Thursday, 6 March 2014

Into the western wilderness of Costa Rica

Hola todo mundo!

A quick overview from the beauty that Costa Rica has provided us! The last time we talked, we were about to leave Nicaragua after having been there for over a month due to some unfortunate experiences. After having spend longer than expected in Nicaragua - and everywhere else - we decided to pass Costa Rica fast: we are in a hurry to go to South America and Costa Rica is a westernised country which is expensive. So we only spend a short time here and we can confirm that it is indeed a very developed country which is significantly more expensive than the northern Central American countries. For ourselves, Costa Rica has not been the most spectacular country to visit as their is little to experience from a cultural point of view, still we could recommend it to people who would like to have a first travel experience in Latin America - there are a lot of activities to do here!

So where did we start? Well first we had a very smooth, although very unlogical and messy, border crossing into Costa Rica. We had just said goodbye to Sharon at the bus station of Rivas, so we only made it into Costa Rica around 6 in the evening and therefor immediately went to a campground. Finca Canas Castilla provided the perfect place for us and by coincidence we met previously met travellers John and Betti here! The place was great for relaxing a bit and to realise we are travelling again after what happened in Nicaragua.

After a day of relaxing and playing with the baby sloth (luiaap / oso perezoso) we headed off to Lake Arenal, passing via Caño Negro, a small lake recommended to us. Again by 'coincidence' (we knew they would be around) we met 'The French Family' here! It is really a small world and it is funny to see everybody by coincidence! We talk a bit and we play a bit and we are ready to continue to Lake Arenal. Guess what? Here we meet 'The Dutchies', camping on a beautiful stretch of land in the lake, without anybody around. This is a gorgeous place to be, especially when you see how Gringolandia this area really is!

From the lake it is a relative short drive towards the cloudforests of Monteverde, one of the most visited natural parks of Costa Rica. The forest itself is beautiful and it is  nice to see the area so green as we were so surprised to see how the north of Costa Rica is deforested. We always imagined Costa Rica to be a completely green paradise, but this is not always the case. Anyhow, Monteverde is beautiful and has some really cool paths. The main ones leaving at the entrance are a bit more busy, but the ones at the end are practically abandoned and I think we haven't met anybody there. Ironically the only animals we have seen at this park were not inside the forest but at the parking area. The most spectacular for us was to finally see a Quetzal, a bird which you have to see when you are crossing Central America. For months we have been hearing about it and never we have seen it until now. We can only confirm that it is truly a beautiful and elegant bird. It should not be a surprise when we say that also here we bumped into someone previously met. While walking we pass the 'English family'. This means that within 36 hours we saw everybody with who we camped almost a week before on the beach, rather funny for us, especially in Costa Rica, where there are significantly more roads and places to go to.

With them we spend a nice evening camping in Santa Elena, after which we proceed to the capital San Jose. Here we will meet Lynn, which we had previously met in Honduras, and we'll go and look for a new camera for Alex - it is pretty complicated to find a good camera in these areas, so we really had to do some research where to find something. The city of San Jose does not have much to offer for us, it might have some interesting corners, bur we haven't seen the charm of it. On top, the traffic to leave the city was horrible and the streets were organised unlogically. 

Our next stop would be Punta Uva, at the caribbean side, where Mireia has a family member Angela who has a natural reserva, named La Ceiba, together with her husband Francesc. Both of them are true adventurers and together with their friend Rosa from Barcelona, make us have a great experience. . We were very lucky to meet them, as they arrived one day before us from Barcelona. The natural reserve is located in the jungle where we see plently of animals. On top the area of Punta Uva is really beautiful with perfect beaches. The area is a little bit touristic, but nothing compared to its neighbour villages Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo. After enjoying ourselves and the company during several days, we head of to Panama as we have a boat to catch! We are hoping to make it to Colombia soon, as we are already far behind our travel schedule! But let's not go to fast, more on this the next time, now enjoy some of the animals!

Alex and Mire

Look at this cute 10 months old sloth

The finca had some nice short hikes from where we could enjoy the northern Costa Rican landscapes - Nicaragua is very deforested, but the north of Costa Rica has seen its share as well

Going to the Monteverde cloud forest we immediatly have some visitors at the car
Looking down at the forest from a suspension bridge

Since entering Central America there is a big hype around the Quetzal bird, which is increasingly rare to spot due to decreased territories. We finaly mamaged to spot one of these beautiful birds! Sorry, not the best picture quality.


Finding a perfect relaxed camping spot at Gringo lake Arenal thanks to previous overlanders

San Jose - Not the most spectecular town (for us) combined with horrible traffic

We meet Lynn! (Ref to Utila, Honduras)

On our way from San Jose to Punta Uva we have the whole beach at our disposal for camping

Punta Uva Jaguar Rescue Center: Here rescued animals are prepared to be released in the wild again 

Another baby sloth - this time it is a three fingered one, they look completely different!


Relaxing after a long day of relaxing
This must be the most lazy sloth ever, he/she didn't even do the effort to go up the tree to sleep

In La Ceiba we see a whole bunch of other animals: The woodpecker
Punta Uva had the most idyllic beaches

More beach

Funny bichos

La Ceiba has a beautiful entrance with this suspension bridge
Beautiful natural gardens - La Ceiba

Funny raccoons - also in preparation to be released to the wild

Thanks to Angela, Francesc and Rosa we had a wonderful stay at the natural reserve of La Ceiba

Ups! The famous Costa Rican red eyed frog in action

Manzanillo beach
More playa at Punta Uva
And more...


  1. Again so much beautifull pictures. Kisses, kristine

    1. Thanks Kristine! Hope everything is fine there.
      Lots of love!
      Alex and Mire

  2. Hola a tots dos.
    Ja queda poc per finalitzar Amèrica central.
    És espectacular tot el que esteu fent, i si us plau, no deixeu d'informar, que es la única via que tenim de comunicació amb vosaltres.

    1. Gracies Nacho!! :) ja estém a colombiaaaaaaaaaaa!!! don't worry, continuarem fent el blog! :)