What a week. From a whirlwind of wrapping up (or at least catching up) work projects, to a tearful family get together, to the jungles of Costa Rica. Never mind the weather shock of going from cold, dry Canadian spring (still winter) to the muggy, humid scorching sun of Central America. Never mind the culture shock of going from neat and tidy chain-store North America to ramshackle Pura Vida Costa Rica. Forgetting all that, the sheer distance we’ve come in the last 24 hours has left us a little shell-shocked. The red-eye flights. The uncomfortable sleeps on the planes.
It’s so easy to get consumed by the day to day stresses of life (and work) at home, and yet so easy to arrive in a new place and to remember that there is a whole wide world out there. Grande Prairie seems very far away indeed.
Upon landing at the San Jose International Airport, we picked up a rental SUV, with only small hiccups (had to get our paperwork printed and have a fuse replaced on the car), and proceeded to hit the winding, narrow, but entirely serviceable Costa Rican road. A few hours later and we were far from the hustle and bustle of city life, staring at the jungle-clad sides of the country’s most famous site: Volcan Arenal.
After scouting for a place to stay, we eschewed a couple of expensive options (the Los Lagos Resort and Springs Resort – $150USD and $450USD, respectively. Ouch.), we chose instead to get back to our backpacker roots and found our way to the little mountain village of El Castillo to stay at a great little hippy hostel called Essence Arenal ($28USD or so). Perched on the top of a small mountain, this palce has great views, collaboratively cooked dinners, and a whole bunch of easy going people. We’ve decided we’ll chill here for a couple nights and try to get into an easy-going frame of mind, before moving on.
This country is immensely developed for tourism, with every available amenity—at least the parts we’ve seen in the last twenty-four hours, and despite our poor Spanish skills, traveling here seems like a breeze. Hotel after hotel, adventure tours galore, lots of other tourists. There are ample ways to spend your money and tons of things to do.
On that note, I will sign off for now. I think we’re going to go and check out some jungle canopy tours and local hot springs. MAybe get lunch int he local tourist town of La Fortuna, before retiring back here for the night.
Peace and Love,
Chris (+ Laura)
p.s. – all of these photos are by Laura, except a couple that are noted. And most of them were taken on the grounds of Essence Arenal.