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Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

Costa Rica Wrap Up

Kelly and I loved Costa Rica and hope to make it back someday to explore more of the towns in Guanacaste, Nicoya, and the Caribbean side. These are our final thoughts before we head off to our next destination.

The Landscape and Weather:

Tropical rainforests with a ton of wildlife, palm trees, golden sand beaches, rolling hills and mountains…you get the idea. Kelly and I came during rainy/low season, and we’re so glad we did. Sure, we sat through some heavy rains, but we had sunshine most of the time and we didn’t have to deal with hordes of other tourists. Most of the beach towns are pretty hot, between 85 and 100 degrees, while in Monteverde and San Jose, you needed a cardigan or a fleece at night.

The People:

All of the Ticos we encountered were friendly and helpful. There were a couple of sleazy guys and some cat-calls, but we have those kind of jerks in Texas too. Also, there are a lot of dudes with sweet mullets and rattails.

As far as other travelers are concerned, we met a lot of Americans here, and made friends with people from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Spain.

Kelly and I with Conrad and Alex, the owners of Vista Serena

Kelly and I with Conrad and Alex, the owners of Vista Serena

Good Times with Good People

Good Times with Good People - Erin and Josh (The Aussies)

The Food:

I had been told not to have high expectations of the food in Costa Rica, but Kelly and I were pleasantly surprised. We ate mostly at local sodas (small restaurants) and the food was fresh, tasty, and CHEAP. Our favorite dishes were gallo pinto, casados (a plate consisting of rice, beans, salad, and a meat such as fish or chicken), fresh fruit (a whole pineapple cost around 75 cents!), fried plantains, and ceviche.

Gallo Pinto, Eggs, and Toast

Gallo Pinto, Eggs, and Toast

The Booze:

We sucked down many local Imperial and Pilsen beers, but our favorite of all was the boxed wine, Clos. I’ve always been kind of a wine snob and have refused boxed wine in the past, but when you’re on a budget, exceptions are made. The determining factor was that Clos cost around $4.50 a liter, which was enough for Kelly and me to drink on for an evening. Kelly even invented a new term – instead of getting ‘tossed’ each night, we got ‘Clossed’. Hilarious. They also have a beer here called ‘Rock Ice’, which I didn’t try based on the name alone.

Kelly Getting Clossed

Kelly Getting Clossed

Jimmy and Rock Ice...Who Knew They Made Crack in a Can?

Jimmy and Rock Ice...Who Knew They Made Crack in a Can?

Costs:

Hostels and local sodas are cheap for lodging and food, but everything else is a lot pricier than we anticipated. Zip-lining, canyoning, hot springs, white water rafting, horseback riding, snorkeling expeditions, surfing lessons…all of these cost anywhere from $25 – $75 a pop per person. Be ready to spend some $$ if you like adventure activities.

Local buses are very inexpensive, but the roads are crap here and getting from Point A to Point B isn’t easy (or safe) and takes hours longer than if you are in a car. Getting a rental car was out of our budget and private shuttles range anywhere from $30 – $50 per person, depending on the destination. We took the public bus most places, but were lucky enough to become friends with some people that had cars and we were able to hitch a couple of rides.

Erin driving us to San Jose

Erin driving us to San Jose

Also, the cost of sunscreen is outrageous…$15 – $25 for one normal sized bottle.

Other Random Thoughts:

If you think you feel something crawling on you, there is definitely an insect of some sort crawling on you. We had to be extra diligent in shaking out all of our clothes and towels to get all of the critters out. Between the two of us, Kelly and I have over a hundred mosquito and ant bites all over! It seriously looks like I have chicken pox.

My red Reef flip flops died. It was a sad day when I had to chunk them. I’ve worn those things for years, through rain, mud, rivers, and beaches and have never had any issues. I don’t know why, but one day in La Fortuna they started smelling like a dead animal and there was nothing I could do to bring them back.. Goodbye old friends!

You can check out all of our Costa Rica pics under our ‘Photos’ tab.

And with that, adios Costa Rica!

Peace Out

Peace Out

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Dominical Days

Please note that Kelly is the author of this post, even though it is posted under Kim’s name.  Internet access DRAMA!

Oh Dominical.  What a great little beach town!  We said goodbye to our  friends at Vista Serena to head south to Dominical.   After a pretty painless hour and a half bus ride, we reached the Antorchas hostel, our home for the next 5 days where we waited for Yesenia and Andres.   She is friends with the owners and helped us get a hell of a deal…our room was $8/pp/night with a private bath.   Other than the thick stench of mold in the room, it was a pretty good set up since we only showered and slept in there so the smell wasn’t too big of a deal.  Plus, the beach was literally 75 yards from our door.   Awesome.

Outside of Antorchas

Outside of Antorchas

Playa Dominical is 25 km of open, amazing beach that is ideal for experienced surfers.   The water is crystal blue and the waves are huge!   It’s absolutely beautiful.   I’d also like to mention that we are so happy to be traveling in the low season.   There are so few people around, it’s really nice. The town itself is two streets; one lining the beach with a few sodas, bars and restaurants  and supermarkets on the other.   There are no more than 200 or so people living here.  Yeah…

The streets of Dominical...sorry, this one got cut off.

The streets of Dominical...sorry, this one got cut off.

Dominical beach around sunset

Dominical beach around sunset

Kim on the beach

Kim on the beach

We ended up running into a couple from Spain (Viva Espana!), Alan and Silvia, that we had met in Monteverde.  They stayed at Antorches too and we all spent the evening hanging out at the hostel in the great little seating area equipped with hammocks, TV, tables and chairs.  Christian, the crazy DJ/artist from Ibiza joined us as well.

The next morning, Kim and I went for a long walk on the beach.   The beach is so incredible in the morning.   Wow.   We then spent the day with Yesenia and Andres in Uvita, another beach town, even tinier than Dominical and about 15 minutes south.   We went to the marine park, Marina Ballenas, and enjoyed the empty beach.   Literally, other than one other family, we were the only ones on there.

On the beach in Marina Ballenas

On the beach in Marina Ballenas

Kelly and Yesenia

Kelly and Yesenia

I watched our things while Yesenia took Kim down a spot where two beaches collide and the waves break up against each other.  From a plane view, it looks just like a whale’s tail.   When the tide is low, you can walk down the length of the tail.   So cool!  We then went back to the hostel that night for some dinner and wine.

The next day, we all went back to the marine park for a whale watching tour for around $20, which included an hour or so of snorkeling, and another 2 hours of riding around and looking at whales, huge sea turtles and all the deserted beaches with rocks and caves.  They also gave us yummy pineapple, watermelon, and fresh coconut!   It was a fantastic day.

Us and Andres enjoying our fresh coconut on the boat

Us and Andres enjoying our fresh coconut on the boat

Sea Turtles!!

Sea Turtles!!

The following day, it poured rain and we just hung around at the hostel.  I spent some time with my new friend, Roberto, a local Tico that works as a tour guide in Corcovado National Park on the southern coast.   He knew so much about wildlife, surfing and everything Costa Rican.   Good times.

Roberto!

Roberto!

The day after was perfect for heading out to see a waterfall that everyone kept telling us about.  What an adventure…heh.   Again, the directions to anywhere in Costa Rica are crazy.   So after passing the waterfall by about 2 miles on a tiny gravel road uphill, Alan and Silvia got their rental car stuck in a small ditch!   Luckily we were near a house where a guy from New York was staying with his nice big Four Runner.   He had got stuck the day before and was more than happy to help us out.

Stuck Car

Stuck Car

After a few tries of some necessary pulling and pushing on our part, the car was out with no damage.   He then took us back to the house for some water, a great view of the ocean and then proceeded to take us down to the where the waterfall was.   All in all, it was worth the trouble.   The waterfall was beautiful.   After some climbing and swimming and my failed attempt at the rope swing, we headed back home for lunch and a relaxing evening.

Our reward after the car fiasco

Our reward after the car fiasco

At the waterfall

At the waterfall

Kim busted it on the rocks a couple of times, but finally got there...

Kim busted it on the rocks a couple of times, but finally got there...

Kim and I both really loved Dominical.   The morning walks, the numerous trips to the beach to watch the surfers, the sunset and the waves…it was perfect.  After some yoga on the beach for me and a quick dip for Kim, we decided to go ahead and make our way back to San Jose.   We could have spent a few more days there, but our Spanish friends had to leave.   They offered us a ride in their car (Woohoo! No bus ride!) back up to Manuel Antonio to crash at Vista Serena for a couple more days before we headed back to Yesenia’s.   We got to see a few of our friends from the previous week and also met an Australian couple who were 6 months into their around the world trip.   We’ll be hanging with them in our  upgraded private room. So nice!   Alex was going to have to split us up to make room for others, but instead he set us up for the same price in a two room “suite” with living room, TV, kitchen and private balcony with the Aussies.  Can we say good karma?

Sunset in Dominical

Sunset in Dominical

We fly out of San Jose on Thursday, the 15th to our next stop, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA! Stay tuned for a Costa Rica wrap up! PURA VIDA!

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Kelly and I made some good friends in Monteverde, but were really looking forward to some quality beach time.  After a couple of relatively tame bus rides, we reached Manuel Antonio, a small beach town on the Pacific Coast and home to Manuel Antonio National Park, the most visited park in Costa Rica.

All of our new friends in Monteverde
All of our new friends in Monteverde

By the way, if you ever come to Costa Rica, don’t even think about staying more than 2 hours in Puntarenas.  It’s a dump.
 
We checked into our hostel, Vista Serena, which is run by two American guys, Alex and Conrad.  It’s set at the top of a ridge and has a huge deck with hammocks with a fantastic view of the ocean.  We spent all of our evenings sitting on the deck drinking Imperial and watching the sun sink into the horizon.  There is nothing to describe the sunsets here…all of them are extremely different and absolutely beautiful.

View from the deck at Vista Serena Hostel
View from the deck at Vista Serena Hostel

We planned to hit the beach on our first day, but we woke up to thunderstorms and pouring rain.  Kelly and I knew we were coming during the ‘wet’ season, but had only seen rain our first day in San Jose…we were wondering when the crappy weather was going to hit.  It ended up clearing up by the afternoon, so we walked down to the beach, checked out all of the shops and had a beer before heading back to Vista Serena to watch the sunset.
 
For dinner, we’ve been eating at a kick-ass restaraunt called Angel’s right down the street from the hostel.  We had an incredible dinner of fresh mahi-mahi, rice, au-grautin potatoes and salad for about $7 per person.  A plate of food like this in the U.S. would cost at least $20.

Mahi-Mahi dinner.  It rocked our world.
Mahi-Mahi dinner. It rocked our world.

On our second day, Kelly and I checked out Manual Antonio National Park, which was really beautiful.  It has several walking trails, a handful of picturesque beaches, and a ton of wildlife.  We layed on the beach for a couple of hours and saw a sloth, a family of white-faced monkeys, birds, and had a couple of iguanas hang out with us on the beach.  We grabbed a quick snack and a beer before heading home and made it back just in time before the rain started.  Alex whipped up a fantastic dinner for everyone at the hostel (fresh fish, grilled veggies, and plantains).  Kelly and I nursed our sunburns and called it an early night.

One of the beaches in the National Park
One of the beaches in the National Park
This is where we spent our Saturday.  It's a rough life.
This is where we spent our Saturday. It’s a rough life.
Happy Sisters!
Happy Sisters!
An Iguana that hung out with us for a bit
An Iguana that hung out with us for a bit
A sloth!  These things are so cool.  They move all slow and trippy-like.
A sloth! These things are so cool. They move like they are in slow motion.
A monkey!  We want one.
A monkey! We want one.

Today is our last full day in Manuel Antonio and the weather is perfect.  We plan to take it easy, lounge on the beach for a couple of hours, do some laundry, and get ready to head further south to Dominical in the morning. We really enjoyed our time here and recommend Vista Serena to any of you that ever plan to head this way.  Just be ready to drink and smoke every night, because that’s pretty much the way of life here. 

We hope all of our friends had a great time in the rain at Austin City Limits festival.  Kelly and I were bummed to have missed it this year, but while you were rockin’ out to King’s of Leon and Pearl Jam, this is what we spent our evenings enjoying: (Mary, these are for you)

Vista Serena - Night 3 (It was cloudy, but still pretty)

Vista Serena - Night 3 (It was cloudy, but still pretty)

Sunset at Vista Serena - Night 2
Sunset at Vista Serena – Night 2
Vista Serena - Night 1
Vista Serena – Night 1
Our last night's sunset

Our last night's sunset

Goodbye Vista Serena!

Goodbye Vista Serena!

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Ahhhh. Monteverde. After a great time in La Fortuna, Kim and I took the “Jeep Boat Jeep” to this quaint little  mountain town.  Instead of a 7-hour public bus ride (due to the fact that you have drive around Lake Arenal), we opted to pay the $18 to ride 15 minutes in a private van, hop on a small, ferry-style boat across the Lake Arenal for 30 minutes, and then take another hour van ride into the town center.  It was perfect.  The weather here is cool and refreshing, especially after leaving La Fortuna.   I even had to break out the fleece at night.

Cruisin' on the Ferry

Cruisin' on the Ferry

The drive to Monteverde

The drive to Monteverde

We originally had reservations at La Pension Santa Elena due to many recommendations from our guidebooks and notes posted up at our hostel in La Fortuna.  We arrived to find that for $16 pp/per night, we had a private, not so clean room, with shared bathroom, a crowded kitchen and some rather strange rules to follow.   As we got out of the van, we were approached by Tony, a local Tico, who owned a hostel just down the street.   Kim stayed with the bags and I went to check out El Hotel Tucan.  We immediately left PSE, and headed to Tony’s place.   A private room with private bath for $12.50/pp/night.   Awesome.   And after our stay at Gringo Pete’s, this was like staying at the Raddison.   Super clean, free internet and wifi in our room, and free breakfast!  Too bad that at 10pm when Tony leaves, he turns off the server and we no longer get internet in our room.

 The afternoon we arrived, we headed down the street to El Kiosko La Flor, a small soda (restaurant) near the church downtown.   It was like we were sitting in Flor’s kitchen as she cooked us a meal from scratch.   We both had casado (a typical dish with rice, beans, either salad or vegetables, chicken, bread and fried plantains all for under $4) as we chatted with a really cute Tico from Limon.   Afterwards, we spent the evening relaxing at the hostel and playing with one of Tony’s three daughters, Monserrath, aka Monse, and chatting with the family over beers and freshly prepared empanadas de

Kelly and Monse

Kelly and Monse

queso.  We also met a nice doctor from California walking by named Luis.   He sat and talked with us for a while and offered to take us to dinner to celebrate the first week of our trip (he was extremely jealous of what we are doing, of course).   We went to a nice little restaurant called The Treehouse Cafe and had fresh sea bass ceviche, arroz con pollo (chicken) and mariscos (mixed seafood and both had plenty for lunch the following day.   Thanks Luis!!!  

The next morning we woke up, had our delicious breakfast consisting of amazing coffee, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and toast.   At 10:30am, we were picked up for our zip lining tour with Extremo Canopy.   Apparently it has some of the longest and highest cables in Costa Rica. Our package included 12 cables ( 2 that are 1km long!), 1 downward rappel, 1 tarzan swing (AWESOME) and 1 superman zip line. They strap you in by your chest and feet and you literally fly over some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen.  Mountain ranges covered in all different shades of green, trees, the open sky…it was breathtaking.   Literally for Kim!   She kept having visions of the cables snapping! Luckily, I had no fear since as I’ve gotten older, I’ve somewhat developed a fear of heights.   Not anymore!!!  We had a blast! 

All geared up for the canopy!

All geared up for the canopy!

Kim coming in on the zipline

Kim coming in on the zipline

That night we just relaxed at the hostel, checked email, made skype calls and uploaded pictures.  I got to see Izzy for the second time.   Skype rocks.   By they way, we would like to be updating the blog more often, however, since we are up in the mountains out in the country, the connection is very slow and it takes like 3 hours to upload 50 pictures.   So, we apologize for that.   But hopefully this won’t always be the case.   We also made our reservations for a hike in the Santa Elena Biological Reserve for the following morning, had some cheese, bread, mango and wine for dinner and hung out with the 3 new comers from Switzerland, Germany and California.  

Then next morning, we had a delicious breakfast once again.   Gallo pinto this time!!  MMMMM!   We then took our shuttle up to Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve where we  hoped to see some cute little monkeys, but had no luck. We did however, enjoy two different hiking trails that took about 3.5 hours. It was so green!  Rainforests are amazing and full of life.  We saw a few small birds, a few really large birds and a neat little caterpillar. We expected to see a little more wildlife but were very happy with the experience (except for the few times we had to run from some crazy huge bugs buzzing near our ears!)

Trail in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

Trail in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve

 Tonight we are going to have dinner with our new friends from New Zealand, Joe and Emma, here at the hostel.   They have been traveling for a few months and have another couple to go.   Fellow budgetors.  Nice.   We also just found out that there is some type of protest near Monteverde and there will be no buses coming or going tomorrow.    We are  “stuck” here for another day.   Darn!   We then plan to head south to Quepos/Manuel Antonio for some beach time.   Finally!    Chao for now!

Other observations of Costa Rica:

-Helmets do not exist.  People ride on motorcycles with their 3-year olds clinging to them with NO HELMETS.

-There are a lot of sweet mullets.

-The weather changes on a dime.

-Tico boys are HOT (don’t worry Morgan, Kim is not interested).

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Our first day in La Fortuna, Kelly and I got our bearings around the town and booked our night trip to Volcan Arenal (Costa Rica’s most active volcano) and to take a dip in the ‘free’ hot springs.  La Fortuna has a handful of very expensive resorts that have natural hot spring pools surrounded by lush landscaped gardens…tickets to these resorts run anywhere from $20 – $60 per person.  Since we are trying to do things on the cheap, Gringo Pete’s package of a night trip to the volcano, plus a visit to FREE hot springs for $17 per person sounded right up our alley.   Kelly and I and our new friends all signed up.

The van picked us up around 5:30 p.m. and we headed  out on our evening adventure.  Our guide parked on the side of the road a few miles outside of town and led us down under a roadway bridge to the ‘free’ hot springs.  We quickly realized why they were free…it was basically water running off into the river from the fancy resort next door.  We all waded around in complete darkness on the side of the road under some random bridge.  It was pretty ghetto (and funny), although I’m sure it was much nicer in the daylight.
 
We then drove several miles to the Arenal Volcano National Park and walked across an extremely rickety bridge to a viewing area with a covered roof.  It was difficult to see the volcano in the dark and there was cloud cover around the top, but we had high hopes for seeing lava.  It also helped that our guide brought a bottle of rum so that we could have cocktails while we waited.

Daytime view of Volcan Arenal from La Fortuna

Daytime view of Volcan Arenal from La Fortuna

View of Arenal from the roadway

View of Arenal from the roadway

Volcan Arenal erupts constantly, but had a massive explosion that basically wiped out the surrounding area as recently as 1968.  It was crazy to imagine that at any moment, the same thing could happen again…we were nervous and excited to be so close to an active volcano!  After about 20 minutes, we heard a loud rumbling and saw a bright orange stream of lava creeping down the mountain…it was pretty amazing.  The sound of it erupting is what really fascinated me.  We were lucky to see lava three more times that evening before stumbling back to our van and heading to the hostel.  
 
After a sweaty night’s sleep (there is no AC in most places here and our room was the size of a closet with no ventilation.  On the other hand, it was only $5 per night), Kelly and I had a fantastic breakfast of gallo pinto (Costa Rica’s signature dish of rice and beans) and headed out to see La Catarata de La Fortuna (the Fortuna Waterfall).  We had a steep climb down the side of a mountain, but it was worth it once we got down to the falls.  It was absolutely beautiful and Kelly and I spent some time taking photos and just enjoying the scenery around us.  We should have brought our bathing suits and swam, but were idiots and forgot them.

Gallo Pinto and Juevos Rancheros

Gallo Pinto and Huevos Rancheros

La Catarata from afar

La Catarata from afar

La Catarata up close

La Catarata up close

Swimming area next to the waterfall

Swimming area next to the waterfall

 
(Sorry for the sideways view of the pic above, but it took about 10 minutes to upload and I’m not going to go through that again).

We headed back to our hostel to hang out for a bit and then caught our shuttle to one of the fancy resorts, the Baldi Hot Springs.  We just had to see what all the fuss was about.  Tabacon is the more well known hot spring resort in Costa Rica with amazing views of the volcano, but entry here is $60 per person!  Baldi looked pretty nice from the tourist brochures AND it was only $24, including dinner. 
 
Those sixty dollar hot spring pools at Tabacon must be encrusted with diamonds, because the less expensive Baldi was awesome.  There are 25 hot spring pools of varying temperatures (one as hot as 150 degrees!), 3 wet bars, 3 super fun waterslides, and beautiful gardens and trails.  The only thing that we were a little disappointed in was the price of the drinks…$10 for a cocktail and $6 for a beer, which is totally outrageous, but that’s the price you pay at a resort.  We spent all afternoon checking out the different pools, walking around the gardens, getting beat up on one of the fastest waterslides I’ve ever slid down, and splurged on ONE cocktail at the wet bar.  We even got to catch a little bit of the UT game on tv while lounging in the pool!
 

Enjoying our expensive drink at Baldi

Enjoying our expensive drink at Baldi

Under a waterfall at the springs

Under a waterfall at the springs

One of the pools

One of the pools

We headed back to Gringo Pete’s around seven and took it easy since we had to catch a van-boat-van to Monteverde the next morning.  Kelly and I loved La Fortuna, but were glad to be moving on, if anything to get out of the tiny sweaty room at the hostel.  Kelly will soon be posting about our first couple of days in Monteverde, so stay tuned.
 
Also, I’m trying to upload our photos to Flickr, but it is excruciatingly slow and takes literally HOURS to upload one batch.  Please be patient and we hope to have some up soon!

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And So It Begins

After a long day of flying (two layovers…UGH) Kelly and I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 9 p.m.  My friend Leticia has family in Costa Rica, so her lovely cousin Yesenia offered to pick us up from the airport and host us in her home for our first two nights.  This was a great way for Kelly and me to ease into a new city and culture at the start of our trip. 

Yesenia and her son Andres live in Santo Tomas de Santo Domingo de Heredia, a small community outside of San Jose, surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations.  Our first day in Costa Rica, we got a coffee plantation `tour´ from Yesenia´s dad, ate a cheap lunch and played with Andres at InBioparque (a biological park),  had coffee and yummy pastries at a mountain cafe, and were basically spoiled rotten by Yesenia.  She served us a delicious breakfast of the typical Costa Rican tamale and made us ravioli and tomato sauce from scratch for dinner.  We hope all of the food is Costa Rica is this good! 

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Kelly and Yesenia´s dad on the coffee plantation

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Our yummy lunch at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Kim, Andres, and Yesenia at InBioparque

Us and Andres at the Cafe

Us and Andres at the Cafe

The view from Yesenia´s house

The view from Yesenia´s house

The next morning, Yesenia drove us to San Jose to catch a bus to La Fortuna.  Downtown San Jose is complete chaos.  After asking several locals for directions and receiving five different answers, a taxi driver graciously led us to the station.  Kelly and I would have been totally lost if it wasn´t for Yesenia.  We were so happy to have her as our guide. 

We then had a bus ride from hell to La Fortuna.  What should have taken 4 hours ended up taking 6 and a half because of some stalled cars in the road.  It was crowded, hot, and rainy and I swore we were going to plunge off the side of the mountain two or three times.  On top of that, an American that we befriended on the bus had his backpack stolen from the overhead compartment.     Fortunately, Kelly and I had a seat so we didn´t have to stand up the whole time and we did manage to make friends with 2 guys from DC and 2 Swiss girls. 

All of us ended up staying at the same hostel in La Fortuna, Gringo Pete´s, for less than $5 a night.  For a private room.  For both of us.  Awesome.  One of the DC guys made us a yummy chicken curry dinner (seriously, food has been handed to us since we´ve been here) and we spent the night drinking and playing games with everyone at the hostel.

Some things about Costa Rica that we´ve noticed so far:

-There are no numerical addresses here.  Their addresses are `the house at the end of the street, three houses from the bakery, next to the house with the green roof…´

-The coffee is delicious.

-It gets dark by 5:30 p.m. year round.

-There are bugs everywhere, but they are friendly.

-The traffic in San Jose is horrible and people drive CRAZY.

Today we are going to see the Arenal Volcano and take a swim in the hot springs.  We´ll bring everyone up to speed in a few more days!

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