Friday, March 21, 2008

Costa Rica 43 - The End


The big question I always ask myself when we return from a trip is this: Would I ever visit there again? The answer in this case is a resounding yes, but with a different agenda.

Of all the places we visited, the one I would probably return to is the one that I thought I would not. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This is the tiny Caribbean town where all the reggae music was being played. Take the music out of the equation and it was a great town. I really liked the beaches, especially Punta Uva and would like to return there.

I would like to visit the Guanacaste region in the north and then see the Pacific side. We didn’t get to either one of these places and there are some great sounding things to do and see there. Of course, it is not rain forest and that is what our primary objective was on this trip. Guanacaste is described as the “wild west” of Costa Rica with lots of cowboys and cattle ranches. Which also means horses and I still want to ride!

Here are just some of my observations:

Green. I marveled over and over at how green everything was. And all different shades. As far as the eye could see. Which was not very far at times! The vegetation was lush and covered everything. Plants we normally think of as potted house plants grow wild here and reach dimensions we never even consider. The bamboo was everywhere and just simply incredible.

Vegetation. I suppose this could be listed under Green. But it truly does seem like a category unto itself. Especially in the rain and cloud forests. Plants are king in Costa Rica. Remember the leaf I jokingly (?) described as a fig leaf? It’s unofficial official name is “Poor Man’s Umbrella” because people do use it as a makeshift umbrella. It’s that big. The amazing diversity of plant life alone is a good reason to visit.

Bugs. I thought we would encounter a lot more than we did. Of course, there were mosquitoes. But where isn’t there? We truly had to keep our eyes open and really look to see most of the bugs we did see. They are extremely well adapted and camouflaged for their environment. I was a bit apprehensive going into this. I thought we would plagued by bugs everywhere. Creepy, crawly stuff. Not the case at all.

SNAKES! What a disappointment they turned out to be. With over 220 species of reptiles, half of which are snakes, in Costa Rica, I thought we would see a lot more. We saw exactly one in the wild. That harmless pink bellied thing the guide caught to show us. Good thing we visited that snake place in Monteverde or I probably never would have seen a fer-de-lance. I wonder though…how many snakes saw me??

People. I thought Mexicans were friendly! They don’t hold a light to the people of Costa Rica. I never once encountered anything or anybody even coming close to being rude. No line jumping, no shoving to get on or off a bus and smiles from everybody. The national motto of Costa Rica is “Pura Vida”, meaning pure life. They take it a step further and it takes on a meaning of live and let live. Politeness seems to be a national pastime.

San Jose. That city made me very nervous and uncomfortable. Big cities don’t usually bother me at all. There was just an underlying current of danger there. I noticed that everybody who had something to carry, a purse, a bag, a camera, had it around their necks and had a very good grasp on the strap. Just in case somebody gave it a jerk. It is a necessary evil. The starting and stopping point for most adventures, due to the airport being there. It is not a city I want to spend any more time in than I have to. The only down side of Costa Rica I found.

I enjoyed this trip. I think you can tell. It took me 42 chapters to tell the story! Not only because of where we went, but also of how we traveled. I really enjoyed being a backpacker. I enjoyed sitting by the side of the road waiting for a bus. I enjoyed lugging that thing around, everything I owned carried with me. I enjoyed the luxury of not having to drive or find my own way around. I would like to do it again sometime, but not on our next big trip.

We are planning a minimum six week adventure starting in June. We will be taking the car. We are going to drop over to the Pacific Coast and follow it more or less northward to Mazatlan. Then a 19 hour ferry to the Baja Peninsula. Around there a bit and then back to the mainland and on to the Copper Canyon. Lots of cities, waterfalls, canyons, ruins, mines and who knows what else await us. Stay tuned for that!

I am always curious. Did reading of my adventure make any of you want to go to Costa Rica? Or just the reverse? What part of the trip story did you enjoy the most? The least? I am interested in hearing feedback. I enjoy writing about our adventures but am not always too sure people enjoy hearing about them! Any feedback would be welcome! Thank you to all of you.

1 comment:

Marlene Sherwin said...

really enjoyed your journals .Costa Rica is on my list to visit. We did Australia and New zealand last year and will be going across Canada this summer. Keep up your interesting blog from a Canadian