Costa Rica Journal

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azbackpackr
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Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 07 2012 4:29 pm

The countdown is on, less than a week to go! I'm off to Costa Rica on Friday morning! I have probably gained quite a few new gray hairs over the past few weeks, what with all the hassle in getting a correct authentication/apostille on my birth certificate (would you believe the California Secretary of State made an error and the Consulate would not accept the document?) I had to have that in order to get a student visa. I ought to run for President, what with all the problems with my birth certificate. I have had to order THREE of them!

So, look for me hereon this thread over the coming months, and I will post up some photos (and likely even some hikes) from time to time. It will be fun to keep in touch with everyone while I'm there, too!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 23 2012 11:07 am

Thanks, everyone. Ok, Facebook Scrabble, here we go!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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kevinweitzel75
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Mar 23 2012 11:25 am

Happy Birthday Liz!
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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Alston_Neal
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Alston_Neal » Mar 23 2012 12:10 pm

Happy Birthday!
Go show the youngins how to really party.
We'll understand if you don't post up anything coherent manana.... ;)
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 23 2012 1:19 pm

¿Manaña? Manaña I am going to Monteverde Cloud Forest park, the one that supposedly has the world's longest zipline! And yes, of course, I am going on the ziplines! Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBGmsDlxJvA

Or watch this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ZDSqhFlmo

We'll be staying up there for two days! Have to take warm clothes, imagine that! I'm sitting in my room here in Puntarenas, and it's about 100 degrees in here!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Alston_Neal
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Alston_Neal » Mar 23 2012 1:41 pm

Hey at least I didn't spelt it marinara.
Bone jor no.
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by PLC92084 » Mar 24 2012 5:46 pm

Gravity will be on Liz' side so even if she is hung over, it won't matter much (unless your underneath the zip line when she passes over...).

Happy Birthday !!

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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 25 2012 3:25 pm

Ha, not me!

Had a great time on the ziplines today! Really loooong ones, the last one is a full kilometer. Really really fun! They have this Tarzan jump thing, also. I found a vid of it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsj86Zr4G1E

At first I said, maybe not, then after about a minute I said, oh what the heck!

We also went to a butterfly garden which is inside of a humidity and heat controlled botanical garden building. Yesterday we went to a hummingbird feeding area, and saw the great big purple ones, among others. They are huge! Yesterday we went on a hike, also, with a fair amount of elevation gain involved. Saw a nice waterfall. Really great trip. Monteverde is really gorgeous, the selva (wild jungle forest) is beautiful.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 30 2012 5:38 am

When we were at Monteverde last weekend, we went on a nice little hike. First hike I've been on in Costa Rica which was a bit steep. I'm out of shape, of course, so I got a bit winded. It was above 5,000 feet. It felt great. Here's a photoset of the hike:
http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=19389

After we came back to Puntarenas I decided to start running on the beach. Did it a couple of times, did okay with it. I really don't like running very much, and am not good at it, but I found out that barefoot on the beach I can run a mile, whereas with shoes I can run only for about 5 minutes.

Today is the last day of class--big exam today--and then spring break begins. Most of the students already have plans to go to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast and on down to Boca del Toro, Panama. Several students are flying to Belize. I just happen to be almost broke right now. So, I am going to do some day trips nearby, maybe go to Montezuma on the ferry and hike to the waterfalls. Maybe also hook up with a Tica I met on the bus who said I can stay at her house in Quepos so that I can go to Manuel Antonio National Park, down the coast a ways from Puntarenas. Riding the bus is very cheap. I am also going to see if I can find a kayak somewhere here in Puntarenas. There is a very nice estuary here that would be perfect for paddling and bird watching.

I am feeling pretty sad about not going to Panama, though.

On Wednesday I went on the bus with my host "mom" and "sister" to San Ramon to the home of my host mom's sister. A very nice house, too. I should have taken some photos. It had beautiful tile floors, tile patio, tile driveway, tile walkways in the backyard, tile kitchen, tile bathrooms, etc. Anyway, her sister does a rosary every month on the 28th for their mother, who died 9 years ago. About 20 people showed up for it! There was food and socializing. It was quite a good cultural experience for me. Also got kind of boring, sitting through all those Hail Marys, in Spanish. Most of the attendees were women over 50, which I guess is not too surprising. I had to get by on my Spanish for the entire day, which was good for me, also. I do usually spend a fair amount of time with American students, speaking English, although I live with a non-English-speaking family.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 02 2012 8:58 am

Montezuma, Costa Rica. This beach town is on a dirt road, and took quite awhile to get here on the ferry and bus. It´s on the Nicoya peninsula. I´m staying in a hostel, 10 bucks a night for a private room, clean but funky, with bathroom down the hall, kitchen. It is right on the beach. There are no highrises here. There are lots of backpack travelers here from Europe and US. Also, lots of people who are known as yoga hippies, since there are several yoga places here. This is one of those places, one hopes will not get too touristy. It is hard to get here, so maybe it will be okay for awhile.

I met a backpack traveler yesterday, a gal from Canada, who has been to 66 countries! She really knows how to go on the cheap. I wish she had stayed another night because I had so many more questions I wanted to ask her. In case you want to know, her least favorite place is India. Her most favorite place is Africa. She had also just finished a stint teaching English in Mexico, via the TESOL program.

This morning I talked to a guy from Switzerland. I asked him what his general budget is, and he said about $30 per day. They all complain that Costa Rica is too expensive. The buses are cheap, the hostels are cheap, but food at the grocery store is a lot more here than in Nicaragua, Panama, etc. This is due to excessive taxation.

They all tell me that every now and then they go home, get a job, save several thousand dollars, and go back out again, traveling.

Yesterday I hiked to a big waterfall, about 100 feet high, with a nice big, very deep swimming hole at the base of it. Lots of places to jump off rocks into the water. Today I plan to walk down the beach, since in one direction there is a somewhat wild coastline. Up early in the morning, walking on the rocky shoreline, listening to the howler monkeys up the hill in the woods.

I´m here on my own, and this is the first time I have ever done this! Right now, I´m a backpack traveler, if only for two nights. Tomorrow I am leaving on the early bus to go back to Paquera, which is also on the Nicoya Peninsula. I am going to go sea kayaking there, in the mangroves. Can´t wait! It´s a tour, not super cheap, but something I have never done before. The boats are proper sea kayaks, sit inside, with rudders. After that, I don´t know where I am going to go. It´s holy week, and a lot of places may be very crowded. I would like to go to Arenal Volcano, and also over to the Caribbean side of the country. We have until next Sunday off school. But almost the entire work force in Costa Rica has the week off! Especially after Wed. it is supposed to get crazy to ride the buses. And then, on Good Friday, there are NO buses running anywhere in Costa Rica! So, we´ll see...
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Sun_Ray
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Sun_Ray » Apr 02 2012 9:10 am

The 'backpack travelers' you met sound very interesting. Part of me would want to do it so I could go with the flow..set my own timetable. The other half says I'd be lonely. I can be chatty and don't have trouble meeting people, but it sounds like I be constantly doing that to learn the ropes as I traveled. Now that I'm writing this I think I could hit a nice beach and stay a month! Thanks again for taking the time to document your trip.
Brian
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by trekkin_gecko » Apr 02 2012 9:12 am

good for you, liz
an invaluable experience
thanks for sharing it with us

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by writelots » Apr 02 2012 9:28 am

In case you want to know, her least favorite place is India
Grrrreat... ;)

Sounds like you are having such a fantastic trip! Thanks for sharing all your adventures!
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 02 2012 7:16 pm

Wendy I have two friends who were in India the last couple of months. One of them loved it, the other one said it is incredible, but unutterably filthy. He didn´t exactly say not to go there, though. He sure has some great clothes from there. Those swami pants, you know, kind of balloon pants? And great shirts and sandals. He wears them all the time here in CR.

I think I can do the backpack traveling, but I agree it is lonely. You have to chat people up. A lot of them do meet other people along the way to hook up with and travel with. Others are traveling in pairs, usually couples. They often do spend a week or more in one place, sometimes longer. Their timetables are unrushed, until the time when the money gets low and they have to be to a particular place to fly home.

Today, here at the beach village of Montezuma, I did pretty much nothing. I injured my foot somehow a couple of days ago, so decided to not do the long walk down the coast. Instead, I sat on the beach and talked to the other travelers and Ticos. One of the Ticos made a pot of coffee, added milk and sugar the way I like it, and brought it out to me at our table with log seats, which is on the beach in front of the hostel, under the almond trees and coco palms. Then he proceeded to tell me a lot of entertaining stories and lies. The howler monkeys continued to howl, up on the hill. Buses came into town, and I expected crowds, but it doesnt´seem super crowded here, yet. It´s Easter week, and most Ticos are on vacation. But the funky hostel where I´m staying did not fill up.

My foot feels a bit better now. Tomorrow, off to Paquera, and sea kayaking!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 08 2012 3:43 am

I've been back in Puntarenas for several days, after taking two trips to the Nicoya Peninsula. My budget won't stand for much more travel, unfortunately.

In Montezuma I met a gal, a backpack traveler named Teren, from Vancouver. She said she has been to 66 countries. 66! She liked Africa the best, she said.

I have been hearing a lot from other students, and now from this traveler, Teren, about the TESOL program. It's a certification you can get fairly quickly to teach English in foreign countries. I looked into it, and it's offered via the U of A as a one month program in summer, but also is offered partially on the internet, partially at U of A for the practical teaching part of the training. Interesting idea, I may consider doing it, next year. Too much on my plate this year.

This past Tuesday, April 3, I got on the bus in Montezuma at 5:30 in the morning. I met a backpack traveler on the bus, age 63, who had taken his small Social Security early and is having a blast traveling around. I think I will do that, too! He kind of made my day.

And the rest of the day was even better. I went sea kayaking near Paquera, with people from Bahia Rica, a small, Robinson Crusoe-like resort tucked away on the shoreline, apparently without a driveway. It has a footpath to get to it. It's owned by a couple from Norway--very nice folks. They have really good boats: sit inside, with rudders. (So many rental places have the sit-on-tops, which are generally very slow.) We paddled across the bay to a mangrove swamp. It was high tide, so we were able to go into little channels in the mangroves and see all kinds of interesting birds, including a roseate spoonbill, ibis, green heron, boat-billed heron, tri-colored heron, egret, pelican, etc. If you know anything about birds, you'll know I was thrilled to see the spoonbill and the ibis, but I wasn't able to get photos of them with my point-and-shoot camera. I don't know much about tropical birds, but I read later that the boat-billed heron lives in mangrove swamps and is nocturnal. That is why it was hiding, I guess, but we did see it. The guide, a Norwegian woman, knew where to look for it.

From the mangrove swamp we went back into the bay, and then paddled up a small placid creek. It apparently was taking us close to an inhabited area because we could hear a road nearby. There was a small family standing on the banks watching us paddle by. Behind them was a banana grove.

After paddling up and back down the creek we came out into the bay again, and proceeded to a beach where we pulled in and ate a really good lunch, sitting on big driftwood logs. Then it was time to paddle back across the bay to where we had started out that morning. But now a breeze had come up, and it was a little bit of a struggle to paddle into the wind. I hadn't kayaked in months. But, eventually we made it across.

All in all, the sea kayaking day was the most fun I've had in Costa Rica. True, ziplining at Monteverde was a blast, and I also went ziplining in Guanacaste. I've also been horseback riding a couple of times, and down a long snaking waterslide, and body surfing, and hiking. I'd like to go river rafting, but it is too expensive. I'd like to go to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, also, but I am pretty sure I am not going to be able to do any more travel unless it is to Manuel Antonio National Park, where I may have a free place to stay at someone's house.

I'll post a link to the photos after I have posted the photos.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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azbackpackr
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 08 2012 9:18 am

Curu Wildlife Refuge photoset and triplog, April 5, 2012:
http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=19534&start=15
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 22 2012 4:03 am

Less than three weeks to go before I leave here! I've been nursing a sore foot. I'm not sure what caused it, but I think I injured it when running barefoot on the beach followed by walking several miles on the pavement in my Tevas. It flared up once, then I stayed off it and it got better, then it flared up again. I'm staying off it for the duration. I've been riding around on a bike. Yesterday I rode over to see the sunset. I'm going to try to remember to do that every day if it isn't raining. It was gorgeous, but you couldn't see the sun. There was a bank of clouds over that way, and I saw a streak of lightning. Viewing the sunset from the end of the point in Puntarenas you are looking up the Gulf of Nicoya. The coastline here runs roughly east and west, instead of the familiar north-south of SoCal.

Rainy season has started elsewhere in the country, but in hot, dry Puntarenas it takes longer to get going, I guess. We've had a couple of big gully washers, though. Exactly like an Arizona monsoon in August. The temperature during the day gets hotter and hotter, and the humidity rises, and then comes the blessed cooling rain, the lightning and thunder, the deafening noise on the roof. Everyone runs out to the backyard to grab the laundry or whatever else got left outside, and the kids come dashing in through the front gate with their bicycles, soaking wet and laughing. It was during Semana Santa--Holy Week--so my host family's grandkids were here.

I'm looking forward to going home, and am sad that my foot and also my finances confine me to Puntarenas. So, trying to make the best of it, I've been riding around on the bicyle a little bit. Borrowed a guitar. And trying to get some homework done.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Sun_Ray
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by Sun_Ray » Apr 22 2012 7:07 am

Sorry your foot is still an issue. It's hard when you are reminded of it with every step. Rest is the way to go as you know if you want to the Dr here that's the first thing they would have you do. Enjoy your Sunday.
Brian
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 22 2012 8:02 am

Sun Ray wrote:Sorry your foot is still an issue. It's hard when you are reminded of it with every step. Rest is the way to go as you know if you want to the Dr here that's the first thing they would have you do. Enjoy your Sunday.
Thanks! I should be doing RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Ice is hard to come by in Costa Rica. It isn't something they think of making in their freezers. I kid you not. They don't have ice trays. They don't sell bags of ice at the corner store (although corner stores are ubiquitous here). I'm doing rest and elevation. And taking Ibuprofen for the inflammation. The oddest thing is that no matter how much I palpate poke or stretch or push on the foot with my hands it does not hurt. It only hurts when I put weight on it.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by chulavista » Apr 24 2012 12:51 pm

I've enjoyed reading your journal and checking out all the photos you have posted. Enjoy the rest of your stay, be careful with that foot so you can continue to hike - and most of all, have a safe trip back.

Kate
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Re: Costa Rica Journal

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 24 2012 2:34 pm

Thanks, Kate! I'm still staying off the foot. It's much better, but I still limp a little, have to favor it a little. I keep it elevated, also. The director of my school does want me to see the doctor. I'm holding out, since there has been a lot of improvement. I have dance class today. I can go, and watch everyone dance. I have been going to the sunset every day!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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