Existing Member?

Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Carara and Jaco

COSTA RICA | Saturday, 21 January 2012 | Views [711]

My next dentist appointment, which will get my crowns put in isn't until Thursday. Mario isn't here yet either so today I'd be making a move to see another area of Costa Rica. Whilst this is my fourth trip here I feel like I haven't seen a huge amount; I've been to San Jose, Heredia, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Tortuguero, Cahuita, and El Coco. Whilst I've long dreamed of Parque Nacional Corcovado, it's too expensive and I have a very limited budget. Factoring in transport to get there, daily park fees, hut/camping fees, and food it would add up to well over $80 if I spent three nights there. It's considered one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet but I often have poor luck when it comes to seeing things. Today I opted to go to Parque Nacional Carara; according to Lonely Planet it's the one place you're guaranteed to see a scarlet macaw. Would I have that luck today? Hopefully so. Leaving some of my gear at Andres' flat I let him know I'll be back in a few days and that I was unsure how long my journey would last. Making my way to San Jose I ended up at the wrong bus station, and when I opted for a taxi to the correct station it cost me $6. The bus ticket to Jaco was only $4; I'd get off at Carara on the way to Jaco. It's a whole different world outside of San Jose but inconsistently so. Costa Rica is labelled as this "paradise of pura vida" but I see it more as a "Hawaii with Spanish as the official language." Overall it's not a bad place to go on a vacation or a journey but it's not my favourite place. Although the bus was going to Jaco I had it drop me off at Carara; if I wanted to go to Jaco later on I'd probably hitch. Officially it's a $7 fee to enter the park but there was nobody at the ticket booth, and oddly no place to get some water. I went on a short hike through the national park, seeing some fungi, leafcutter ants, and a few small lizards, but no scarlet macaws. I was lost and ended up coming out another route to the road. It was a decent hike, although hot and humid and not worth $7 (if there had been someone at the booth to collect my fee. On the road to Jaco is where I'd have my first Costa Rican hitchhiking experience: with a beautiful Tica with a baby in the back. She was headed a short way up the road and then a family picked me up. After passing an abandoned 20-some-odd-story hotel I was in Jaco. Rhyming with "taco" it's a place of contradictions. It's on the coast and has a great beach and surf but it's a built-up expat town filled with glitzy hotels, souvenir shops, drugs, and prostitutes. When I stopped at the internet cafe to email a CSer or two this girl who couldn't have been older than 16 sat at the computer next to me. She was wearing a fishnet top and pants all the way up to her ass: a tell-tale sign she's a prostitute. She then looked over asked me "can I come to your room" in English! I don't think so! In four trips to Costa Rica I've seen my fair share of prostitutes, and I still remember that experience I had in El Coco a few years ago. A CSer named Alejandro, whom I'd messaged a few years ago, emailed me. He said couldn't host me but I could store some of my stuff at his apartment whilst I went camping. When I searched around for a phone I called in at a cute little shop called Bam-Bam-Boo. Run by an expat Canadian lady, it specializes in eco-friendly clothing. It's definitely one of the cuter shops I've seen in Costa Rica. Jaco is rather expensive place to stay or eat in, but I got some pizza before strolling around and then watching the sunset. Locals were approaching me on the beach, presumably wanting to offer me drugs or a girl. The sunset tonight was gorgeous!

Despite all the time I've spent in Costa Rica I've spent very little time on the coast, and on my first trip here I didn't seen see the coast! Alejandro advised against camping on the beach due to the risk of thievery so I opted for the campground right by the beach. Before pitching my tent I got a hamburger at this small shack with close to a million mosquitoes buzzing around a bright, white neon light. Being by the coast mosquitoes are everywhere and it's very hot, and my sleeping bag is quite hot for the climate. The only sounds I hear now are a light murmur of the ocean...

Although it was very hot as I slept, I did so deeply and peacefully. The sun and I were both up at roughly the same time: 6:30 or so.

Whilst I thought about it I wasn't ready to hang around Jaco for another day as there really isn't much here. I contemplated going to Parque Manuel Antonio or to Quepos but I figured Mario was back in Heredia so I thought I'd make my way back. At Alejandro's house I retrieved my bag and then got a cup of coffee. It was hot already as I walked a wee ways north. With my thumb out I was picked up by a German couple and then by someone else but neither of them were going very far. Then a Tico picked me up but he was only going as far as Tarcoles. Hitchhiking in Costa Rica just isn't easy; like in Panama it's illegal to ride in the bed of pickup trucks and there are plenty of buses along the main routes. At the bus stop in Tarcoles I held my thumb out but was ready to jump on the bus if one came, and sure enough that's what happened. A few hours later I was, my weary self, sore mouth and all, back in Heredia. Me back, but not Mario!

 

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


About kiwiaoraki


Follow Me

Where I've been

Favourites

Photo Galleries

Highlights

Near Misses

My trip journals


See all my tags 


 

 

Travel Answers about Costa Rica

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.