Poor and Rich.
Before I start a new story, I first want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots of travelling!
I also want to advice everyone to try to spend next year less time on complaining about the small things. Try to start every day with a smile and if you think that you´ve a reason to complain or feel annoyance, think first about all those poor people who even can´t afford to spend time with complaining, complaining is a luxury...
Hag Molad Sameah
Enough serious talking, let´s go on with a new story:
Last time I promised you to tell more about Island de Ometepe. Ometepe is an island in Lago de Nicaragua that´s made by the eruption of 2 volcano´s. Those 2 volcano´s, the big Concepcion and the smaller Maderas with a big crater lake, cover most of the island and are part of the reason that it´s so popular with travellers. An other reason to visit is that in spite of the fact that´s famous, it´s still a farmers island where you can also enjoy watching or joining the local live.
After finishing my last report I went finally on a hiking tour across the Volcano Maderas. During this adventure hike we saw lots of monkeys and sometimes we even had to behave our self like monkeys, when we had to walk and climb across trunks, branches and roots. But the reward was a nice swim in the cool crater lake :-)
After this hike I found it time to leave Nicaragua and explore Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, from the poorest country of Central America to the richest.
Costa Rica means "Rich Coast" and this name is well chosen. The coastlines I´ve seen in the last few days are yet one of the most beautiful I´ve ever seen! Costa Rica has not only a rich coastline, also it´s population is the most prosperous of Central America. This last fact becomes clear if you walk through the streets and visit some shops. Was it in all previous countries easy and cheap to buy your food on the market, here I haven´t seen a single market yet? I heard it´s not allowed in Costa Rica? Prices in restaurants and shops are for the basic things more expensive than in the other countries, but the funny thing is that the prices for luxury things, M&M´s, chocolate butter (Nutella) or els, are cheaper?
At this moment I´m only very disappointed about the bus service, these is worse than in Nicaragua and from a more developed country you would expect the opposite? Although most of the time the busses are more luxury, the time schedules are often terrible and the bus rides unexpected slow and long. One time it took us even almost an hour to drive 19km! Perhaps this service is so bad because there are more people in Costa Rica who can afford to buy a car?
My first acquaintance with Costa Rica was in the first town after the border, Liberia. One more thing about the border crossing, it´s not necessary anymore to show a return ticket for going out of Costa Rica! Unfortunately I learned this to late...
After a few months in Central America, Liberia looks very western to me. It was my starting point in Costa Rica and also to visit a local Rodeo and the Volcan Rincon Park, at 26km from the town. This park offers trails through dry forest, around pools with boiling mud and water, to see a smoking crater or hidden waterfalls with clear blue water to swim. I was also surprised to see a lot of wildlife like different monkeys, raccoons, lizards and even a toucan and a snake!
Over a road around lake Arenal, that was at some ´places almost impassable because of the heavy rains of last night, to La Fortuna. La Fortuna, the village next to the 3e most active volcano in the world, the Arenal Volcan. Every day this volcano shows some activity, but unfortunately most time of the year the top is hidden behind clouds. I heard that the average time that you can really see the lava coming down the slopes, is not more than 30 days
a year... From La Fortuna, or better, the nice hostel of Gringo Pete´s, I took a combined tour with a one and a half hour hike through a small tropical forest and some viewpoints on the volcano. But unfortunately it became cloudy again and the only thing we could see was a little smoke coming from the slope. So we went to our next destination, Baldi´s natural
hot-springs. With a clear sky this pools with even a bar in the middle, offers a good view on the volcano. Imagine to sit in a hot pool, with a cocktail in your hand watching the lava coming down the slopes..... But with a visibility of 30 days a year I think we were already a little lucky to see for a few minutes at least some red spots of glowing rocks, just before
we entered the pools.
After a quiet day with a easy walk to the waterfall, I went next day to my next destination on the list, the popular and because of that probable to much visited park of Monteverde.
I had met some travellers in La Fortuna and on the bus to Monteverde we met 2 more travellers, because we all wanted to do the Canopy Tour we decided to stay together and went even that same day on the tour. It was fun to slide down the cables through and over the tops of the Monteverde cloudy forest, but I expected a little more exciting. After the
Canopy Tour we went walking on the famous hanging bridges of the Skywalk. We got discount, because we went on the Canopy Tour. Walking across the tops of the cloudy forest, I felt a little like if I was in the movie of Juressic Park III. Although they´d already warned me that I wouldn´t see much wildlife, I was still disappointed that I even saw almost no birds? Perhaps it would have been better to take the early morning hike tour through another part of the park, because the people the people I spoke about that had really see some special wildlife...
From Monteverde we went on an unexpected slow and long bus ride (we were lucky that we had at least a nice view) to Manual Antonio.
Manual Antonio, the village and the park. Both well known and because of that lively visited. The village is a real touristic village that offers everything a modern tourist needs, from tours to good party´s, but also for touristic (more expensive) prices....
Opposite the lively village the park offers beautiful nature and great possibilities to make close up pictures of wildlife, like monkeys, sloths, raccoons, iguanas and even more if you´re lucky. The park also contains a few of the most beautiful beaches I´ve ever seen. White beaches with clear blue water, lying in bays with tropical vegetation, beautiful! Only, be careful if you want to go for a swim, because the monkeys and raccoons can act like real thieves!
From Manual Antonio to the other famous but a little less touristic village and beaches of Montazuma. It will always remain a discussion which place contains the best beaches and most of the time it will depend on the personal interests. I found the beaches of Manual Antonio more beautiful to see, to swim and lay in the sun, but you have to pay 7US$ to enter these nice beaches (or you have to go very early ;-) and they´re not very big. in
Montazuma the beaches are a lot longer (good for a long and quiet morning walk), still nice and you don´t have to pay anything to enter them. Only the sea is less calm and blue.
While I was writing this travel report at Sunday afternoon, I was sitting next to a small pool with a small waterfall above a big waterfall. They´d told me that you could do some rock jumping from this small waterfall into the pool, but now I was alone and when i stood there at a height of 5.5m (with my eyes 1.8m higher) I was not sure anymore if I would like to jump? It took me at least 10 minutes to convince myself and after, when I went writing, I felt a little brave.
But now I´ve translated my story and don´t feel that brave anymore, because just after I left I saw someone jumping from a point at 2 third of the high waterfall and this is at least 16m!
I may be a little crazy and like some adventure, but that´s to much.....