Central American Country Numero Seis

Well, we’ve made it to our final destination country for this leg of our journey; Mike and I will be spending the next 2 weeks in Costa Rica before heading back to the States to visit family and friends and attend my sister’s wedding (so excited!).

On Tuesday morning we left the island of Ometepe and its thigh-trashing volcanoes behind (Can you believe we’re still in pain 3 days later? Pathetic.). We caught an early ferry to the mainland on the western edge of the lake and began our 40 km ride south to the border. It proved an easy crossing as usual, and we continued another 20 km to our first stop in Costa Rica: La Cruz.

La Cruz provided an excellent view of the Pacific in the distance, but it turned out to be an interesting stop for a couple of other reasons, as well. First of all, there was some kind of event at the parque central featuring dances and costumes. We saw tons of cute little kids dressed up in fancy dresses and suits. The girls all had buns and flowers in their hair and the boys wore decorated straw hats. One group we saw perform consisted of kids around 6 years old, and we also saw some older teenagers in costume, though we missed their dance. I’ll try to add some photos later, but it was already quite dark outside and I don’t think they turned out real well. After we returned from our stroll around the park and dinner we met a German couple staying at our hotel. They, too, are on a bike trip, but theirs has taken them around the world. They’ve been traveling since March 2006 and have put 39,000 kilometers on their bikes. Even crazier still, the man is 68 years old and puts me to shame! Just to name a few countries, they’ve been through Turkey, Iran, India, Vietnam, Australia, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Panama, and loads more. Now that’s a good way to spend retirement!

Today we battled some strong crosswinds to make it to a pretty large city called Liberia. One thing that we’ve noticed is that Costa Rica is a lot cleaner than its Central American neighbors — almost sterile in comparison. We haven’t seen much trash or many dead animals on the road; all of the buses have been greyhound-style rather than hand-me-down school buses; and most people we’ve seen have been driving 4-door sedans instead of pedalling bikes, driving carts pulled by donkeys, riding horses, walking, or piling into full-to-bursting pickup trucks. The police seem to be on virtually every street corner as well. With its more American atmosphere, Costa Rica comes with U.S. prices once more too (bummer!). Perhaps it will be good in helping us transition back to the States for a bit though — maybe we won’t go into complete culture shock when we arrive back home in two weeks.

Costa Rica has certainly been beautiful so far, and we’re looking forward to a range of activities in the upcoming days. We’ll head to the beaches in the northwest first, then bike east toward the volcanoes and hot springs north of San Jose. We’ve already seen some monkeys chillin’ in the trees by the highway, and Mike caught sight of an awesome bird, so we’re hoping to see some neat wildlife as well.

For now, I’ll give you a taste of our hike up Volcan Maderas and a few other photos from the island. Oh, and don’t miss the new poll to the left!

Crazy cloud forest trees!

The monkeys are watching our progress.

Here are some more crazy vines and trees. Can you picture us swinging through these all day?

Mike’s favorite plant. Remind you of anything?

Our summit shot. It’s not the best photo of the two of us, but you can kind of see the crater lake behind us.

Here’s a better shot of just the lake. We were told that it only has about 2 meters of water in it, but that the mud on the bottom goes much, much deeper.

Here’s a view of Lake Nicaragua and Isla Ometepe below from one of the few breaks in the dense jungle vegetation.

Concepcion, the other volcano on Ometepe. This one’s active and emits toxic gases, so we didn’t climb it (as if that’s the only reason…).

A view of Concepcion from the west.

Say, “Bacon!” Actually, we ate at a restaurant in Moyogalpa that claimed to have the only bacon available on the island. With as many pigs as there are running around, you’d think the islanders would have lots of crispy bacon for breakfast.

“Don’t mind me.” This is what we had to contend with on the roads of Ometepe: lots of dirt, rocks, cows, and cow patties.

2 Responses to “Central American Country Numero Seis”
  1. Kristen says:

    Hey sis and Mike – can’t wait to see you in 2ish weeks! That piggy is cute – I can’t believe it makes you think of bacon. It reminded me of Babe and “lala, la, lala.” So, this so called cloud forest, did you name it this or is that what it is actually called? It seems very interesting and unique. Do the other volcanos have similar environments toward the top? Anywho – watch out for those cows, it looks like they could plow you over! And, hope you have fun in Costa Rica the next few weeks! I’m getting sooo excited! Our week will be fun! Love you! sis

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