Monthly Archives: December 2012

Journey Through Latin America (Part 12)

 

 

 

 

After resting up in Liberia, Costa Rica for a few days, I was ready for the journey to Monteverde.   Offered every taxi driver on the plaza 500 colones, or one dollar, to take me to the bus terminal, but they all turned me down and I just heaved my backpack and guitar the six blocks and got on a bus to Cañas.

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From Cañas I took a short ride to Tilaran, where we waited an hour for the bus to Monteverde.  Seeing Tilaran I wished I had spent a couple of days there instead of Liberia, but it was too late to stop there as I was rapidly approaching my flight date of Dec 12 out of San Jose.  At the bus stop I ran into a nice Dutch lady named Lisel, whom I had met in Liberia, and who has been riding a bicycle all over Costa Rica.  What fun!  She was taking the bus to Monteverde, however, because the road is steep and rough.  The road is indeed rough, and my bladder seemed so full by the time we finally arrived in Santa Elena, the actual town near the Monteverde Reserve.  The road was so dusty that my backpack and guitar , which had been stored below, were covered with a thick layer of it.

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The scenery was quite beautiful and cool as we climbed up into the clouds.  In Santa Elena I stayed at a recommended hostel, Pension Santa Elena, which is quite reasonable and just a block from the bus stop, and is run by a brother/sister team from Austin, Texas with the surname of Smith.

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After talking to the beautiful receptionist about my journey, I set off for the bar Tres Monos that she recommended as a place I might perform my show as Luis Sabor.  After talking to the owner, we arranged for me to play that Saturday night at the Dikary Restaurant, which turned out to be alot of fun.

The day before the show was when I made the mandatory journey to the cloudforest.  Most of the other travellers I met were also taking zip line tours, night tours, bungee jumping and many other fun things, but my budget allowed me only the walk in the jungle.  I loved it.

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I first saw an agouti sniffing around the banana trees at the entrance, then I glimpsed a light-colored coyote and a raptor of some sort, and I heard what may have been a toucan.  Later on I heard and saw a troop of coatimundis, one of which was quite large, but I couldn´t get a good shot for a photo, and it was rather dark.  I started shooting with abandon and took a video as well, and suddenly my battery was dead.  A while later I saw some white-faced capuchin monkeys and miraculously my camera had just enough juice left for a photo.

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A friend of mine from Tucson, Susu,  whom I had not seen for 13 years lives in Monteverde with her Tico husband Marcos who is an excellent guide, and they graciously invited me to stay with them a couple of nights in their lovely new house with their lovely new daughter Eva, who is absolutely adorable.

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Susu´s parents have a large property and gorgeous home, complete with orchard and greenhouse, and there is a large section of the land that is easily as pleasant to walk through as the reserve.  The following photos should make it obvious why so many retirees move to Costa Rica.

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The last night in Monteverde we went to a choir performance directed by Susu´s father Hugh Gray and featured the Smith family, of Pension Santa Elena.  It really is a small, close-nit community, and I think within a few weeks I could have met most of the members.    I really enjoyed my visit there and hope to come back, but I have a plane to catch in San Jose, bound for Lima, Peru.

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Journey Through Latin America (Part 11)

The journey continues.  First of all I would like to thank those of you who chipped in to buy me a new camera after my previous one broke.  I didn´t think I would be blogging much without photos.  As a result the only town I won´t be able to share photos of is Playa Coco, Costa Rica, and it was a beautiful, if overpriced, spot.DV IMAGE

I did stay in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua over a week, although the constant partying at the Surfing Donkey was not my style.  They started playing music before noon, so I started playing guitar and singing after breakfast to get mine in, and later many guests communicated the pleasure they had in waking up to my music.  Otherwise I played outside on the sidewalk or on a bench in the plaza. I met some outstanding people at Surfing Donkey, however, and I actually had a shot of rum and a beer my last night, the first in 12 years!   That night we had a big barbecue featuring mahi mahi and shrimp kebabs, and the hostel filled up and was roaring even more than usual.  I was ready to leave for Costa Rica the next morning.DV IMAGE

The chicken bus ride to the main highway was short and cheap, and I of course met someone as I was leaving that I had met before in Granada.  I waved off the taxi that offered to take me to the border, so he offered the ride for $2 and I accepted.  The ride was short, but the line to enter Costa Rica immigration was very long, like a half hour wait I think.  From there it was easy to catch a bus to Liberia, and guess what? no chicken buses in Costa Rica! it was a comfortable ride.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Hotel Liberia was nice and mellow and clean, and I lucked into a dorm room with no roommate for $10.  The food here in Costa Rica is expensive however, and it is just a given to spend at least $5 a meal here.  Keeping to my $20 a day budget will be next to impossible.

I enjoyed a wonderful rainstorm and cool cloudy, windy day in Liberia, then left to the coast nearby.  Playa del Coco is beautiful but the food is even more expensive, and the place is crawling with tourists who apparently don´t mind paying the inflated prices.  I stayed in the one of the few hostels that had dorms for $10 an night, but it was pretty ugly in that section.  The owner said he was planning to tear that building down in a month or so and put in a swimming pool.  Here is where I pulled out my camera to discover that the lens had dropped down and was incapable of taking photos.  The next day I decided to go back to Liberia and hang out there a while.

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