Thursday 24 January 2013
Highlights: Tough border Crossing, Toucan Sighting, Sunset in Monteverde.
With a 6 am departure time today we had an early start. Our host family provided a good breakfast to Stephen, Daniel and myself. I shipped todays cold water shower hoping the the thermal springs swim yesterday was enough of a clean until we got to our accommodation in Monteverde.
Our ferry left only a few minutes late and the ride over the water calm was very relaxing way to start the day. Our private van provided a comfortable transportation.
We got to the border crossing around 10 am and this time I experienced a different and longer border crossing experience than most of Central America. It took close to 2 hours in the heat to exit Nicaragua and enter Costa Rica with 90% of the delays being on the Costa Rica side. Gabo explained that Nicaragua is to Costa Rica as Mexico is to the USA.
Within minutes of crossing into Costa Rica I spotted a toucan in the wild for the first time! Since this was one of my goals for the trip this was an awesome moment.
Lunch was spent at fast food outlets after an informal group vote instead of trying a local restaurant. It was obvious at this point that the cost of items in Costa Rica is closer to normal Western prices.
Costa Rica has a very high standard of living. What they don’t have is an Amy and haven’t had one for over 60 years making them very unique in the world and definitely in Central America. After seeing soldiers with automatic weapons in every country since Mexico this is really amazing.
To get to Monteverde you have to travel up and around mountains and the sights were indeed impressive. About an hour out the road becomes a bumpy gravel surface which Gabo insists is much better than 5 years ago. The pride he has in his country and its natural and cultural treasurers is very obvious.
We got to the hotel just in time to organise beers and snacks to go up a nearby hillside and watch the sunset which was glorious and fun. With Rianne now with us it represented the first real chance to get a group photo as we sat on the grass and watched the sunset.
Later that evening Gabo informed me that he had been speaking to G Adventures head office and they had agree with him that they should provide a gesture to recognise my extensive travel with their company on both this world trip and previous tours. As a result my Zip-lining adventure tomorrow will be paid for by G Adventures. A very welcome, unexpected and appreciated gesture.