Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Along the Road: Costa Rica

One of the first things you notice when you get off the plane in Costa Rica (or before you arrive, if you're the planning type) is the addresses, or lack thereof.  The address of the first hostel we stayed at read something like this:  Avenida 11 between Calles 3 & 3 bis.  But the catch is, there are no street signs in Costa Rica.  Not. A. One.  And while that might drive you planning types (aka "The Old Me") crazy, I believe it added to the allure of the Pura Vida.

Having left our cell phones and computers back in the USA, now the only way someone could find us was if they knew to walk 500 meters up an unnamed dirt road, across the river and through the rain forest, make a right at the fifth coconut palm, continue on for 100 meters and make a left next to the howler monkey hanging from the mango tree, make another right at the waterfall and well, you get the picture. 

So we relied on public transportation to get us to each point on the map.  Public transportation... and the oh-so-helpful Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica.  The map above shows the route we took, starting from San Jose.  We spent one night at Hostel Pangea in San Jose ($30/night, w/hot water, shared showers) and the next afternoon we caught a bus southeast to San Isidro (about a 2-hour ride), where we had lunch and caught the next bus southwest to Dominical (about 1-hour ride).  We found it amusing that every Tico (aka Costa Rican local) seemed to know exactly where we were headed without even asking.  We figured we'd fit right in down in Dominical, and we did. 

We spent two nights at Hostel Antorchas ($14/night with private bath w/cold water showers) before catching another bus north to Quepos (2-hour ride), where got a room for two nights at the Wide Mouth Frog Hostel ($30/night with shared, cold water showers).  While staying in Quepos, we took a short bus ride to Manual Antonio National Park and spent a few hours frolicking on the white sand beaches and hiking through the rain forest. 

From Quepos, we hopped on a bus headed north to Puntarenas (about 3 hours) and took the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to the town of Paquera, on the Nicoya Peninsula.  The ferry ride was just over an hour long and once we arrived in Paquera, we took a bus about an hour south to Montezuma. 

Montezuma proved to be the place where we lost track of time.  Actually, we lost track of time somewhere between San Jose and Quepos.  Montezuma was the place where we learned what day it really was...which gave us an extra day of travel!  And since Montezuma was definitely the best stop on our trip, we decided to spend our extra day there, giving us three nights total at Hotel Lucy ($22/night w/shared, cold water showers).

From the first night in Dominical all the way to Montezuma, we were traveling one day behind a couple from Germany, Kai and Kristen. They, too, had been following the Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica and since we'd been bumping into each other all over the country, we decided to travel together from Montezuma to Alajuela. They were due to fly out the morning before us. So we got back on the bus and traveled one hour north to Paquera, took the hour-long ferry ride back to Puntarenas and then another two or three hour bus ride to Alajuela, where we stayed in the dorms ($13/person, shared showers w/hot water) at Maleku Hostel.  The next morning, the four of us took a bus from Alajuela to Volcan Poas and spent a few hours hiking around and watching the smoke billow out of its crater. 

Riding the buses was a great experience because we got to see a lot of the countryside without having to navigate our own way down unfamiliar streets with no names.  We were able to see how the Ticos live and travel and interact.  None of the buses cost more than $3 one way and they all ran on time to the point that we never missed a bus and we were never waiting too long, either.  We had our doubts about how much of Costa Rica we'd actually get to see in ten days... and in the end we actually got to see quite a lot. 

In my next few posts, I'll try to pick out a few pictures and give a little synopsis of each place we visited...

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Last of the Costa Rica Vids

Here are the last of the videos from Costa Rica, taken along the road to Volcan Poas and at the crater on the volcano:

On the Road to Volcan Poas
The Crater at Volcan Poas

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Waterfall Vids, Costa Rica

Here are videos of the waterfall in Montezuma, Costa Rica.  Ben hiked to the waterfall with Jason, a fellow American we met at Hotel Lucy. 

Ben's First Jump
Jason Jumps
Ben Jumps Again
After the Jump 1
After the Jump 2

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Costa Rica Wildlife Videos

I still plan on writing a proper post about Costa Rica but I've been busy catching up on work since we got back, so for now you'll have to settle for pictures and videos. 

Ants Go Marching in Dominical, C.R.
Coati in Manual Antonio National Park, C.R.
Lizard in Manual Antonio National Park, C.R.
Lizard in Manual Antonio, Part 2
White-Throated Magpie-Jay in Montezuma, C.R.
Squirrel in Tree in Montezuma, C.R.
Howler Monkey in Montezuma, C.R.

That's it for wildlife vids. Well, unless you count Ben and Jason jumping off the waterfall! I'll post those videos next time.

(Note: Hold down "Ctrl" and click link to open in a new tab or window. Blogger doesn't allow me the option to automatically set it up that way.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Anniversary Six

I had originally drafted this blog post to commemorate the 6th anniversary of Ben & Sam's noviazgo. I made a little slideshow of "Through the Years" pictures and wrote a few words scheduled to be published on the day that we met- six years ago, yesterday. But then, in preparation for our trip to Costa Rica, we dropped Lola off at "Camp Rita" for 20 days and I got sentimental about the 6th anniversary of We 3. Because let's face it, "Ben & Sam" never really existed without "& Lola".

So today marks the sixth year that Ben, Lola & I have been hanging out. And unfortunately, this is the first year We 3 won't be celebrating together. Today, Ben and I are wandering around Costa Rica while Lola is sailing the high seas with her favorite friends, Uncle Adam and cousin Jasmine on their sailboat, Rita. But we're always together in spirit and we're counting down the days til we're reunited next week!

Here's to We3 x 6... and many more!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Instead of a staycation, we decided to go far away this year.  By the time you read this post, we'll be on our way to Costa Rica.  We look forward to meeting my namesake, Toucan Sam, as well as many monkeys and whatever else the Ticos can throw our way.  We'll be gone for a few days, so don't wait up... and if this blog is not updated again by the end of the month, you'll know where the find us!  And if you're curious about Lola's whereabouts, you'll have to ask Adam at Camp Rita.  Hasta luego, amigos!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Swing

Blogging has been on my mind but it seems I can't come up with a coherent thought lately. I think that is due in part to the summertime swing of things. School is out, which means more time to hang out with friends. I uploaded some photos over a week ago but it's taken me this long to post them. So here goes:

Usually Ben's bicycle is the victim of foul play but it appears someone raged on my bicycled basket one night a few weeks back. Wish I could have seen this as it was happening. I'm sure it would have been a good show.

Last week, our friend Andrea came by to experience the liveaboard lifestyle.  We went for a cruise around the bay on the Livingston and she got to meet some of the neighbors. 
We stopped by Joe & Julie's boat.  Julie was out of town and I didn't get a picture of Joe, but this picture of Andrea and Lola is priceless.  Those of you who know Lola know that she doesn't take kindly to strangers.  It can take her a year to get used to new people.  This was the very first time she met Andrea and Lola took an immediate liking to her.

This is another priceless picture... I row myself around all the time but I rarely row other people.  Although I do recall a time, perhaps the first summer we were on the boat, when I was rowing Ben to the dock and a man up on the wall yelled down to Ben, "You are my HERO!"

Currently, Ben and Lola are about an hour up north.  On Tuesday, they took the ferry to Catalina Island to meet Adam & Jasmine.  They originally intended to sail to Santa Barbara, but due to time constraints they had to change plans and, as far as I know, they are headed to Newport instead.  I'm hoping to hear from them sometime today.  I think the most difficult part of sailing is not worrying about your own safety while underway, but rather worrying about your loved ones while they are underway without you. 

"May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face."
~Irish Blessing