I haven’t been to Costa Rica in 10 years. I remember arriving when I was a sophomore in college thinking it was SO wonderful. Joshua has been before, as well, so we decided to make this trip new for both of us. We started in Liberia which is like a mini-capital. We got let off on the Interamericana (Highway 1) next to one of the most beautiful McDonald’s I’ve ever seen (it’s definitely changed since I was here). We walked to town and found a boutiquey hotel for a reasonable price. Travelers in Nicaragua had warned us about how expensive Costa Rica was compared to Nicaragua. It’s true; at least twice the price, but we were prepared. We started our trip with a batido which is a milkshake using fresh fruit and either water or milk—I promise this will not be the last you here of them.
We headed to Rincon de la Vieja which is a National Park with a volcano in northern Costa Rica. Our driver told us about three trails in the park: one to the volcanic activity, one to the hot springs and one to the waterfalls. He suggested we pick two to fill our 8 hour day. Of course, we did all three which was over 30km of walking in almost exactly 8 hours (we had 5 minutes to spare). The crazy part is that I just followed, walking behind, watching the wildlife and enjoying myself until my feet wouldn’t do what my brain was telling them as we shimmied down rock faces. That’s when I asked Joshua how far we had gone and turned into a whiny hiker for the last hour even after a dip in a beautiful waterfall pool. The cool part about being so far from the rest of the people visiting the park, however, is that we got to see wildlife in its element. Which in Costa Rica, is on a whole other level.
We saw a tapir…we actually had no idea what this bear-sized elephant was until we showed our driver the picture in the car. He started snapping his fingers and yelling. Then we read in Lonely Planet how close to extinct these creatures are, rarely spotted by humans. We saw two; and we sat and watched them for a while from a few feet away.