The time had come to finally leave Nicaragua. We love Nicaragua and it seemed natural to spend a lot of our time here, especially since the flow of the places of intrigue were in the right direction…it worked out perfectly. Sadly, with only a few days left in Central America, Costa Rica was next on our list.
Costa Rica is much more developed and touristy which also means more expensive, hence why we only left a few days for here. We did get to see quite a bit of the country in a couple of days as our bus journeys took us from one side of the country, from the border to the Caribbean Sea. Let’s begin where we left off though, in El Castillo. We caught the 5am ferry to return to San Carlos. First time we saw the sun come up. Were on Rio San Juan, it was mystical – foggy, cloudy, misty, still, cool – beautiful. We had quite a few connections to make so toes and fingers were crossed for a smooth day. In San Carlos again, we were to catch a similar type boat down Rio Frio that only left at 1030am. After lots of broken spanish and still complete uncertainty of what’s going on or where to buy tickets, and not to mention the paranoia and anxiety from our past experience…we followed the body language of the crowd and found ourselves in the Nicaragua customs line, on our way to the boat. Yay! Before we knew it we were down the river, on land again for good and in Costa Rica. One bus ride then another bus and we were in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica by 7pm that night. Yes! We were where we wanted to be. We met a lovely Italian couple during our route that day, who we had seen previous days as well; we were following one another unintentionally that day since the boat in San Carlos.
The four of us shared a taxi. The Italians led us to the hostel they had booked. It worked out perfect. We needed to eat as well, so the four of us went for dinner at the nearest restaurant and shared some beer and conversation. All of a sudden I felt I was in Italy. The little architecture of San Jose that I saw from the bus, reminded me of Italy – the national theatre, a few monuments. And then here we were sitting with these wonderful Italians that were telling their travel stories in their strong accents with true authentic Italian style, noises, grunts and actions and chain smoking of course. It is impossible to put into words but they were hilarious. What a lovely wrap up to another glorious day!
Up at 5am again. A four hour direct bus to Cahuita on the Caribbean Sea, our last stop. We had 48 hours to spend here, and then back to San Jose for our flight. It is absolutely beautiful! It is difficult to find a beach town in Costa Rica that is not completely over developed with tourism or surfing and not too expensive. We choose wisely and we definitely lucked out.
Cahuita is on the southern end of the Caribbean coast, only a couple hrs away from the Panama border. So we had crossed the entire country basically in a day and a half. The terrain we drove through was encompassed by volcanic mountain chains and dense jungle. Our long day the day before allowed us to see the sunset amidst the winding roads; it felt like we were atop a mountain as I swear we were even with the peak of the volcano that was in the distance as well as the sun as it was coming down. It was sensational; the most beautiful sunset we had seen yet.
On our way to Cahuita, we observed acres and acres of fields of bananas and pineapples. I have never seen anything like it. Signs for posted as they were the products of Dole, DelMonte and Chiquita, all very familiar brands to us. However, it didn’t seem right. You know these companies are using that land and making a huge profit, yet the people dwelling literally right next to these fields were living in shacks. Where is the fair trade? Is it ridiculous that products must be labelled ‘Fair Trade’ in order to guarantee ethics, morals, and fairness! But that is reality, so let’s try to be fair in our purchases..
Finally, Cahuita. Cahuita has managed to hold onto its laid back feel with a small town vibe. It has a complete Caribbean feel with a huge Afro-Caribbean presence. English and Spanish is widely spoken as well as Mekatelyu, the local language. We found ourselves a hotel with a private balcony 20 ft from the sea. We were soaking up our last few days. The water of the sea was gorgeous turquoise blue, warm as bathwater, bordered by white sand. There is a dense jungle behind the long stretch of beach, the Cahuita National Park. This is a protected area that you can walk through; it is full of wildlife including sloths, iguana, snakes, birds, butterflies, caimans and monkeys. Due to our inhibitions, we choose not to take a stroll…my severe fear of snakes and Jingo’s fear of lizards would have not allowed the experience to be enjoyable… that was the right decision. We had no difficulty though enjoying the sand, the sea, the atmosphere, and our view. We were lovin it!
We truly embraced each and every moment as this part of journey was wrapping up. The experiences we had were out of this world. We leave this part of the world changed and forever grateful. We experienced, embraced and evolved. This is not an end though, it’s just another beginning…