May 2014 Backpacking Week Trip with Hannah and initiative reCOVER El Pantanal, Granada Nicaragua Month On-Site Design and Strategy Phase
Hola mes amigos!It has been a beyond amazing experience in Costs Rica so far! Hannah and I arrived this past Sunday afternoon in the capital of San Jose. We quickly made our way to the heart of the city to stay at our Hostel Pangea - a hostel truly tucked right into the city fabric. After moving into our "shoebox" room we made use of the one afternoon we had in San Jose and explored the city a bit. We made our way to a few bus stations (suprisingly with minimal difficulty despite our limited kmowledge of Spanish- simply knowing "l'autobus" got us pretty far) to buy tickets in preparation for our week ahead. We walked downtown to see the Sunday evening activity of San Jose and a few popular attractions including the National Theater, the Yellow Museum, and Central Park. However we were off to bed early-with delicious vegetable fajitas and the infamous Costa Rican cerveza (beer) Imperial in our stomachs- to rest up for our 5 am departure to Monte Verde.After catching a local bus and travelling 5 hours through the beautiful mountainous landscape of Costa Rica, we arrived in the town of Monte Verde for a couple days of exploration. Monte Verde is a somewhat newly developed town attracting travellers to the eco rich Monte Verde and Santa Elena cloud forests; from hiking and white water rafting to ziplining and horse back riding there is an abundance of adventures available.Hannah and I were beyond excited after a morning's worth of travel. We truly didn't think we would ever leave once moving into our lodge for two tucked into the amazing Monte Verde rainforest canopy. To start our time off there right, we made our way to the Monte Verde Cloud Forest for an afternoon hike. The Cloud Forest is world renowned with over 100 species of mammals, over 400 of birds, 120 of amphibians and reptiles, tens of thousands of insects, and over 3000 of plants. We hiked our way to Costa Rica's continental divide; saw an abundance of humming birds; and even spotted an ant eater while waiting for our ride back to the town center.After making a quick trip to the supermercado for some mini bananas and trail mix we set off on our next hike- a night hike- not one of the most common experiences. During our trek through a somewhat intimidating, ominous, dark rainforest, we saw a variety of creatures (even when we didn't want to). Our guide's only rule: "Please get my attention if you feel something wrap around your leg." From quitelty crawling past a tarantula to running in hopes of spotting a swinging kinkajou in the trees above us, we had quite the experience. We saw poisonous viper snakes, a scorpion, tarantula, the hercules beetle (the world's strongest cold blooded creature relative to its size), a tucan and humming bird, a kinkajou, an alingo, an armadillo, and a porcupine. Fun fact: All humming birds are either black, brown, and or white. All perceived color is a result of iradescent light.After three hours of running through the darkness (partially.out of fear) we made our way back to our cloud forest cabin.The next morning we were up and out early again eager for our next adventure ahead: ziplining! In celebration of Hannah's birthday we went on a 18 zipline tour through the Santa Elena Cloud Forest ending with the "Tarzan Swing"- a five meter free fall and pendulum swing by belay. Han and I felt right at home - a throwback to the days belaying and rock climbing at Pompositticut's Project Soar. That afternoon we were on the road again hesistantly saying goodbye to Monte Verde. By boat we made a pit stop in Arenal to see the Volcano Arenal and spent one night at Arenal Hostel Resort finishing the evening with the most delicious Costa Rican blackbean soup and tilapia for our birthday girl.And now I right you from Rocking J's hostel in Puerto Viejo, lounging my evening away in a hammock. Busing our way from, North west Costa Rica, we arrived in Puerto Viejo, a small coastal town along the South east coast in the region of Limon. The Carribean ocean, the beach, yoga, rasta vibes, and smiling faces - life is good. Cannot wait to spend the rest of my week in this little oasis. My hammock and evening summer rain are calling me. Adios my friends.Su Mochilero,Alliephotos to come!