From where I left you off...
The next day saw us get on the bus to Rio Sierpe, in the south of Costa Rica. What was supposed to be a 5 hour bus ride, ended up being a 7 hour ride because we had to stop for the Tour de Costa Rica (not quite the Tour de France) but hey... Our bus driver must have thought he could make up for the lost time in the last 100 kms so we ended up barreling down winding mountain roads at a good 130 kms/hour... the speed limit was 80... speaking of scary experiences! All is well that ends well and we arrived in Palmar Norte for our van/boat ride to the Rio Sierpe Lodge owned by Mike, an American turned Costa Rican.
What a great place. Located on the river, with nothing around, it was the perfect place to spend our last three days. We had wonderful dinners with Mike and the other guests (go figure, all other guests were Dutch!) at his long table and sat and talked till Mike decided it was time to switch off the generator. This was no later than 9 leaving nothing but stars to light up the sky. For watching stars, this is the place to be with literally millions of stars that aren't visible in most countries due to light polution twinkling all over the heavens.
The next days were spent hiking, snorkelling and swimming at nearby mangroves and beaches. One of our best experiences was on our second to last day returning from the beach. Heading over full see, we spotted dark fins popping out of the water so we headed towards them. Sure enough, a school of about 20-30 pilot whales were all around us. Great picture taking time and marvellous to see all these mammals of the sea in the wild. After our boat driver jumped in, Luc felt he couldn't stay behind and went overboard to witness a pilot whale just 2 or 3 meters from his face. This face was probably the reason the pilot whales decided to dive (sorry Luc ) and after about 10 minutes of enjoying them, they were gone as quickly as they came. A wonderful experience and a great icing on the cake!
The 31st saw us heading back to San Jose where we stayed at Costa Rica Backpackers and celebrated New Years in El Pueblo. Confetti, crazy hats and whistles were everywhere and it was certainly one of the funnest midnights I have ever experienced!
The 1st of January saw our final day in Costa Rica... sad but true. To go out in style, albeit American style and not Costa Rican, we visited Denny's for American, French and Farmer slams.... it was my first Denny's visit in 5 years and a good one.
As flights with Martinair go, the service was bad (although I hear it is better than on American airlines), not enough sleep, terrible food and bad movies. But hey, we had just spent three weeks in Costa Rica, so we weren't complaining...
Untill the next trip, that's it for me.... hope you all enjoyed reading the diaries! Thank you to Luc, David, Niels and Jeroen for a great holiday. Although not quite backpackers, guess we aren't quite tourists either!
Take care and happy travels!
Adding a cool map of this trip on 04 December 2006