Costa Rica Day 7- San Jose to Montezuma

After catching up with Dani, Rich, and Crystal, we started to make a plan. It was the 24th of January, and my brother had a flight home on the 28th, Crystal and Rich had a flight home on the 30th, and Dani and I were headed home on the 2nd. So we had to make sure we all made our flights.

We decided for the most flexibility we would rent a car. Car rentals in Costa Rica are super expensive. Online they only appear to be around $30 per day, but once you get to the airport they force you to get rental insurance. We tried to use our credit cards (most come with free rental car insurance) but they refused to take it. I guess the government here makes everyone purchase their insurance.

The rental car companies also usually charge a deposit of around $1500 (sometimes less) per day in case there are any damages.

We found a guy recommended by our hostel that would charge us $65 per day inclusive of the mandatory insurance, and would not make us give him a deposit. Our car was a POS, window would not go down and the AC didn’t work. It was a tiny 1.6L shitbox SUV, but it got us around.

We headed out of San Jose. Luckily Richards iPhone’s GPS worked even without a data signal.

We drove 2 hours to Puntarenas, which is on the West coast of Costa Rica.

Montezuma is located at the bottom of a peninsula, so rather than driving up and around (which I guess is about a 5 hour drive), we were able to catch a ferry from Puntarenas across the bay to Montezuma. We drove our car over and they gave us a little slip of paper reserving us a spot on the ferry. We then had to leave the driver in the car and take the slip over to pay for the car and each passenger.

It was a very nice ferry ride lasting a little over an hour.

Once on the other side, we drove another 40 minutes into Montezuma.

Montezuma was a tiny little town, very relaxed and beautiful. There was a beach right at the end of the road.

That night we drank fairly heavily and hungout on the beach.

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Costa Rica Day 8- Cascadas de Montezuma

We woke up and had a leisurely breakfast.

We wanted to hike to the waterfalls that were in town, Cascadas de Montezuma (Montezuma Water Falls)

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The head to the trail was only a 5 minute walk from town. We drove anyway and had to pay 1 mil for parking. The parking attendant tried to double charge me until I called him out on it.

The hike was easy, about 15 minutes with little pools along the way.

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We reached the waterfall, probably right around 10 feet high.

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It was very hot out and the water was super refreshing. There were a good 30 or so people hanging out here. I was surprised there was very little litter considering the amount of people. Someone must have cared about this place and been keeping it clean.

Some people (including my brother) were jumping from super high- we figured about 60-65 feet after scaling some rock.

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There was a path up to another set of waterfalls with a rope swing, so we hiked another 15 mins on a somewhat sketchy trail to the next waterfall.

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The rope swing was fun

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And there were more places to jump up here.

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That night, we took some drinks and headed to a beach on the opposite side of town.

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This beach was much bigger and equally beautiful. Once the night came, we started to notice there were luminescents in the water. We went swimming the the water would glow. We started a fire and hung out on the beach for hours, watching the waves crash a brilliant blue green. Amazing. The photos wouldn’t come out since there wasn’t enough light, I guess some things are just too beautiful to be recorded.

Costa Rica Day 6- Bahia Drake to San Jose

Our next destination was San Jose.

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To get from Bahia Drake on the Osa Peninsula back to the city, San Jose, we had to first catch a boat to Sierpe. This was a beautiful hour and a half boat ride that first brought us through open lakes

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Before bring us through narrow channels in Rio Sierpe.

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Stunning boat ride. Finally we reached the end of the jungle maze and docked in Sierpe.

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Here, there were plenty of taxis waiting for us. Our hotel had arranged our trip to San Jose. This meant we had a bus reservation, and what we didn’t realize was we also had a taxi reservation.

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The taxi driver had our bus tickets already. So we paid the taxi driver around 6 mil that covered the short taxi ride fare to the Palmar Norte bus terminal.

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We jumped on our bus to San Jose. The busses here were much nicer than Panama, they were coach busses, some with AC.

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We arrived in the San Jose bus terminal and caught a cab to the airport to pick up my girlfriend Dani and a couple of friends I met traveling last year, Richard and Crystal.

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The cab was about a half an hour and ran us around $20. We met up with Dani easily and waited a while for Rich and Crystal who were supposed to meet us there. Given it was already 3 hours after we were supposed to meet them, we assumed they were already at the hotel so grabbed a short $6 cab to our hotel in Alajuela near the airport.

We were all successfully united and excited for our adventures!

Costa Rica Day 4&5- Corcovado National Park

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At 715 am we had to walk down to the bottom of the hill in Bahia Drake to catch our ferry to Corcovado National Park.

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Most people that came here did day tours, which includes an hour and a half transportation to Sirena station at 715am, guided hiking until about 1, then a lunch before the boat leaves the island at 145pm. It also includes the $10 daily park entrance fee.

We had inquired about skipping the guide and only purchasing the boat ride there and back. This was $50, so we decided it was worth paying the few extra bucks for a guide with lunch. Our plan was to stay the night since we already had our camping reservations and we would catch a ride back with a boat the following day at 1:45. We figured it would be good to have a guide to show us the ropes bit also would be nice to be able to roam on our own.

The boat dropped us off at the island where we had a “wet” landing.

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We did a couple hikes very slowly and quietly. Apparently the morning around 8 is the best time to go as the animals are most active and prevalent. Later in the day it becomes too hot so they rest.

We saw a crocodile on the bank

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But when we got closer we scared him away.

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We saw an animal called a Taper which I guess aren’t normally seen there but the guide said the past months there have been a lot of them.

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We saw lots of different types of monkeys including the howler monkey which makes a crazy loud monster like noise in the jungle.

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We saw some different birds and spiders.

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We saw ant eaters and wild pigs but I didn’t have my camera with me the first day.

At the end of the day after we ate, my brother and I walked the 20 minute hike back to Sirena station.

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We had accidentally gotten a camping pass for the park instead of the dorm room accommodations that are also available. We were told that there would be mattresses out for grabs as well as drinking water.

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However when we got there we were told they don’t supply mattresses and that the only ones that were there were ones people had left in the past. We managed to scrap up a couple thin grimy ass foam pieces and were lucky enough to have brought our own sheets.

Although told there was clean drinking water, we were told it wasn’t 100% safe so we should filter it. Luckily we brought water purification tablets although we were also told there was bottled water for sale.

The next morning we thought we would wake up super early to be the first ones to the best locations so the animals wouldn’t be scared away by the other groups. Unfortunately, everyone else had the exact same plans.

We hiked along the beach

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And even climbed a tree to get some coconuts

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We saw more of the same animals we had seen the day before (can you see the gecko?)

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As well as Taper tracks

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We went swimming in Rio Claro, the only place you are allowed to swim because of the danger off crocodiles.

Overall it was a pretty cool experience in Sirena national park. It was very beautiful. However, for me, I didn’t like all the people there and the tour groups, we couldn’t escape them. The animals seemed like they were always in the same places so the guides knew exactly where to look, like a zoo. So in that aspect we were a little disappointed. The peninsula itself was beautiful.

Costa Rica Day 2- Paso Canoas to Puerto Jimenez

In the morning we continued our trip to our destination of Golfito in the Osa peninsula.

We went to a nearby ATM to take out some local Costa Rican currency, Colones. The going rate was 500 Colones to 1 US dollar.

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The bus station was right outside our hotel. We were to catch a bus to Golfito which was the costal town then catch a ferry across the lake to Puerto Jimenez.

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The bus left Paso Canoas at 10:30 in the morning and ran us 2400 Colones each.
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The bus ride was an uneventful hour and a half or so. When we first got on the bus, we gave the driver 10000 Colones and he didn’t give us change. When we would go up to the front to ask him, he kept shooing us away. We became increasingly annoyed when it started to seem more and more like he was trying to screw us. We got a local to help us out and showed him and finally he gave in and coughed up our change.

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I knew Golfito was on the coast so we had our eyes open for the boat launch when we saw water.

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We double checked with the driver that this is where we would catch our ferry to Puerto Jimenez and he confirmed.

We thought we would be catching a small water taxi like those on the right but we were directed to walk out on a dock just to the left where there were others waiting in the shade.

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It was beautiful here.

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We were confused about the boat schedule until we realized we had changed time zones by an hour.

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We were on the 2pm ferry and had some Duros a lady was selling (sweet frozen fruit drink)

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The ferry ride was about 45 minutes and we arrived in Pto Jimenez, equally beautiful.
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Our mission here was to go to the ranger station, as our guide book said if we wanted to stay in Corcovado National Park we had to make reservations here ahead of time.

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It was an inconspicuous building so at first we walked passed it.

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But sure enough this was the place.

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The woman working here talked little English and was very unhelpful. We wanted to go to Corcovado park but she wasn’t offering much information.

The day we wanted to stay in the park was full so we reserved the following day that was open. She gave us a paper and sent us to the bank a 5 minute walk away in the center of town to pay for the reservation. It closed at 3 so we didn’t have much time to get there.

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The bank was interesting in that it had super high security; finger print scan to open door, that was similar to an airport scanner. After being scanned there was an armed guard who asked us to remove our hats. Intense.

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Anyway, we paid up ($10 per day park fee, then $10 to stay over night) and headed back to the ranger station. 

There were 3 options for us to get to Sirena ranger station from where we were in PTO Jimenez.

We could either fly there ($80), hike 20kms, or take busses. We didn’t have time to hike both ways and we didn’t want to have to hike with our gear so we ruled that out. Flying was expensive; we decided to take the bus. More on this later.

Now we had a plan, we had to find a place to sleep.

We asked around and found a hostel called Cabinas el Perezoso.

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The guy had rooms for $8 per night which we couldn’t beat so we took it.

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The hostel was very basic but the guy was super nice and accommodating and there were nice people there. At dinner time he took down coconuts for us.

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It had been a long ass day and we had to get up early so called it a night.

Costa Rica Day 3- Puerto Jimenez to Bahia Drake

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Our mission was to get to Bahia Drake this day, so we could take a ferry to the ranger station Sirena in Corcovado National Park the next morning.

The option we chose was to take a bus from Puerto Jimenez to Bahia Drake.

The information we were given regarding bus times was different from every person we asked. It seemed like no one had any idea what was going on outside of their little box.

The information that did agree was that we had to catch a bus to La Palma, then connect to a bus to Bahia Drake. Given that we were on a strict time frame in order to get this all done before we had to be in San Jose, there wasn’t room for error and there was only one bus in the morning to La Palma. We wanted to be there early to make plans for Corcovado the following day.

Omar, the guy that ran our hostel, told us the bus to La Palma came at 9am. So we waited outside the bus station in town only to find out the bus there didn’t leave until 1030. Then we saw a bus schedule stating this.

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The bus arrived; it was a school bus as Omar told us so we knew what to look for. It was 1 mil to get to La Palma.

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The first bus ride was short; only about half an hour on paved roads.

We got off the bus in La Palma. Locals told us where the bus to Bahia Drake would be and that it would be there at 1130. We had roughly an hour wait.

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When the bus did come, we would have just let it go without us. We saw the shuttle van, but it said school bus on it so we assumed it was to move kids around. We were expecting a bus, too, not a van. This bus cost us 2 mil.

This ride was on dirt roads through rivers it was a beautiful ride.

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On the bus we met a guy from Texas that was living down here for two years for the Peace Core. Sounded like a very interesting experience, he was in a small community helping them create tourism to create better lives for the people. He said that as of now, most of them worked in the fields for $15 a day getting heart of palm in the fields.

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They couldn’t afford to do anything else but eat and have the occasional beer let alone catch a bus out of their town or take English classes to get tourism jobs.

Bahia Drake was no disappointment relative to the rest of Osa. It was high in the hills overlooking a beautiful ocean. Somehow I forgot to take pictures of this.

We stayed at a hostel called Martina’s place.  It was very nice for a hostel and we got a private room for $20.

As soon as we got there, an iguana ran in under a dresser.

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We spent the next hour plus trying to get it out.

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It got out and ran into our room under the bed. We thought our best bet was to wait it out so we created a path so it had to go straight out the front door and couldn’t go anywhere else.

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After a while he was still there so some kid managed to chase him out with a broom.

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Vwalla.. Iguana back at home 🙂

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Made for an interesting afternoon.

We made arrangements to get picked up at 7 in the morning for our ferry to Sirena station in Corcovado National Park.