Pura Vida – The Way of Life

To say we were unprepared for the heat and humidity of Costa Rica would be an understatement. 8 degrees in Canada doesn’t compute to 36 degrees in Costa Rica with almost 100% humidity.

But alas, we are spoiled with a car, and an air conditioned car at that!

Our first stop, Samara, where we spent our days driving through the ridiculously rough roads in our teeny tiny car (that will stay in 1st gear for most of our driving adventure) finding beach after beach and stopping every chance we can to pick up dropped mangos for our journey, these are free, and we are budget travellers, and it makes for a funny story and lots of laughs from locals.

After spending some time at the beach, drinking fresh coconut water, and hanging out in the hammocks at our Eco hostel we decided to head inland and upland to try to beat the heat.


The real question was if we were going to make it up the mountain. We both held our breathes quite a bit as Tiff expertly navigated the roads as we passed trucks filled with cows and avoided crater sized potholes. There were a few moments where I had lost almost all hope and thought we were destined to roll backwards down an entire mountain.

For all those people out there wondering about driving in Costa Rica: the roads are barely roads, you feel like you are in a paint shaker as you navigate them. The speed limits are also ridiculously slow which is why it takes so long to get anywhere. Would I recommend it? Yes. The freedom is so nice, you just need to make sure you have the time to get around, and get a car that isn’t the tiniest one on the lot. A car allows you to stop and take pictures with giant oxen and eat weird street cookies and blare 80s music to your little hearts content. But also, probably don’t do it during rainy season, because the roads can wash out very easily, we had a few crazy rainstorms and witnessed just a little bit of this.

I’m convinced Monteverde is the reason why CR is expensive, so much adventure. So we took part in some cheaper(but stunning) nature walks and night walks, in which we very happily got to see some gross bugs, a kinkajou, some vipers, an armadillo, a scorpion, and our hairy amigo (aka the sloth)!

To top all the fun off(these may not be all that appealing, but trust me) we did the crazy, and went bungee jumping. Definitely recommend it, and no, they didn’t have to push me, I jumped off the cable car with my very own stupidity. Call me crazy, as soon as my feet left the floor I thought the same thing. If you’re gonna die you might as well go out a cool way though, right?

But I digress.

With no plan for the next day and no idea where we were going to be sleeping that night we set out on our way down the hill in our tiny car which we kept in neutral almost the whole time. We found a few beaches and the town of Jaco, which was 100% not our scene. We ate some delish pizza and since we couldn’t find a hostel to sleep in we said to hell with it and started the drive to San José.

Through torrential downpour and a crazy traffic jam we eventually made it to Alajuela, a suburb of San José. They say don’t drive at night in CR, we can now see why. Ironically this is when we saw the most cars on the road(the reason why was soon to be discovered). We parked our tiny car and cleaned everything out of it and tried to find a way to get to Panama from San José. This is where planning ahead might of helped but we managed either way, makes it that more exciting.

Turns out Monday was a holiday here in CR so things were quite busy and booked up. The hooligans were also out and decided that our car looked enticing enough to break into. So with a tiny back window smashed in, the spare tire stolen, and the attempt at taking the stereo using the tools that were in the car for the jack, we drove our car back to the rental agency to drop it off. They didn’t blink an eye (this happens often, and frequently people come out to find the vandals sleeping in their car, umm no thanks!) and we eventually headed on our way on a large, non air conditioned bus to Puerto Viejo. And holy Hanna was it hot.

Our time in this tiny beach town was unfortunately very short, definitely a place I could go back to and wander aimlessly up and down the streets, drinking beer and learning to surf. One day. When it’s not as hot. The air does not move. I was a puddle the whole time. Maybe in an ice age?

But that day is not today. Today we head to Panama, to find some other adventures in country number 20.

Pura Vida mis amigos y hasta luego!


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