Costa Rica trip 2002-2003
Fri 20 Dec 2002 - Tue 24 Dec 2002 0 °C
With blue jays peeping over my shoulder and a sign reading 'please don´t feed the monkeys', breakfast in Montezuma isn´t anything like most peoples perception of the day before Christmas. But then again, Montezuma, located on the Western (Pacific) coast of Costa Rica, isn´t your typical Christmas postcard location. Actually, it isn´t a postcard location at all with its odd collection of cabinas, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes clustered together on a couple of hundred square metres of coastline only accessible by a dirt road through Costa Rican rainforest.
Montezuma might not win any beauty awards but when it comes to atmosphere and ambience, it is my perfect holiday destination. An atmosphere best compared to Haad Riin on Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand (without the full moon parties!), this small town on the Costa Rican peninsula has developed on the backs of countless backpackers (no pun intended) through the years. This was our choice to spend the Christmas days, and a good one indeed. After 12 days of travelling, a few days in one place isn´t a bad idea by any degree.
How we got here? After leaving La Fortuna and the Arenal behind us, we took three local buses to get us to the city of Liberia, located next to the Pan American highway and a half hour away from Rincon de la Vieja National Park. A roadside motel with ESPN, a pool and a Burger King across the road were exactly what we needed after a day of travelling. The fact that this meant sharing a double bed with Luc was quickly forgotten in the face of all this luxury.
The next morning we were up before 6 to see what we had come here for, the National Park. This National Park offered us one of our best days yet with more than 15 kms of hiking proving to be worth every step. A swim in the opal blue waters under magnificent Catarata La Careja (waterfall) was the reward of our first hike and must rank with the best locations for a swim worldwide (wonder if there is such a list...). The afternoon hike took us past another waterfall, small volcanoes eruping bubbles of grey mud and sulfur pools smelling as bad as anything I have ever smelled! All in all, a magnificently diverse day of hiking and one I would recommend to anyone interested in good hiking!
The trip back to our motel was interesting as well. In what turned out to be an unregistered vehicle, our driver pulled off the highway to wait till a police check was lifted. To pass time we had a beer only to find out our driver had already had 5 before picking us up (that explained his very cheerful nature!). After the police check was lifted the remaining ride was uneventful (thank goodness!) and a long day left us all weary, tired and longing for a dive in the pool. The next morning we slept in till 7 (!) before hitting the bus, ferry and jeep ride to Montezuma where the next few days will be spent.
For those of you in Australia, Merry Christmas today, for the rest: Merry Christmas tomorrow!