Category Archives: Travel

Documentation of my travels

Day 9 – Jaco to Montezuma

We had arranged the night before to take a speed boat taxi from playa jaco to montezuma at 10 am and to be picked up by a taxi at 9:30am to take us to the drop-off point so woke up early, showered, packed, chris made a chicken terriyaki stir-fry mre for breakfast and we drank battery energy drinks. We left the rental car in Jaco – weren’t so sure a/b doing that but had mad faith.

094 [Desktop Resolution]We threw our packs in the taxi and popped in, two tatted girls were already in there sitting up near the front.  Chris and I situated ourselves in the back seat; had a crap night of sleep and bugs bothering us so were in somewhat of a grumpy mood; drove to the shore and taxi driver dropped us off at bus stop; we hung out there for a/b 20 minutes or so and got to know the girls from the taxi a little better; their names were candace and heather from los angeles, california and they ran a travel agency – were traveling for only a week – had just arrived in cr, jaco the night before; we exchanged some travel stories and made friends w/ each other then the boat taxi and driver arrived;

We all had to put our bags/belongings into big trash bags provided 104 [Desktop Resolution]gratis by the captain; carried our crap out to boat drifting off shore, climbed on, situated ourselves chris and I across from the girls in front of boat; chris and I ate sunflower seeds while traveling as usual; decided we’d stay at the same hostel as the girls as we had no lodging arrangements as of yet and that we’d hang out w/the girls while in montezuma; captain drove us past el chorro waterfall on beach a little outside of montezuma which was cool since we prob. weren’t going to go in search of it anyway;

got dropped off on shore of montezuma in crushed shell sand and warm water; ripped trash bags off of packs; ran after captain to tip him; after girls talked to the other tico who’d been on the boat to ask him about hotels in the area we made our way across the sand and various volcanic rocks and boulders to the main dirt road cutting through the small oceanic town headed towards the hostel Hotel Lucy; Hostel was just a short walk over a hilly road parallel to coast; looked at rooms and tried to get a breezier one upstairs but language barrier between chris and I and “Lucy” was insurpassable; ended up w/ a quaint room downstairs which came w/ a fan and bugs that crawled on your face in your sleep but was only $20 a night;

108 [Desktop Resolution]changed clothes then headed into town for lunch w/ the girls (had avocado salad, casados con pollo en salsa, and some of the best fruit drinks in the world – mine was blackberry, chris had guayaba fruit) food was fresh, plentiful, and cheap; chris and I then hit the beach w/ the girls and discovered a pathway to the swanky front beach Ylang-Ylang resort (Hotel Lucy was front beach too, but not that kind of front beach); the tide started to come in and walking was becoming hazardous on the beach littered with heavy driftwood and human refuse so we headed back into town; Chris and I hit up an internet cafe for the rest of the day; I picked up a six pack of Pilsen from a supermarket next door to pass the time and we also had paralyzers made by the friendly bar staff/waiters at the restaurant next door which was run in connection with the internet cafe, nothing like good booze and the ability to facebook stalk;

I attempted talking to a man I imagined to be an ex-patriate, turns out he was but not from the U.S., from Argentina; Kellie's toucanthe girls eventually found us as we finished up gulping the internet and the rest of our drinks; we headed to dinner at hotel restaurant that was featured in our Foddor’s guidebook (Coclones?) and had calamari, rounds of imperial and pilsen, ceviche, shrimp, and possibly the creamiest best fresh bread in the entire world, possibly. Unfortunately a special guest at our table, fernando the fly, drowned in the ceviche oil and was put to rest in an empty imperial bottle – a fitting way for a local to be buried I think.

after a leisurely dinner in the candle-lit and open-air establishment we all began, in a somewhat inebriated state of awe, to explore the little town. Not long after emerging from the restaurant we came across a barefoot firedancer rythmically swinging chained flames to a lively drum beat. we watched, mesmerized, by her seductive feat then headed back to the hotel to clean up for some after dinner activities. Live reggea music was being featured at a local bar/club called Choco’s so we decided to check it out. After changing, a large group of tourists from Hotel Lucy made the decents and ascents of the hilly main road together until we reached the bar. Policia were outside which caused us to hesitate entering, but I shrugged my shoulders and charged in purposefully to get a drink.

117 [Desktop Resolution]The music, loud and inviting, started up shortly after. Chris and I had our first drinks on a porch area attached to the bar. I headed in for another but got sidetracked by the impulse to dance to the rich percusive music and sticky warmth engulfing the crowded dance floor. Candace and Heather were dancing also so I joined them. Free liqeuor candies were given out by barstaff and, after he sauntered in, chris and I savored the creamy coffee treats as we swayed back and forth. after another beer and working up a good sweat chris and I ventured to the lawn outside the bar and listened to the pacific ocean waves break while attempting a bit of a rain dance, we needed to cool off pretty badly.



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Day 8 – Monteverde to the “Costco of Vice”

Our tour/ transportation left at 7:45 am. We woke up late and rushed to make it on time; Selvatura adventures park/ like 7 parks in one (butterflies, reptiles, insects, rainforest hike, zip tour, and some other crap); watched tarantula vids on the jostling bus ride there; arrived and were hungry so had desayuno at the park (I had pancakes, the “BEST Bacon EVER”, toast, coffee; I had fruit, toast, eggs, bacon, coffee; we both had delicious orange juice that tasted like fruity pebbles).

069 [Desktop Resolution]After eating, it was around 9:30 am and there wasn’t another zip line tour until 11 so we went on the hike – good walk, helped us digest breakfast; took some cool pics, tried to swing on our own on a tarzan vine but it swung out over a steep drop and we both almost fell off the side so said f that; saw some crazy caterpillars/centipedes – poisonous for sure; heard people screaming through the forest – thought they were on zip lines; we hurried to finish up our hike so we could make it in time for the zip line tour; Louwra was a little nervous, didn’t know what to expect, but still excited, I was raring to go; we went to the area near gift shop to get outfitted w/ gear (harnesses, gloves, dorky helmets,etc.);

068 [Desktop Resolution]After getting totally dorked out Lauren and I and the other group members (some foreigners and some pussy americans) as well as our awesome guides who must have thought the lines we were running were dull got on a bus and drove like 2 minutes up a road to the trailhead for the first line; They taught us how to do it first, then we went down the first line – Lauren instantly fell in love with the feeling of being weightless and guided high above the treetops; ran about 6 or 7 lines then did a tarzan swing which was just ropes and bungee cord and a 15 or so foot platform you literally drop off of.  We continued on another 2 or 3 zip lines after – The last line was the longest, highest, and best and we took it tandem.

Afterward, we waited for a bus back to hotel el bosque at 1pm; went back, packed our shit, loaded the car then proceeded to head out of monteverde towards jaco but I had to find internet and take care of some business so we stopped at a vegan restaurant w/ free wi-fi; ate HUGE veggie burgers. I had a milkshake, in a funky brightly colored restaurant, saw a parrot (only one the whole trip and only saw the back of it);

After lunch drove on the dirt roads to jaco; Jaco was like the myrtle beach of the CR pacific coast – overrun by tourists, 091 [Desktop Resolution]dirty, drug-infested; stayed at a shitty hotel – Cabinas las oquideas – no a/c, ants all over walls, had a fridge though; drank some, walked the streets a little – checked out a souvenir shop, skipped dinner, did some work, then slept so as to get through the night faster and get to montezuma faster the next day like little kids trying to sleep on christmas eve night. Jaco blows.  Avoid it.  It may have a consistent surf break but there are plenty of those in places that are more representative of Costa Rica.



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Day 7 – La fortuna to Monteverde

We woke up around 7:30 am, had breakfast (I had cereal, toast, coffee, juice, yogurt and Lauren had LOTS of fresh fruit, toast, and coffee; after breakfast we worked seperately – Lauren on her classwork/test, I on illstreet stuff; packed up our stuff and checked out of the hotel around 2:30pm; went into town, bank (money-currency exchange via atm pretty cool – all over cr).  We needed gas but it was our first time and we couldn’t understand anything the guy was saying in spanish.  We scooped some lunch at a cool mexican place called las brasitas – good reasonable portions of mexican food – I had a fruity sangria drink and She had beer – waiter thought it was funny.  We stopped at a supermarkado on the way out of la fortuna for beer (which you can buy individual cans of for so many colones a piece. Also you can buy liquour at the grocery store.  We got local rum, bought more cookies and other essentials. The drive was interesting and VERY bumpy; went from paved streets back to unpaved dirt and gravel/rock roads except unlike the carribean roads these were uphill and I mean UPHILL! lauren practiced manual for a little while on these roads; made it to monteverde and checked out a really nice hotel, didn’t stay there b/c ol’ Lauren couldn’t afford it so we stayed at Hotel Bosque instead and made arrangements for an early morning zip line canopy tour and rainforest hike (little cabin like room w/ high school kids all around us); drank rum and coke, made some collect calls, had a fiesta with a “toxic” tarantula, ate pizza for dinner at a restaurant within walking distance – good wine, great pizza; came back and went to sleep to be ready for next day.



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A slight delay in the posting of the rest of Costa Rica

So, I’m back in charleston and things have been crazy with my business.  I actually have set work hours and they just don’t seem to be enough.  Between getting the RX-7 ready for the shows, training a new employee, handing the shipments and trying to setup carbon manufacturing it’s been pretty crazy.  Hopefully, I’ll score some free time pretty soon and be able to write the rest.  … if I remember it :)

Day 6 – La Fortuna and Volcan Arenal

158 [Desktop Resolution]Though the alarm clock on Lauren’s watch was set for 7:30 am I woke up inexplicably early (maybe due to the excitement about the prospect of viewing a Volcano spew lava) about an hour before the alarm would start blaring. Well, not blaring, it’s just a littly itty bitty digital watch. I grabbed my computer and headed for the pool to soak up some of the free wireless internet provided by the hotel. As I caught up on work, Lauren slept in, that is if sleeping until 7:15 am qualifies as sleeping late.

She met me at the pool, an assigned Victorian english novel in hand, and we both were productive until Lauren’s need for coffee became more pronounced than her need for scholarship. Breakfast was a great pick-me-up for the both of us. Coffee, juice, and cold and hot water were laid out in ample supply on a table in the dining area of the, once more, open-air restaurant (typically restaurants and bars in Costa Rica are open-air given that the weather is awesome most of the time and doesn’t need to be altered with any man-made climate controls). We both had a steaming hot cup of cafe negro with sugar and ate a typical Costa Rican breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, a tortilla, some rubbery but appetizing local queso, and fruit.

106 [Desktop Resolution]After eating, Lauren waited anxiously for a german woman who was staying at the hotel to finish up with the public computer in the hotel’s reception office so that she could take an on-line test for her summer school class. As soon as the german finished up with the computadora Lauren was off and I headed back to the pool to continue working. About an hour or so later I came by the office to consult Lauren on our plans for the day. Would we take a tour to the volcano, drive through the rainforest on atv’s, or act like stereotypical tourists and take pictures of everything and anything while buying as many cheap souvenirs as possible? We both went for option A with an added bonus, a guided tour of the Volcano and surrounding rainforest along with a trip to the Baldi hot springs resort AND dinner all for $65 a person (badass, I know). The tour left from the hotel at 3:35 pm so of course we made arrangements to join in about an hour before.

142 [Desktop Resolution]Lauren discovered that her online test wasn’t due for another three days and I was so impressed with how much work I had gotten done that we concluded we should reserve our room for another night and enjoy our tour all the while knowing we would be working again the next morning. No problem, you’ll find that with enough Costa Rican coffee working it’s way through your system you can do just about anything. Lauren and I hurried to get ready for the tour, decking ourselves out in hiking gear galore (light weight hiking shants i.e. pants that convert to shorts, sweat wicking shirts, bug spray, camera’s, etc.) Upon discovering that we were hungry at about 3 pm we tried to make an MRE rendition of pad thai as fast as possible on our quaint little porch and then gobbled it with no extra time to spare.

130 [Desktop Resolution]We walked up to the office, where we were supposed to be waiting for the tour bus about ten minutes prior, but luckily it was just pulling in as we arrived. We both thought ourselves lucky to have “timed it just right” until one of the guides for the tour popped out of the bus and asked us to change our shoes (we both were wearing Chaco’s made for hiking but apparently not sufficient for the treacherous trails surrounding Vulcan Arenal). Dammit, we thought, of course we couldn’t be on time for any one thing. Hiking shoes and breathable socks on foot, we climbed aboard the tour bus/van filled to capacity with other curious tourists, and drove for about twenty minutes to the trailhead as Jorge the tour guide with Canoa Adventures discussed the logistics of the tour with everyone in both english and spanish translations.

The tour bus/van stopped and parked at the opening to the trail which doubled as a observation point for the volcano. All of us tourists bustled out and started snapping pictures of the scene as fast as our fascinated and eager little fingers could. We then split off into two english-speaking and one spanish-speaking groups. Lauren and I aligned ourselves in the guide Bernado’s group alongside three other members and commenced on our informative yet somewhat slow tour of the secondary rain forest. Within maybe 20 or so paces we were introduced to a plant which, upon any type of touch, closes in on itself to ward off predators.



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165 [Desktop Resolution]We continued on, hiking over muddy and rocky hills, learning about indigenous flora and fauna such as The crested one (an indigenous bird related to the turkey) and Heliconia (a bright red and serpantine like flower). Although our goal was of catching a glimpse of spider and howler monkeys along with Tucans and other such novel birds was futile, we did get to swing on a hella cool tarzan vine. The rain forest tour ended a little before we would have preferred it to but cold bottles of water and the promise of viewing hot lava sliding down the side of the Arenal volcano were enough to quelch any of our desires to push the rain forest tour any further.

Once all of the groups had concluded their tour we once again piled into the tour bus and drove for about 15 minutes to the Volcano observation point or what was better known as a bridge leading to the observation point. Lauren and I situated ourselves near the bridge which provided a pass for vehicles over a river that rushed over a small and 188 [Desktop Resolution]crumbling dam. I manipulated my tri-pod with camera attached to a position which was adequate for taking pictures of the volcano and, hopefully, flowing red hot lava. A communion of maybe thirty to forty people crowded around the river and bridge all harboring the same hopes as Lauren and I and making excited, half-drunk, and loud outcries at any sighting of molten rock and earth. The Volcano ralphed maybe four or five times in a period of 30 minutes to the appreciation of all of it’s viewers, the act of which might have been reminiscent of ancient villagers praising fire gods sitting atop the giant outgrowth. Lauren and I, as expected, were the last to realize that our tour group was leaving, requiring the tour guides to come and find us personally amidst the crowd. From the observation “deck” we traveled to the Baldi hot springs resort where we ate a pre-paid dinner of sufficient if not absolutely scrumptuous platos tipicos served as a buffet. The best part of the meal had to have been the almost sickly sweet fruit juice and cake soaked in sweet milk. After filling up, Lauren and I headed to the changing rooms, rented a locker to store our belongings in safely, and were off to explore the various naturally hot water pools that made up the resort. Our first stop was at a larger pool of a comfortably warm bath-water like temperature that had a wetbar built into the middle of it. We both ordered “last calls” which were the strongest of the ludicrously priced mixed drinks ($10 each regardless of how much liquor and/or junk was in them) and drank them as we chatted up two surfer girls from the states who were just embarking on their two-week journey through Costa Rica. Given that our first drinks were a little mild we buttered  up the bar tender, kind of, into making us stronger drinks for the same price. He readily obliged, handed us two drinks which were markedly more clear (coca cola was in the drinks, with the first being much darker than the second), then  accepted our payment and tip.

026The second pool we visited was MUCH warmer than the first given that it was 150 degrees (it was scalding to be more exact). Lauren and I decided to vacate the nearly boiling water, coming to the realization that extreme temperatures and alcohol consumption don’t mix so well. We wandered to the third, and final, pool of luke warm water, waterfalls, and ,wah-bam, water slides. There were two options for slides to choose from, one enclosed slide which was “crazy but a lot of fun” according to one pool patron and another slide which resembled a jungle gym slide experiencing a roid rage (steep, fast, and confusedly switching between ups and downs). The first slide we went down was the tube which allowed for any body of matter traveling down it to reach a speed of around 45 kilometers per h011our. I went down first with Lauren following me, both of us sustaining some minor injury (mine being a good knock to the groin and her’s being a  good knock to the noggin – we both went airborne inside the tube). I went down the same slide a second time hoping Lauren would be able to capture a video but she sucks at working the camera.

She went down the other slide twice and I got a vid of it.  Lauren made a nice little comment in the youtube video so definitely check it.  We hung out under some steaming hot waterfalls and then got dressed and went back to hotel.  We were both pretty worn out so we went to sleep early after showering.



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Day 5 – Return to Moin only to head to La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano)

RIDING AROUND IN A BOATThough we only slept a few hours we awoke well-rested and anxious to get back to our car and, more so, to the Arenal Volcano. We both showered and packed our bags, then went down to the hotel restaurant for some breakfast. It was around 9:45 or so when we sat down at a table so we knew we’d probably be late for our boat (by this time we had started to figure out that we generally work on tico time and do everything about 30 minutes late). Para desayuno we had fresh fruit, like pineapple and watermelon, eggs, black beans and rice, huevos or blugh eggs, dry bread, coffee, and fresh guava juice. It was still early but the heat was already beating down on the little village. We could feel it being blown in byocean breezes as we scarfed down our food (well at least I did, Lauren eats like she’s savoring each morsel of a last meal on deathrow – very slowly). Eddie, our canal guide from the day before, arrived as our food did so he just chuckled a little and said “I’s ok, take your time, enjoy breakfast.” He said he’d meet us by the river where he had dropped us off the previous day then left just as quickly as he’d come in. I guess he thought it was funny that we were always eating breakfast late when he was trying to transport us. No worries, he didn’t seem to mind. I finished up before Lauren and, as we were already running late, headed to the river to meet eddie and grab a humongous bottle of water from one of the village mercado’s.

There was another passenger on the boat taxi that day, a woman from South Africa I think, but a snob nonetheless. Lil' tico hijosShe chastised me for running late and demanded that we leave even though I told her there was another person coming. She also belittled me about my luggage, asking in a demeaning tone after eyeing my pack up and down “And how long are YOU here for?” I told her three weeks instead of two so she’d tone down her super traveler status and back off or else it was going to be a long canal ride. Lauren arrived and it was time to hit the water so we loaded our packs onto the boat (a covered one for this trip so as not to burn the pale white folk too much), settled into our seats and left the shore, headed back towards Moin. The boat ride was enjoyable, however somewhat uneventful with a crocodile sighting here and a photo opp of some local kids in a fishing boat there.

The South African kept her mouth shut for the most part and I was admittedly grateful for that. We traveled the canal, taking familiar curves at excitingly high speeds, the warm air rushed past our faces until the boat started to slow at the dock of the Hotel Mar Azul. Eddie steered the boat alongside the wooden dock and lifted our bags up onto it with the help of a local friend. Lauren and I climbed off quickly, hoisted our overpacked luggage onto our backs, then tipped Eddie graciously and took two business cards from him that he said Francesca wanted us to have.

The plan was to load everything into the rental car and make our way to La Fortuna but that was abruptly put asunder when I was unable to locate the keys to the car. I started fervently unpacking, becoming more anxious with every empty compartment of my pack that didn’t render the keys all the while thinking how expensive it would be to replace them (nearly $400). Lauren helped me search and began unpacking her bag as well while two Ticas approached us telling us in Spanish that the sol was much too hot for us and advising us to move into the shade of the roof covering the reception office to search for the llaves. As fate would have it, however, I found the keys hidden away in an unused pocket of my pack. Both Lauren and I were washed with a wave of relief and all four of us, the two women included, let out a garbled but triumphant cry of “Ayeeee!”

Moo cow milk farmThe plan to travel to La Fortuna was thereby back in effect and after a short study of the guide book and map in the hotel restaurant we placed our packs and ourselves into the car and left. The trip took somewhere around 3 1/2 to 4 hours and was indicative of the diversity that characterizes Costa Rica. After spending four days on the Carribean coast it was a bit of a surprise to find that there ARE many paved roads and highways throughout the country, but mostly in the central and northern plains, and establishments such as Burger King and Church’s Chicken (the latter being where we ate lunch during this trip) in existence here, not just curb side soda’s. An added note: Costa Rican’s don’t load their poultry up with hormones and super-fattening foods so don’t expect to get mounds of chicken in any of your poultry dishes if you visit (I personally appreciate the lack of chemical enhancement when it comes to the foods that I ingest).

Upon arriving in La Fortuna at around 6 pm Lauren and I took notice of the obvious influence of tourism upon the town sitting right underneath the loom of the Arenal Volcano, the streets were paved, there were various supermarkets and gas stations in town, and even the population of stray dogs roaming the streets was significantly less. We couldn’t help but feel that some of the Costa Rican culture and lure was lost here. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last time we felt that way. Our determination to explore the area and our lust for adventure was undeterred, however, and our first expedition was that of finding a suitable place to stay for the night. We consulted the guide book, by this point a much appreciated investment, and decided on the Hotel La Pradera. For $50 a night we enjoyed air conditioning, clean beds and bedding, a spacious room and bathroom, wi-fi, and filling breakfasts for each of the two days that we stayed there. After checking in we showered, changed clothes, and went out in search of dinner. We stopped at the first decent place we found that was open for business at 10 pm (it took us a while to check-in, unpack, shower, etc. if you’re wondering how we wasted four hours).

We ate at an open-air seafood restaurant where the food was good (I had a perfectly sized portion of chicken fajitas and Lauren had a rich plate of Fettucini Carbonara) but overpriced, the service was very attentive, and the drinks were fairly cheap. The staff at both the hotel and restaurant spoke very clear English which was helpful to Lauren and I but also somewhat of a hindrance given that we weren’t forced to practice speaking spanish (perhaps that comes with the heavy tourist influence as well). Sleep came swiftly after dinner (no we didn’t pass out behind the wheel) as we had an early morning of work to attend to.

Day 4.5 – Lookin for Turtugas and partying at the disco in Tortuguero

After a few hours of resting and relaxing (i.e. drinking on the black sand beach) it was dinner time. In order to save some moolah Lauren and I opted to rustle up a fresh dish of M.R.E. style spaghetti and sauce. I set up the stove err fuel can and tiny portable burner on the porch outside of the room. Lauren brought her ipod outside and put on Rogdrigo y Gabriela as loud as was tolerable and in the outskirts of Costa Rica that means as loud as mechanically possible. No matter, the downstairs tico neighbors were grilling out and greatly appreciated the acoustic tunes.  While we ate, we greeted a couple passing by on the porch with a warm “hola!” They made a nervous gesture which might have meant hello and kept walking.

We piled on servings of spaghetti to each of our mess kit plates and then ate contentedly with chopsticks, screw forks. The couple who had passed by earlier returned and we again greeted them, but this time with a “hey, what’s up?” The two, named Ronnie and Ashley, took much better to this and we struck up a conversation. It turns out they were from Colorado and commencing a two week journey through Costa Rica. We offered up our high opinions of both the Carribean coast and Cuba Libre and then discussed the prospect of hunting for sea turtles, with Lauren and I planning on taking a guided tour at 9:40 pm (that’s 11:40 pm for you South Carolinians back at home) and Ronnie and Ashley toying with the idea of a solo mission for tortugas on the playa. We got along well and were thankful to have found some friends in the remote region of CR. Ashley announced that the two of them were going for a night swim and asked if we’d like to join so Lauren and I said we’d tag along. We only had about 20 or so minutes before we were supposed to meet up with our guide, Alfonso, but we figured we’d just ditch the tour (since we hadn’t paid for it yet) and go to the beach on our own instead.

Yeah, skipping out on a tour in Torteguero isn’t as easy as you’d think. As we were changing into our bathing suits in our room we heard a knock on the door. Lauren answered it readily expecting Ronnie and Ashley to be on the other side and was stunned to find the guide in their place. “Time to go. Are you ready?” he said in a deep thick carribean accent. Lauren kind of stammered and tried to close the door in his face, then looked to me for reassurance and to make the final decision on whether we were to  ditch the tour or commit to it. We both came to the conclusion that since Alfonso was already there to scoop us up, and since he explained that he’d had to pay for a permit to go on the beach late at night, we’d go. However, I did work out a deal with him that if we could convince our two new pals to come along last minute then they’d only have to pay a discounted fee of $20 or so. They caved and came with the group which was fortunate for Lauren and I because they brought a flask of rum with them too.

We met up with our group on the stairs leading to our room. There were four dudes and four chicks, two of each were cool (that being Ronnie and I, Ashley and Lauren) the other people were too serious and generally sucked (but one of the girls busted her ass on a  shadowy and treacherous log of driftwood so it was all good). The search started up as we all tumbled out onto the beach and circled up around big papa alfonso for instructions, like no smoking, drinking, loud noises, cameras, flashlights, the normal stuff when hanging out with bitchy breeding sea turtles. We started walking down the left side of the pitch black shore and continued on for about 15 or so minutes then caught our first, and only, glimpse of a mama tortuga trying to make her way out of the breakers. She must have known a bunch of tourists were out to snap a pic of her because she flapped up her flippy-flaps, said “F that noise!” in her mind and bounced out back into the sea.

Given we hadn’t been walking all that long we trudged on for about 2 miles, stopping every once in a while for Alfonso to either talk to other guides leading groups around or scan the beach with his little red light (which is the only type of light allowed on beaches where turtles nest). Lauren and I took shots from Ronnie and Ashley’s flask during some of these stops until we emptied that ish : ( but even though the rum was gone the tour kept on. Eventually we came to a stopping point and Alfonso reluctantly gave up the ghost whilst some of the group members began to bitch and moan about how long it was taking. I tried to use my camera and was reprimanded for emitting entirely too much light. It started to rain so Lauren and I took our shirts off (remember, we had on bathing suits pervs) and began shoving important crap like cameras and wallets into a dry bag I had. I offered it to other group members and Ronnie threw his camera in, too.

Alfonso had asked at the beginning of the walk that all the miembres de grupo walk in line but, seeing as how Lauren and I can’t do much we’re told, the two of us walked happily zig zagging in and out of the ocean as the raindrops splashed on our bare skin, very freaking tropical yo. As we neared our hotel Ronnie and Ashley made a break for it but Alfonso was too quick for them and chased after them for his well-deserved payment (he searched longer than any of the other guides seemed to). Lauren and I, along with the rest of the group, kept on looking for about another quarter mile on the right side of the beach but no turtles, those elusive bastards.



YouTube Disco in Tortuguero

Our spirits were down because of our failed search so we thought that we’d lift them with some drinks at a local disco we found chilling on the river. We went back to the hotel to change into our evening wear (clean shorts and shirts with some sandals yeauhhh) and scooped up our American amigos then headed “downtown” via muddy pathways or streets if you like. The disco was bumping with loud latin music and inebriated gyrating ticos and ticas. Lauren commanded her way up to the bar and ordered a couple of beers for me and her to sip on and after our buddies got some beverages all four of us made our way to a table facing the river and sat down to enjoy the atmosphere. At the proposition of dancing I chugged my beer and headed to the bar for another. I got distracted from the bailar con Laura by a local guy and some of his visiting friends from Spain.

The local guy had a lot to offer about the area and the best places to go.  He told me how much he loved his new work since he emigrated from Nicaragua to Tortuguero and how rewarding being a guide was.  His friend, the Spaniard had been traveling for months and was preparing to finish his trip in San Jose.  He gave me some tips on my spanish and I tips on his english.  I even threw in a little duetsch for part of the convo,  just for s & g. We traded travel stories while the salsa music and sea of voices crashed in the background.  While I was meeting new and awesome people Lauren and Ashley were getting hit on by some sloppy drunk tico… no bueno. They got a free drink out of it, though, then it was time to head back.

Can you see lauren's head?I stopped at a Soda and picked up some Pollo Rey for drunk munchies. Basically it was two pieces of the most tasty fried chicken I’ve had in my life tossed in a bag with spicy onions and two tortillas (for the equivalent of $1).  Lauren and I shared a bag, as did Ashley and Ronnie, while lounging in hammocks slung under palm trees on the lawn of the hotel facing the beach. We also passed around a llager bottle filled with rum that Ronnie had gotten to-go from the disco (try that in the states). At about 4 am Lauren and I, in good faith, struck out once more for the beach and the turtles to be seen there. The weather was stormy so the sea churned and was pocked with white caps as we bumbled along next to it. At one point Lauren couldn’t restrain herself any longer and lunged into the ocean fully clothed to enjoy the milky warm water. She reemerged and we continued our trek.



YouTube Tropical Wetness

The “tropical wetness” started up again and we got caught in a downpour with only palm trees to huddle under for shelter. Two videos and no turtles later we turned back and headed to bed. We did see a couple empty nests though, and Lauren spotted one that was still covered up with sand. Sleep came at around 7 am with the boat taxi on the canal back to Moin coming only three hours later.