Costa Rica is our first destination on our round the world trip and it turns out to be a good decision. Although we know some bits of Spanish we are relieved that most Ticos speak Englisch a little.
In San José we rent a 4x4 SUV and head to the Carribean Coast of Costa Rica. Tortuguero is a quite remote village and can only be reached either by boat or plane. We take a speedboat which turns out to be a fun ride along the mangroves. Tortuguero NP is famous for its wildlife; especially for the giant green turtles.
We book a tour to watch the turtles as they are coming out of the sea to lay their eggs into buried nests. Unfortunately, it is full moon and the bright light keeps many of the turtles from getting onto the beaches. But we are lucky and we see two or three turtles. The whole trip is quite strenuous - especially for the girls: we hike through the dark rainforest for about one and a half hour return at 100% humidity and approx. 30 Degrees Celsius. But nevertheless, it was well worth it and the sounds of the jungle are still with us.
Three days later we switch to the Pacific Coast which is the nicer coast, as we believe. Manuel Antonio NP is quite touristic but it's really a special moment when you see a sloth hanging up in the trees for the first time. The sloths don't seem to be bothered by the tourists much. 'Hang loose' at its best! The beach at Manuel Antonio is really nice and invites us for a quick swim - but watch out for the poisonous trees along the beach!
Our drive to Bahia Drake in the south of Costa Rica is very adventurous but also enjoyable. The last 30 kilometres are on gravel. The holes in the road are quite heavy, so take your time. There are also some rivers to cross - either on 'bridges' (2 panels placed in the distance of the wheels - OMG!) or you have to steer the car in and out of the water. Both options keep your heartbeat on a higher pace but on the bottom line it is also fun to do. I takes us two hours to get to Bahia Drake and in the end it was worth every single bump. Bahia Drake is like paradise!
We stay at Bahia Drake for two nights and enjoy 'the treasure of Sir Francis Drake'. Wildlife is amazing; parrots flying as we have never seen before. We could have stayed here for longer, but the journey continues.
Monte Verde is the cloudforest region of Costa Rica. Santa Elena is the main village at Monte Verde and packed with Backpackers. We enjoy the international atmosphere and do some hiking in the rainforest. The temperatures are nice - not as hot as the previous days.
Volcano Arenal is only a hundred kilometres away but it takes us four hours to reach our destination due to the bad roads. Arenal is a real beauty among the volcanoes. Its shape is very conical and symmetric. Unfortunately we are not lucky enough to see the volcano without clouds covering the top - but it is still nice to look at.
We spend our last five days a five minutes drive north of Tamarindo in a place called Brasilito, Playa Conchal. The beach is gorgeous, clear waters and plenty of shells for the girls to collect. Swinging in our own hammock we enjoy the sun of Costa Rica and get prepared for our next destination - Panama City.