East, West and Central Costa Rica


In preparation for our visitors who were soon to come, we continued the search for the best of Costa Rica.  However, first was another short gig with a fellow couchsurfer.  Not that we had much need for this, as we had a van to sleep in, but the idea of couchsurifing was such a neat concept that we just enjoyed the experience of it.  There we were complete strangers, Christopher a recent Polish migrant to Costa Rica and us the Canadian Bosnian trio exploring Costa Rica.  Not having a common language, the communication took place in Spanish (by Christopher) and English (by us).  Each of us (with some minimal sound effects and mimery) was able to understand the other, this gave us a great sense of accomplishment, which faded once his Costa Rican neighbours came in speaking Spanish without us understanding a word of it.  Our host was also a former  employee at an Italian restaurant as well as a pizzeria.  For us this was great news, as he proceeded to prepare an amazing spaghetti lunch followed by some home made pizza for dinner.   We were giddy with excitement at the prospect of non cabbage/carrot/bean meal we were about to have.  And there it was, a place of couchsurfing, where (for the most part) strangers are greeted like old friends and where fear mongering has no hold.

Brett and Christopher enjoying the waterfall which attracts numerous picnickers.

We parted ways with Christopher to head to Costa Rica’s east coast, better known for its reggae vibe (at least Puerto Viejo).  From there we ventured back through the central valley over 3000 meter high mountains and down to the Pacific mainland coast.

Campground near Puerto Viejo.  Ella not looking too happy in the company of the clearly too friendly neighborhood dogs.
Brett concentrating on edible coconut extraction. Definitely gives our non-local cover away.
But the  man can scale trees.
Puerto Viejo
And then we ran into a sloth.  It took him about 7 minutes to cover the distance from me to the tree, but we cheered him on with great enthusiasm.
Our wildlife watching took us to lower grounds where we spotted these hard working ants.
And then there were meandering rivers

West Pacific mainland beaches, like many other beaches may be secluded during workdays, but on weekends they fill up with Costa Rican families picnicking and camping.  The food was plentiful, at least on their end, as they enjoyed bbq meets, fried chicken and other home made meals along with gallons of pop and chips.  Not having prepared so well, we enjoyed smelling their delicious meals while preparing our own dough stuffed with cabbage concoction, or what in El Salvador they might call pupusas.  Aside from eating, other activities included swimming, as you would figure on a beach, but not quite as you would picture.  Swimmer’s squealed and giggled excitedly, arms flailing in all directions as waves bashed into them, while others just rolled around in the sand, with a more of a beached wale look.  From previous misadventures we have learned that there is a reason locals do as they do, so we followed in their path, throwing ourselves against the waves and rolling in the sand.

Brett using his newly acquired surfing muscles to kneed the dough
Board preparations requiring detailed concentration
Swimming extravaganza starts
“I swear I will poop on this pillow if they start driving again, unless I fall asleep first.”

Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula


Exploration started with the Nicoya Peninsula. We covered most of the Pacific coast, staying in various formal and informal campsites, until we reached Montezuma where we spent six days perched on a beach under the trees. The grumpy lady renting the cabin in front of the beach was not happy about this. There we were, hammocks spread out, chairs, stove (it did not take long for us to make ourselves at home). And all of it for free, with the best beach spot in town I would argue. Locals said the beach was fair game for all, so neither us nor our neighbours (two hammock dwellers and Max who biked from Peru) planned on moving elsewhere.  We enjoyed the evening stars that would fill the sky and the turtle sanctuary, along with the other beauties and challenges of wild camping.  Volunteers patrolled the beach in search of turtles, once found the eggs were relocated where they could be safeguarded from poachers and other wildlife.

Junquillal beach: Finally a rock beach!


Drums beat at 8 am as the town of Samara with a population of about 4000 people joins the global climate march.
Montezuma beach dinner, Brett and Ella gaze into the distance of another stretch of unswimmable waters.

At about nine o’clock it was already too hot to move about. So we would settle in for individually prescribed siestas.

Brett rotates with the shade around the tree
Taking cover from the heat under the van, although I am not sure it works like that, but we won’t tell the dog.
Not having a cell phone of my own I am left to ponder the secrets of the universe
Sometimes I hide in my van fort and have a reading fiesta.  Although ebooks on a laptop are a bit awkward to read.
And sometimes you just swing to your heart’s desire

As we moved around the peninsula the road conditions were far from what we expected in Costa Rica.  But before Brett would get frustrated with the wash board rattle that loosened most of the screws in the car, the river crossings made for some fun time.



Sometimes we all gather in the front to ponder over serious decisions.

Onto a more serious discussion, as we try to solve our ant problem which was slowly getting out of control. First step was ignoring it, with hopes it would go away, apparently the ants were also hoping we were going away and tried to take over.   Furthermore while driving Brett noticed a monster of a spider looming above his head in the car.   We quickly exchanged looks, pulled half way off the road and jumped out of the car.  Neither of us are squeamish about spiders or other creatures, but this fellow meant business.  Unsuccessfully, we tried to get the spider out, instead he got deeper into the car.  It was time to get some bug killing spray for our van.  So in a vary inorganic manner we solved our ant problem.  The whereabouts of the spider however remained a mystery, so we emptied the entire contents of the car in search.  Next step was googling in hopes of identifying a big, but harmless spider.  Like googling diseases, it proved to be a horrible idea.  First contestant was the worlds most poisonous Brazilian Wondering Spider, considering we were not getting in bed with that, we googled more until the next match proved to be less murderous. We survived the night and moved on from the beaches into the hills of Costa Rica among the more friendlier cows and chickens.

Hills over Juntas looking over the Pacific coast.  This place was a winner so far in Costa Rica.