A Leap of Faith, a Dead Pimp and the release of Chip ‘n’ Dale
Because of the food poisoning I spent the most of my time in Monteverde in bed doing nothing but watching movies and feeling sorry for myself. I did however have one full day feeling well, so I got to do the thing I came for in the first place; bungee jumping!
I booked a day tour through Extremo Monteverde and got 4 km of ziplining and a bungee jump for 100 USD.
Ziplining through the jungle was a fun experience; we went in a large group and you went straight from one zipline to another. They were all connected in a large circle so that the last line stopped back at the restaurant.
During the ziplining I met a group of European girls studying Spanish in Costa Rica. They were all doing the bungee, and being the only guy jumping I had a great time laughing at them screaming all the way down.
With it’s 143 meters the bungee jump in Monteverde is the highest in Central America. You enter a horizontal lift and jump over a beautiful valley. The jump itself was a great adrenalin kick, although it didn’t even come close to skydiving.
During dinner I met Louise, one of the girls I met at both Lost and Found and Walaba in Punta Uva; I knew she was going to Monteverde, but it is still curious how I keep meeting the same people again and again.
After dinner I spoke with the hostel manager about finding an easy route to San Carlos Nicaragua rather than backtracking 5 hours to San Jose. I ended up booking a jeep-boat-jeep transport for the next morning – taking me to La Fortuna instead of San Jose.
At breakfast I started talking to a woman from the US. She and a group of 5 others were also doing the transport, planning to stay in La Fortuna before heading to Nicaragua. During the trip to La Fortuna I learned that the group was a melting pot of independent travellers and groups who met each other travelling and teamed up. Virginia from the US met Selina from Germany while volunteering at a turtle conservation project and decided to leave early to travel together. Zac and Carly, a couple from Miami, knew Sean and Dan from back home and decided to travel Costa Rica together for a short while. Only Virginia and Selina had a substantial amount of time left, whereas the others would have to go back to Miami three days later to work and graduate Med school.
I decided to change my initial plans and stay with the group in La Fortuna rather than continuing to Nicaragua immediately.
We arrived in La Fortuna around noon and got two private rooms at Backpacker Hostel La Fortuna, each room sleeping 4 persons each. It was nice to have a really clean and nice room for a change, and it was a small victory to haggle the price down from 19 to 10 dollars pp.
The first day we spent walking around the city; getting lunch, doing laundry and just acquainting ourselves with the area. We were all to tired to go out a night, so we just went for dinner and crashed early.
We got up early the next day to go to one of the volcanoes nearby. We had booked a shuttle to 7:30, but it proved to be to early and we ended up postponing it an hour. The shuttle took us to a Arenal National Park, a beautiful place with some nice hiking trails. We went to a small but scenic waterfall first, crossed a hanging bridge and took the longer of the two trails; passing through beautiful lowland with grazing cattle and horses – surrounded by mountains and forest.
After a couple of kilometers we arrived at the foot of the volcano and started the ascent. The sign said 1540 meters, but with a slope so steep that it was more climbing than walking, it seemed pretty far.
With time the crater of the extinct volcano accumulated so much rainwater that it created a lake with its own ecosystem; containing small fish, frogs and geckos. After swimming in the crater and relaxing our battered bodies, we started the long hike down.
After the hike back we relaxed in the restaurant at the Observatory Lodge and enjoyed the simply stunning view of the lake and the Volcán Arenal.
Today, Virginia, Selina and I got up at 4:45 am, took the bus to Quesada and changed to a bus going to Los Chiles. While waiting for the boat we had a weird experience; a pickup truck carrying a coffin in the back stopped at the boat terminal. The coffin was covered in fur and looked like it had been the end of half a dozen Golden Retrievers. My theory is that it contained the body of the local pimp or a Columbian drug lord, the truth we will never know.
Sailing down the river we saw monkeys and birds along the shore, it was a welcome change from sitting in the hot busses all day!
After waiting an hour in immigration in San Carlos, we only had 30 minutes to get food and find the bus. It proved to be one of the old school buses that we love so much….
After 30 minutes of bumpy driving we stopped in a small city to pick up people (and a small squealing pig in a plastic bag that they placed on the roof, bizarre.) During the 5 hour drive to Granada we experienced deafening Michael Jackson Thriller Reggaeton remixes and a huge “controlled” wildfire in the distance. After 16 hours of travelling we arrived in Granada. Exhausted and hungry we got to the hostel, only to find it fully occupied. We found another hostel, got some food and crashed, hard.
Today we started the morning by moving to El Momento Hostal, a beautiful hostel with hammocks and soft beds – just what I needed. During breakfast the girls talked about how much they hated caged animals, so before we left I took the liberty of opening the squirrel cage in the restaurant. Luckily my ninja skills proved sufficient and no one noticed anything before I had fled the scene. Now I just hope they are smart enough to escape before it’s too late.
Today marks the end of my fifth week in Central America and I still feel like I just arrived. Travelling solo is fantastic; I meet tons of new people every day and can do exactly what I feel like – no plans, no expectations. Even though it is a fantastic adventure, there are however things I come to miss. What I miss about Denmark so far is the following; friends and family, food that doesn’t contain rice and beans, not having to lock my things in a locker when I leave, hot water showers and DSB (believe it or not).
49 days left – 1000 things to do.