Part 3 is the final chapter of our Road Trip through Costa Rica (Click for Part 1 and Part 2). We had an absolute incredible time and couldn’t recommend the adventure more to anyone willing to give it a go.
Today we actually got to see Volcan Arenal in the light. Well sort of… It was cloudy and rainy and we couldn’t really see very much. We thought at first we might have a stay inside sort of day….. Nah!!! That’s no fun! So we headed to Arenal Hanging Bridges. So what if we got a little wet. Now this was a popular spot, even out of season there were still lots of tourists.
The park provides tour guides at an extra cost to help you through the park. The tour guides are a good idea as they will know where the wildlife is and have some pretty useful information, however we like to do things at our own pace and, well, we are cheapskates, so we didn’t use one. One thing you can do is listen in on the tour guides as you are passing. Or have a look up the tree he is pointing at to see something interesting. I know, I know, it’s cheating, but all we are doing is paying attention as we walk by!
The Arenal Hanging Bridges is basically a long loop path through the jungle (it’s a few miles long) and takes a few hours to do. Scattered along the path are 16 bridges in all, of which 6 of them are hanging bridges. They vary in height with the highest being about 50 meters above the ground! Nicole, who is not good with heights, made her way bravely across them. She didn’t stop for photos tho! The walk was great and the views were spectacular.
We saw a little bit of wildlife (maybe we should have used a guide to see more!) including heaps of cute frogs, birds and reptiles. We also saw one monkey (sleeping in a tree a long way away), one snake (let’s keep moving) and a very nasty bug who greeted us at the gate (photo below).
This northern/central area of Costa Rica was definitely our favorite area within Costa Rica. The feeling of being amongst the wild is indescribable unless you have done it.
Afterwards we traveled to our next stop in Limon (Point I in above Map) for the night. To be honest Limon didn’t have a lot to offer. It is a port town, and from what we saw, fairly run down. The main park in town was overgrown and not appealing. We were glad it was just a place to sleep before heading down the coast. And to add to that, we were greeted by a rat as we walked in our hotel. So obviously we ate dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was surprisingly good.
Today we headed down the coast. The coast road is a great drive. You drive through a bunch of really laid back towns, backing on to the beach with plenty of jungle around. Now, I have already commented on my thoughts of the beaches, and unfortunately they weren’t much different on this side of the country. The little towns made up for it. You just better not want anything in a rush. Everything happens at it’s own pace. The highlight of the day (and maybe my life!) was going to the Sloth Sanctuary. We paid the extra money to get the full tour, but the cheaper one would still have been fantastic. You get to learn a lot about sloths, how the sanctuary is helping them and it is great to know the money you spend goes directly to helping the sloths. The above link will let you know everything you need to know about the place.
Day 7 was more about saving animals, this time it was the Jaguar Rescue Center. Despite the name there are rarely jaguars here (which is good because it means there are no injured ones!) but was named after it’s first rescue animal. This one was good value, with all profits going to helping the animals. There were sloths, owls, snakes, spiders, deers, frogs and wild cats to be seen.
The highlight though was being allowed into the monkey cage. Monkeys climbing up on you, then jumping across to a branch, before jumping back on to you is just dead set cool. The owners let the monkeys out of the cage and into the jungle every day. If they want to come back they do, it they want to move on, they have the chance to. Generally they move on once they are better or they get to a certain age and want to have little monkeys of there own.
Day 8 was a driving day. We drove from the east to the west of the country (from Point K to L on the above Map), with a stop near San Jose for lunch. The day ended in Jaco. Now there are lots of different views on Jaco. It is definitely a backpacker town, with plenty of young travelers around. It has a reputation of being a party town. If that is your thing, then you would have a ball here, but we oldies retired to our beds early, well before any partying started.
Today we started our house sit in Ojachal. After a week of travel and lots of driving it was great to stop and relax. Below are photos of the view off our back verandah and out our bedroom window. I think we will be ok!
Have you been to Costa Rica? What was your favorite part?