo by the nice beaches and warm waters? While in Costa Rica you have the choice of both Pacific and Caribbean coasts, it is merely up to you what you are really looking for. Either cold waters, long beaches with strong currents and big waves, ideally for surfing and other sports alike, or nice calm warm waters along small beaches. In our case it was not even optional thinking about the Pacific.

So after our rather disappointing experience so far in Costa Rica, were quite skeptic already in what we could expect. Anyway, we did a good decision although there was a very big downside in any case: getting here from San Jose. Yet again, another very lengthily drive, aggravated with the super long queues of cars and tracks because of the improvement works being carried right now at the road (January 2016). But with or without any road works, expect to be driving for 4 hours minimum, even the total distance is not that much. It is the only and main road for everyone going to the Caribbean, and onto Panama via the Caribbean side. Also because of Limon is the largest and main port in the country, hence the hundreds of lorries slowing down the flow enormously.

Once you reach Limon, the last 40 kilometres are easy and fast parallel to the coast. At first impression you will see dirty beaches and horrible landscapes. We were worries at this point! But hold on until you reach Cahuita, and beyond. This changes dramatically, with extremely beautiful unpolluted beaches, lush forests and nature. But you won’t be “alone”. You will be part of the many tourists all over the area. (more…)

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Read more about the article Monteverde and Arenal – Costa Rica
Monteverde - Costa Rica

Monteverde and Arenal – Costa Rica

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One of the greatest Cloud Forest in the world

Continuing our tour in Costa Rica, we spared today for enjoying the nature at one of the most worldwide renown forest the country is famous for, the Cloud Forest. While you can find it at many parts in the country, the nicest one, also the “easiest” to reach is Monteverde. Being at 150 kilometres from San Jose, it is the nearest to the capital, since the other forests that actually surround the capital are Rain Forests.

Before coming here, the four of us were quite excited about the possibility to see animals. After all, those forests and overall the country itself, is famous for the incredible biodiversity. With such small land mass it houses the most % of biodiversity of anywhere else on earth. Our expectations were to be able to see sloths, toucans and the likes, but well, that did not happen! At least, not for us. Although they strongly promise you over the internet at the many tour operators selling you tickets for any activity in Monteverde that you will see animals, they also mention the unsocial hours for this to happen. So unless you are brave enough to arrive around 5.00am, later than that you will only see a plain forest without any animal, not even birds.

So 150 kilometres from San Jose where our base was, meant driving for almost 4 hours! Yes take that note. And thankfully we had a powerful big car, otherwise forget about even getting closer to Monteverde. While for the first half of the journey you will be driving on the Panamerican Highway, the following quarter will be on a tiny bending road, and the last quarter on an unpaved narrow road, climbing up and up the mountain. This section was never ending and the one to blame for the trip to be that long and tiring. (more…)

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Read more about the article Cartago – Costa Rica
Cartago - Costa Rica

Cartago – Costa Rica

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Former Capital City of Costa Rica

On our second stop while in Costa Rica we visited the former capital: Cartago. Named after the Spanish city of Cartagena, name taken from Cartage in Tunis and taken to Spain by the Romans. Like it happened to many other former capital cities in Central America during Spanish colonial times, it was destroyed after many earthquakes and volcano eruptions hence the need to build a new capital city at a safer place, San Jose in this case.

The city, merely 25 kilometers from downtown San Jose is considered a major tourist destination in the country. Not sure why it gets such ratings though, I must really say here that bearing the ruins of Saint James Apostle Church and the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels there is nothing else worth to mention, nor to make the effort to come here should you be short of time and days while in Costa Rica. We visited as part of San Jose, and took us not even 3 hours to walk few streets and see all the sights. I cannot imagine any longer in this place, and this was the feeling not only of myself, but the other 3 friends we came together. A very big disappointment of place.

On the other hand, the only good side is the near distance to San Jose, for what makes it extremely easy to come here; also considering that San Jose was quite another disappointment for us, hence a good excuse to spend the time and so something, otherwise I would have gladly been at the hotel’s pool all day. Now I know, back then we did not know and had to give the city a try.


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Read more about the article San Jose – Costa Rica
San Jose - Costa Rica

San Jose – Costa Rica

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Named in honor of Joseph of Nazareth

Arriving to the next country, Costa Rica, making it number 77 on the list of countries I’ve been to this date. To be honest, full of expectations and very excited to finally come here, yet as I will explain later on, it ended up in being a total deception. In this occasion we made San Jose, the capital city our base for the next 3 days, in order to visit Cartago, Monteverde and Arenal; then for another 2 days we made the base in Cahuita by the Caribbean coast, and finally, one last day back in San Jose to rent after 3 intense weeks of travelling non-stop before heading back to Europe.

This was a short flight from Managua to San Jose in one of the smallest planes I’ve ever flew. That was fun! Really fun. I love the experience of being in a plane never been before, and specially if this is a tiny one. It was a Costa Rican airline, Nature Air, on a LET 410 UVP E20. Everyone in this flight was excited to fly, all of the 19 tourists including myself. The only major downside are the super high costs of flying through Central and South America in general. We had no other option, unless to lose an entire day and travel by bus instead, something unfortunately we could not afford due to our very limited time.

So, San Jose. How to start. A city of mixed feelings, or two different cities in one. At one side you have many very nice and beautiful old buildings, although scattered through the entire city mixed with many other horrible buildings all over. The reason for such a great loss on architecture is like anywhere else in Central America, earthquakes and volcano eruptions; but gladly, a lot have survived in the case of San Jose, as opposed to Managua or San Salvador, the most seriously impacted. And in the other hand, it is a city full of beggars, overall insecure feeling, and where everything closes super early leaving you stranded even without restaurants where to go nor shopping centres opened! (more…)

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