At the Costa Rican border we said goodbye to each other with Nikki, she went to Monteverde and I went to Playa el Coco..Mistake! The only reason I went there was to dive but it was like a worn out ghost town..100% americanised and low season..if you happen to be there do not go with Summer Salt dive centre! They stood me up by saying they would have a trip to the Bats Cave (best dive site where mantas and hammerheads are common ) the day after, so I waited, but when I appeared at the dive centre at 5.30 in the morning it was closed and nobody appeared up until 6.30 am (trip was meant to be at 6am) so I packed all angry and left.

The next destination was not any better: Jaco. The only reason I came here was to see a friend of mine Gil, whom I met in the Corn islands. The town is full of expensive beach shops, surfers (mainly gringo), but it was nice to hang out with the girls for a night.

After this I spent a night in Quepos so I could have an early start to Manuel Antonio National park the day after, which did not quite happen cause the girls took ages to arrive from Jaco but it was ok. I saw my first sloth!! Mission completed for Costa Rica:)

sloth

Sloths are incredibly slow..they live high up on the trees and only come down once a week to poo. They made me laugh. I saw one with the baby!!

Sloth baby

The national park was nice but way too touristy and half of it was closed because of maintenance. Raccoons are cheeky, they attack the backpacks while tourists are chilling on the beach.

Next stop was Uvita. Now this place is less touristy and beautiful. I stayed in a wonderful hostel called Flutterby House where I met a really nice girl who worked there. I had a tree house just for myself..very much enjoyed this jungle house!

Tree house Tree house

It´s a bit scary to get to this hostel after dark as the bus drops you off about a kilometer away and I was walking on a dirt road for about 20 mins with my iPhone´s flash light but in the end I made it.

Next day I visited the Marino Ballena National Park ..I have never seen such a stunning beach! It was low tide and you had to walk about 200m to reach the water..

Uvita

On the way back I chatted to a lovely Tica lady (this is how Costa Ricans call themselves, Ticos) who fixed a nice lift for me to the waterfall where the rain got me and I walked back in pouring rain. Was fun:)

After Uvita I headed to the Penisula Osa (Bahia Drake) where I wanted to stay in the national park 1 or 2 nights..I haven´t made any arrangements yet and I chose to go to a hidden gem called Jaguar´s Jungle which is a hostel in the real jungle ..with nothing nearby (town is 4 hours walk among poisonous snakes ). Let me tell you about the way to Bahia Drake, cause it´s not that straight forward. In Costa Rica buses are not great. You have to change a lot and they are not frequent at all. So from Uvita I took a bus to Palmar Norte where sadly there was no bus to Sierpe so I took a taxi for $15. In Sierpe there is a morning (11.30am ) and afternoon boat to Bahia Drake (around 3pm). I made the 11.30 one and requested a lift to Jaguar´s Jungle..they wanted to charge me more (regular price is $15, so they said cause it´s way further out than Bahia Drake I need to pay $25 which I refused so they called Leo, the owner who wasn´t in the hostel but on holiday and he arranged the lower price for me.

As the boat dropped me off, Osvaldo and David greeted me. David was a volunteer, Osvaldo was a Tico. They had lovely seafood coconut soup so I had lunch and just wondered around..I was the ONLY guest. Which seemed kind of cool at the beginning..things got complicated when I told them my plans..I wanted to dive the next day in Isla Caño, then go to Sirena (the ranger station in the National Park with the most wild life) for 2 nights…sadly Leo did not leave them phone numbers..even if he did there was only one spot by a coconut tree where there was reception…but yes not having contact with agencies made things complicated. They tried to call Leo several times but Leo was happily surfing somewhere instead of picking up his phone and trying to help Osvaldo and David (who hats off,  tried everything to get me on tours).

Jaguar's Jungle Jaguar's Jungle Jaguar's Jungle

Next day the diving boat did not come to pick me up and i felt stuck! It was a paradise but I only had 4 days left as I had to leave Costa Rica within 12 days (I could have stayed longer but I wanted to spend 3 weeks in Colombia so I planned it this way) and I did not want to ´waste´these 4 days by not doing why I came to this amazing wild national park.

Osvaldo walked with me to the next place which was a biological centre with similarly no guests or students at that moment. At least the guy there had one agency´s contacts but sadly that agency wanted me to go diving with them so because they didn´t have trip for the next day they did not made a phone call around other agencies and dive centres if they had a trip ..

Also spending 2 nights in the national park would have cost me a fortune..(around $350) cause the guide was obligatory and expensive, camping there was expensive, food was expensive, so I decided to do a day tour at Sirena which was rated average in Lonely planet as to see wild life you really need to wake up early and catch the animals. There are tattoos, tapirs, monkeys, ant eaters and many other animals to observe..I just wanted to see a tapir! So I was very lucky cause we had an excellent guide who was a marine biologist but knew a lot about the animals in the park too. We found fresh tapir tracks!!! So we followed the footprints which lead us to the big male tapir who was having the nicest dreams:) We woke him up. He is not afraid of humans. It was superb and exciting to see a tapir for the first time!

tapir

We saw 3 type of monkeys, excellent birds, a deer, coaties, Cayman, crocs..and on the way dolphins too! This tour was incredibly good!

dolphin

I decided to move to the town (Bahia Drake) to arrange my diving, so I stayed in Casa Murillo with excellent ocean view, and I managed to go diving in the end to Isla Caño where I saw some great sharks ..actually the place reminded me of Richelieu rock in Thailand..it was a great day! we did 2 dives, lunch at the beach, and I walked back to town through the jungle (3 hours).

Sadly I had to leave as I only got 12 days stamp in Costa Rica, but I wouldn’t have time to stay any longer anyway. The border crossing went just fine.

In my next post I’ll write about Panama and the 5 days sailing trip on the San Blas islands to Colombia.

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