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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 [754]

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!


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