Costa Rican Quest pt 2

It was an early start after our night at the treehouse restaurant the next morning, we went for a trek through the cloud forest at Monte Verdi. We did not see much more wildlife than the night before, but did get a better view of a tarantula and saw the same kind of snake.


After that we went zip-lining. Which was one of the best experiences ever. I have done zip lining before in the Caribbean, but these lines were longer and faster. There were 11 lines overall I think; mum did the first five or six, it was hard for her to jump up and clip on her harness each time. As we went on the lines are longer. There was also a free fall to get to one of them.

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On the longest line you flew over the forest canopy immensely high up and there was an Eagle alongside which was just spectacular. The next was the longest zip line in Latin America and took over two minutes to get across, you could also do it lying down in the superman position which made it even more fun, if you ever get a chance to do it I would definitely recommend it.

At the and there was an optional Tarzan swing. You go out on this little walkway into nothing, open the gate and lean forwards and free fall till the catches you on the swing, for me that was the most fun part. (Did not go Arhhhahhhhahhh, like Tarzan though)


At the bottom Max had found a wild, although not venomous snake, he was beautiful and we had a hold before releasing it back into the wild, there were also people interviewing the people there about their experience at the rope swing and zip lines and a few of us including me got interviewed, I’m going to be on Costa Rica TV!


That afternoon we did the hanging bridges in the cloud forests. Basically just bridges hanging in the forest canopy, we saw a very beautiful bird, but that’s about it – although at the end we got to climb up through a tree which was really good fun. Overall it was a very busy day, we were exhausted when we got back.


The next day was a travel day again, this time to Quepos. It wasn’t a long drive, but on the way we stopped at a bridge over river full of crocodiles, at least 20 to 30 of them. Not too long ago I think two drunk people jumped in over the bridge… Didnt find much of them left.


At the hotel we dropped off our bags and quickly caught the bus down to the beach, we had lunch with our feet in the sand, but on some rather uncomfortable concrete chairs. Some people then went back to the hotel, or went to the port, while I convinced Annemie, Zoe, Max Maureen and Annika to go on a banana boat. We did quite well, only falling off twice.

That night me, Kim, Zoe and Annemie went to a bar for a salsa class, I was Annemies partner and she was very good teacher, she even showed me her special sexy move. A few of the Costa Rican guys took a fancy to Zoe and had her dancing, and Kim won at the casino so very good night.


There was this one man who danced with me, he was exactly breast height and kept moving his face forward and lowering his hand further down my back and spinning me around until I was disoriented, thankfully I managed to get away from him. We also met two Hawaiian surfer dudes and played pool with them, I think they want to take us back to the hotel which we quickly declined, said we might find them on the beach tomorrow instead.

The next morning we all went to Manuel Antonio National Park. Once in, after a nightmare queue getting the tickets, most of us went up towards the waterfall, saw a lot of bugs and a few spiders but no other animals, it was beautiful all the same and could hear the Howler monkeys.


Back down the path however we saw lots of sloths and then at the beach lots more sloths and Capuchin monkeys with stolen food and raccoons that snook up on you and took parts of people’s picnics.

We spent ages on the beach jumping waves and climbing rocks. On the way back we saw more Capuchins which are close enough to touch and some have babies. There were bright red crabs and also some squirrel monkeys which were cutest little things I had ever seen.


That night we went for a meal in El Avion, it’s inside a crashed WW2 aeroplane, it was also a ladies night back at the salsa bar so headed back there for a few drinks and dancing.

The next day was back to San Jose but not before a morning trip on a party boat. We each got a wristband which allowed us 8 free cocktails I think, anyone who knows me knows I get drunk off 2, so it was a little excessive. It was such a great day, we drank and sun bathed on the trampoline things, jumped off the top deck, chatted in the Jacuzzi with some big black African-American women and dance with them before swimming to the reef and snorkelling with fishes.


We then headed back to San Jose and got to meet back up with Jake before we all went out for a meal together back at the Cuban restaurant we had started at, and make sure to graffiti on the walls this time.

It was then time to say goodbye to everyone which was really hard because it was such an amazing group of people, thankfully most of us were still around for breakfast the next morning and got to have one last goodbye. We were so lucky to meet a group and just click, people you genuinely want to stay in touch with.

Me and Mum and Jake were staying in San Jose a few more days to explore and have some time just us three. While we were there, there was an art festival going on. The FYA festival, an international arts show. we watched group performances and marching bands, dancers, acrobats, street performers and this weird zombie live-action thing.

We went to the Gold Museum, which I found quite boring to be perfectly honest, mum and Jake like it anyway.  We then went through the market which was very noisy, small and cramped and expensive too! We went back a few days later and bought a few things with our very poor haggling skills.


While in San Jose we also did the Jade Museum, which Jake had already been to, and had missed an entire room with most of the jade. It was much more interactive which was much more interesting, it also had lots on the history and culture of the Mayans and people who used to live there.

On mums last full day we went to the National History Museum, we first went through the Butterfly garden, which was very large, then in the old prison and army barracks. After there was a lot of rooms starting with the indigenous people of Costa Rica, to people’s lives now. It was interesting but a lot of information to read, by the end I was just choosing specific little bits.

On the last day we spent it relaxing by the pool together. Me and Jake went in, then they quickly got out again as it was so cold, I swear the pool was chilled!


It was sad to say goodbye to mum but it had been great to see her and a great experience overall. The most amazing people and activities. Costa Rica was definitely one of my favourite places and happiest memories.

Next stop… Nicaragua.

Costa Rica Quest – pt 1

At this point I had been away from home 102 days, and wasn’t really missing it, although I was missing my mum terribly, thankfully for this part of the journey she was coming out meet us. Well she had kind of already booked this trip before we decided to leave, but hey I was going to see her.

I got the plane from Panama to Costa Rica which left around 9 AM, however Jake caught the Tica bus, which didn’t leave till 11:55 PM that night and took 14 hours, good luck to him.


I arrived in Costa Rica at 10 and mum wasnt due till 2 so I say and waited. I was waiting outside when all the lights went out and chaos erupted. No I know what’s happening, and everyone was urged to move back and nobody came through for four hours, when mum finally got outside about six she had managed to sneak out, about 1000 other people were still waiting inside. Apparently they had been circling for ages and there was nowhere for them to land, they were the last flight to be allowed in before all flights were diverted to Jamaica! We found our it was because all electricity has gone off all over Latin America, from Nicaragua down to Columbia possibly more.

I was happy just to finally see mum.

Finally at the hotel we met up with our tour group. ( Jake was still travelling,) he was staying in San Jose while me and mum did a tour around Costa Rica G adventures.

I had done tours before, one to Thailand and the other to Cuba which I both really enjoyed, what makes it special is the people you’re travelling with. I’m not just saying this because they might read it, this was generally the nicest group of people I had ever met.


There were 10 of us altogether. Me and mum, Zoe, Annemie, Kimberly, Julie, Chuck, Maureen, Max and our guide Annika.

We are from all over, Ireland, England, Belgium, America, Canada and Costa Rica. A real mixture but clicked instantly.

The first night we went to a Cuban restaurant that was covered in graffiti, it was a really cool place. I had a huge prawn filled pineapple thing covered in cheese, after eating super noodles and rice for the last month it was heavenly.

The next day we set off from San Jose to la Fortuna, it’s called that because it was built on the side of a mountain, that turned out to be Arenal Volcano.  When it blew, it completely missed the town so was named las Fortuna or the fortunate. On the way we stopped at waterfalls and a coffee plantation and saw how coffee was made, the whole process, from planting the seed to the finished product. I don’t even like coffee but it was alright, for the coffee drinkers it was stunning. I did like the Coffee liquor though. We got to plant seeds, and grind beans, as well as juice sugar cane. The juice was okay, but did not like chewing the actual cane, I had tried it before in Jamaica and still didn’t fancy it, despite having such a sweet tooth as I do.


We also saw sloths and toucans. We were lucky to see a very active slough e.g. it was awake, just happily chilling in the middle of a car park.

Our first day in Las Fortuna wait split up on the different activities. Mum, Chuck and Julie (the cutest couple ever) went on a boat told to see wildlife, Zoe and Kimberly did the more adventurous canyoneering and white-water rafting, while me Annemie, Max and Maureen did canyoneering and stand up paddle boarding.


Canyoneering was amazing. There were four abseils The last one was over 200 feet, and lots of little ones to scramble down. You could also cannonball into deep bits, and one section where you let the water buildup and then cascade over you so forcefully you have to cling on or else be swept away.


I loved paddle boarding to. Definitely hard at first giving it was my first time, and balance really isn’t my forte, but slowly got the just of it. Max was awesome in a way, no trouble there.


After a while I managed to do the one leg trick/balancing act and 270° of 360. The best bit was lining up the boards to run across them

That evening went to a spa/hotel with hot water springs with pools and slides. It had a swim up bar and little Jacuzzi pods, it was perfection, although in the end me and annemie had to get out and urge others to do so too as we were so hungry, at that point I almost enjoyed the buffet as much as the activities.

The next day was a travel day, we went from las Fortuna to Monte verde. We had a beautiful boat ride across Lake Arenal, under the Arenal volcano – which was where we did the paddle boarding the day before.


Once we reach Monte verde, half of us went to the herpetarium it was okay, but that is all. We did see frogs and snakes and turtles, but it was very small and overpriced for what it was.

That night went to a place called the treehouse. It’s built around a tree and is trip advisors is one of the top 10 bizarre restaurants around the world, it was really good to go to, very unique.

 

At first it was fine, then they started the live music and we were sat directly next to it. Usually that wouldn’t bother me, but they played excruciatingly loud. So loud you had to scream in the persons ear next to you in order to talk.

For most people this would probably be an annoyance or a little problem and would just enjoy the music. For me, having Autism, it was an overload of sound that became torturous, it felt like my head was going to explode, my skin felt too tightly and prickly, almost painful like pins and needles, I started to shake and feel like I couldn’t breathe, I suddenly burst into tears as it was just too much. My reaction was so extreme I felt like I was going to be sick and had to run to the bathroom, thankfully I wasn’t, but it shocks people – who don’t have an understanding or know much about autism how something can affect the person so strongly.

It was horrible and all I wanted to do was leave, run far away and never stop running. Thankfully mum talked to Annika and got us moved to the bottom floor where you could hear the music but it wasnt overwhelming. It took me all night to come down, but could cope. I told the rest of the group why, and I think it was the first time any of them realised I was autistic.

That is something most people don’t realise. That I’m different, my brain works very different me from the rest. I like this, I like being different. I like that most people don’t know, it means people don’t treat you differently. on the other hand – people don’t you differently, and expect you to be able to do everything that anyone else can, and seem very unforgiving when you can’t. For the most part anyway. Thankfully this group was awesome. I don’t tell people that often, as people don’t usually react all to positively, I’ve lost many friends just telling people. Here, with this group, I wasn’t really too worried.

Oh, – nearly forgot before the meal we had  a night walk through the jungle. It was good, we didn’t see any sloths or monkeys or armadillos or a kinkajou – which I would’ve loved to have seen, but we did see a funnel-web spider, tarantulas, bugs, hundreds of bat and a green striped who was absolutely beautiful.

 

I’ll finish my Costa Rica Quest next week.

Our time in Monte Verde, Salsa dancing and party boat.