June 24, 2012

Throwback: Costa Rica- the First Trip

This is a long one.

In the summer of 2006, Jason and I took our first trip together to Costa Rica.

We spent about the first week exploring the Pacific coast. Then the 2nd week we explored the Caribbean coast, while exploring the city (San Jose & San Pedro) before, in between, and after. We also did a few days in Bocas del Toro, Panama. We planned to do and see so much, so we were almost constantly on the go.

Now, since this trip was 6 years ago (crazy!!), I can't remember everything about the trip, but these are some things that still have stuck with me (in no particular order):

-This was the very first hostel we've ever stayed in (in San Jose):

- In Bocas del Toro, we rented a kayak and paddled out in the ocean. It was beautiful, and we saw so many jellyfish! We stopped at one little beach and decided to go for a swim. I was just wading in the water and I saw something from the corner of my eye and told Jason "I think I saw a jellyfish!" and I started to freak out. Jason didn't believe me and told me to relax. Then, seconds later Jason starts to scream in pain and starts running towards the shore, so I start running too and all the while I'm laughing my head off-- he had gotten stung by a jellyfish! I didn't know what to do (I knew I should've peed on the sting, but I was so in shock- and laughing too hard- to think straight). The pain finally subsided and Jason said it was the most painful thing he had ever felt. Poor guy.

-In Costa Rica (and Panama) they served their burgers with a side of patacones (or banana chips) instead of potato fries and they put slices of cucumber in the burger instead of pickles (sooooo good!).

-San Pedro is where Universidad de Costa Rica is located, so it has that "college town" feel to it-- and I saw so much awesome street art. This one was my favorite (and months later, Jason made me a purse with this on it):

-We went ziplining in Monte Verde. It was so amazing! It was probably one of the most daring things I had ever done. Some lines were so long, just hanging over the jungle. On some lines, I went so fast I wanted to pee my pants. At one part we did a Tarzan swing, and in another part we did a little repelling. It was a great experience.

While in Monte Verde, we also went to a cheese factory and had the best cheese we've ever tasted!

And we went to a serpentarium and saw all kinds of different reptiles and got to hold a baby python (which I wanted to keep!)

-We went to Manuel Antonio National Park and explored. There were so many cool plants, insects and animals that we saw-- and all wild! We saw monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. There were so many iguanas! We were on the beach, getting ready to get in the water. I was putting sunblock on Jason's back, when out the corner of my eye, I saw this thing running towards me- I turned around and it was an iguana! I ran for my life! It was nipping at my heels-- I've never been so scared in my life. Luckily, I out ran it (surprisingly) and it stopped chasing me and waddled back to its spot under a tree. It was so odd-- why it chased me and no one else, I have no clue! Maybe I was in its territory? Maybe it didn't like the way I was putting sunblock on Jason's back? I don't know. Needless to say, we moved spots and weren't bothered again. We did get a picture him. Here he is (and that's me way in the back- keeping a safe distance!):

Here's some other photos we took at Manuel Antonio:

Jason took this panorama. We met this guy (forgot his name and where he was from) but he was interesting, and he was sitting on this rock, wearing short shorts and eating a banana:

-While on the Caribbean coast, we stayed a couple of days in Puerto Viejo-- and we absolutely fell in love with the town! It's this really small beach side town with a total Caribbean, chill, relaxing vibe. People walked around in next to nothing, cruising on beach cruisers, smiles all around. People were even smoking weed in the streets and police would pass right by them without even a glance. There were (or are) a lot of afro-Caribbean people there and I loved their accents. And the food- ohmygoodness the food! Sooooo delicious! The casados there are THEE best (casados is one of the traditional foods of Costa Rica). We spent our days there exploring the jungles, the beach and just relaxing, enjoying the good vibes.{We loved it here so much, this is the town we had our wedding at 5 years later-- but more on that on another post.} Here's a few photos:

-We wanted to get off the beaten path a bit, so we went to this little remote town when we were on the Pacific side called Uvita (although, I just looked the city up online-- and it seems to not be so remote anymore, unfortunately). Even though this was the smallest town I've ever been to, quite a few things happened that I'll always remember. We stayed a couple of nights there. One day, we saw this little ad at the hostel we were staying at that had horseback tours to a waterfall for cheap, so we told the lady that we wanted to do it, so she set it up for us. The next day, this guy with 2 horses comes, tells us (all in Spanish-- and remember at this time, our Spanish wasn't that good) where to go, then he left. So were were like "okkaayyy..... well- let's do this then..." and I am terrified of horses, so I was a little apprehensive being alone, just us two, to try and find this waterfall.

So we go down the road. As we're passing this open field of other horses, my horse starts going towards it, as another horse from the field comes up to the fence. They start making noises, and I'm freaking out because I think they're about to try and do it while I'm still on the back of the one horse... all the while I'm yelling, pleading, begging Jason to help me (I'm almost in tears!) while Jason just yells at me telling me to calm down (which, obviously didn't help me)... after a while, I finally get my horse away from the fence and I tell Jason I don't want to do this, I want to go home... so he gets mad and we go back and Jason tells the guy that I'm scared. So the guy gets his son (who was about our age) to guide us. And it was MUCH better having him with us. We had no problems. My most favorite part was crossing the river- I've never done it while riding a horse. They really are amazing animals (but they still freak me out).

We eventually got to the waterfall, and it was all good:

There wasn't a whole lot to do in the city, except lounge around a lot:

Uvita is also part of a national park, so Jason and I wanted to check out the park. We were about to enter when we saw we had to pay. I forgot how much it was, but it was enough for Jason and I to decide we didn't want to pay, so we had this bright idea to try and sneak into the park. So we try and find a path around. We come up to this barbed wire fence. We had come quite a ways to just turn back, so we found a spot that was big enough to try and fit through-- but I still got a cut on my ankle from the barbed wire (nothing serious though), and right when we get through the barbed wire, we see this guy watching us-- then he calls us over. In my head I was thinking "Oh shoot-- this guy is pissed and now he's going to kill us for sneaking into his yard..." and I was so scared. He asked us in Spanish what we were doing, and we explained in our best Spanish that we're trying to find the national park... luckily the guy was cool and told us where to go.

We head towards the direction he points us in- it starts to look promising-- until we come upon this river where the water is mud colored and you can't see anything in it. The only thing to do is walk through it and get to the big rock in the middle, then try and jump to the other side. So not only am I freaking out about trying to cross in this water where I can't see anything (there might've been crocodiles or snakes!), we have to climb on this rock and then jump. Jason finally convinces me to do it, so we take off our sandals and start wading through the river-- I'm praying in my head and trying to move as fast as I could. Let me just say- it felt so good to jump off that rock and onto the other side of the river! We eventually got to the park... but the water was a bit disappointing-- we couldn't even swim in it because the waves were too big. But at least we went on a little adventure?

-This is us at the airport going back home. We were sad:

Well, these are some of the things I still remember about our trip. While there, I was definitely bitten by the travel bug and haven't stopped since.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

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