It is a dream for many Canadians and Americas to go to the tropical, exotic and wild winter escape lands of Costa Rica. After years of dreaming the same dream, wondering what could lie behind that countries borders, we are finally here. However we are lucky that we are even here because at the border we were stopped for 4 hours, watching 2 other overlanders we had met pass us without an issue, due to our cars title category of ‘salvaged’. In the end, there was a shift change and the next guys didn’t even blink an eye stamping our stuff and sending us on our way.
Right across the border, thanks to our handy-dandy iOverlander app, we stopped at a farm call Finca Cañas Castilla for the night. With no expectations for this place, we were blown away. It is owned by a couple from Switzerland, and when we entered and I was asked questions in German then Spanish, I was a little confused and lost for words. Well, then Frederik comes out of nowhere, previously claiming to not ‘really’ be able to speak German, and has a full blown conversation with the guy as he gives us a tour. What!? In one day he went from speaking Danish on the phone to English with me to broken Spanish and then German. Really makes me look bad.
The farm was phenomenal. In 2.5 days we saw more wildlife than we had since the start of our trip over 2 months ago (and would for the remainder of our time in Costa Rica). They have 3 different trails which they have created that goes through their property and down by the river. We just missed seeing the crocodiles another hiker informed us, but we saw Jesus Christ lizards, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, parrots, toucans and many other bird and butterfly species.
At the farm we met up again with a French couple we had crossed paths with twice in Nicaragua (one of the times as they blew past us at the border with no problems!) who were also staying at the farm for a couple nights. It was so nice to finally be able to play card games that involved more than two people! We loved the farm and hanging out with Guillaume and Coline so after having lunch at the Mirador restaurant they recommended in the city we stayed a second night, conveying altogether the following day to Rio de Celeste.
On the way, the convoy stopped off for a quick swim in at a beautiful waterfall before arriving at our little jungle paradise.
Rio de Celeste was a quick and easy hike but absolutely gorgeous. The weather really made it feel like a rain forest and the bright blue waters contrasted greatly with the thick greenery. The story of how the river got its name, that we were told was during the creation of the world God painted everything to life and the last thing which he painted was the blue sky. Finally, when he was done he washed his brush in this particular river giving it the celestial blue colour. The river further upstream converges, starting with two clear rivers, which have two different types of particles, both reflecting light the same way as any other river. However, when these two rivers converge what happens is not a chemical reaction that turns the river blue, it is the two convergence of the two rivers particles causing our eyes to perceive the light refracting as this gorgeous turquoise colour. Truly a beautiful phenomenon.
As well along the walk, you can see the bubbles coming up from hot sulphur gases underneath the river caused by the volcano and a magnificent blue waterfall tumbling down into a turquoise pond.
We had wanted to hike Volcan Arenal so we headed in that general direction, saying goodbye to our friends, however the weather did not permit. Instead, we visited some free hot springs off the side of the road where locals went to bath and camped on a little secluded peninsula on the lake.
It was a great spot, no one and nothing around. Except for ants, lots of ants. Thanks to Erica, my friend who is currently teaching in El Salvador, we have gotten really interested in watching ants. They are still my least favourite insect but it is so impressive how much they can carry and the way their community works. Don’t worry we took lots of videos.
On our way to the capital of Costa Rica, we stopped by this garden of strange shapes while driving through beautiful mountain country regions. In San José, we hopelessly searched for solar panels, thinking this would be our best chance at buying some on the road, however, we came out empty handed. So after a great free walking tour of the city, we headed East!
Taylor was really excited for Christmas music to start (it was November 30th) and Frederik caught it on video.
Having only been on west coast side thus far throughout our trip we were excited at the opportunity to hop on over to the Caribbean. Well, turns out this is the worst time of the year to be on the Carribean coast for Costa Rica and Panama. Rain, off and on all day every day. The waters were too rough to snorkel so we found a free spot to sleep on the beach under some palms and starting our star wars marathon (watching all 7 before the new one comes out next week!).
The best thing that came out of visiting the Caribbean coast though you might wonder? Was seeing a sloth!!!! Yes, it might have been far away in a tree but we actually saw a sloth in Cahuita National Park. Due to the expensive nature of Costa Rice, with higher prices for food, rooming and national parks entrances we didn’t spend a lot of time here. Just another excuse for a future visit. We are now on our way to Panama, unfortunately no longer going to the beautiful Island of Bogo del Toro due to the weather but excited to see what else is in store!
Also of you are traveling through Costa Rica this is an amazing site we came across made by locals. It has their suggestions and thoughts on many national parks, different suggested routes based upon what you’d like for free to download as a map and they offer tourist services if you’re so inclined. Worth a click! https://costa-rica-guide.com/trips/itineraries/wooly-wet-wilderness/