Sat in a hectic indoor market in San Jose, at a makeshift ice-cream bar enjoying vanilla ice-cream made with fresh pods and a dash of cinnamon with Robert, was how my Costa Rica adventure began. My new actor musician friend wanted to improve his English and I wanted to explore the sights with a native, fair trade-off I think.
This city is busy but not capital city busy. It’s easy to spot its colonial past through the architecture and forts dotted around the city. But what really caught my eye were the little pieces of art work displayed within walls, gate posts and pretty much every direction you look. The streets are buzzing, latin music plays, people smile at you. Street sellers armed full of World Cup stickers capture the imagination of the locals all excited for the big event in a few months time. Costa Rica had me at Hola!
Pura Vida is the expression of choice, literally meaning Pure Life. ‘How are you?’ Pura Vida. If in doubt I just grinned and said this phrase but apparently it’s just weird if you use it as a response to ‘How’s your Coffee?’, I’m still learning!
Next stop La Fortuna and an adrenaline filled few days. White water rafting – tick, abseiling down waterfalls (aka waterfall rappelling) – tick. Tourism is huge in Costa Rica and where they excel at is eco-torism and adventure tourism. It’s impossible to be bored here but it’s also not as cheap as other Central American countries so a sneaky visit to some local hot springs for gratis was a wonderful surprise. We left in the dark armed with beers and candles to this local hangout. It involved paddling through hot water under a tunnel and then a short gravelly walk before this natural pool appeared. I felt like I was having some kind of baptism of nature as I immersed myself in the clear warm water under the moon light and felt the slight current of a nearby waterfall.
Onto another little town Monteverde up in the mountains. An exciting time for locals here as they were gearing up for a big annual race. I’m not entirely sure of the distance but to do this you would have to be ridiculously fit as the roads are near vertical and you’re literally amongst the clouds. I climbed up the centre of a crazy hollow tree and began to wonder if I could get any closer to the environment. Just like diving has allowed me to feel part of life in the ocean, Costa Rica and its hot springs, cloud villages and hollow trees was making me feel like I was starting to blend in. A slightly surreal experience was flying above the trees superman style on Central America’s longest zip-line, 1.5k lying flat with a metal clip holding me to a thin piece of wire. It was an epic way to view the forrest below.
Then I threw my iPhone in a lake and lost all my photos and videos *cries*, oh and all my notes. I think I’ve been in mourning, unable to Instgram my way around Central America.