A Travellerspoint blog

end of central america and beginning of colombia!

Monday 30th December
Today i travelled from monteverde to Manuel Antonio, in time for new years! this involved waking up at some godforsaken hour and taking a bus to san jose then another to manuel antonio. When i got to san jose the buses were sold out until the 2pm one so i had 2 and a half hours to kill. spent the whole time on facebook. Then after another 5 hour bus i arrived! luckily had met a lovely couple, geno and tara on the bus and so went with them to National Park Backpackers Manuel Antonio.. as the name suggests, it was right next to the national park and right next to the beach! had a pretty chilled night.

Tuesday 31st December
spent the day on the beach and got VERY burnt on a small section of my stomach... was not comfortable!! then went to quepos, the nearest major town, with geno and tara to get tara a memory stick and me some alcohol! needless to say, what i got was not enough haha and then got dressed up for new years!! put on a dress and makeup and everything! at the hostel there were quite a few people from monteverde so by the time serious drinking happened there was geno, tara, me, 3 french people, a german girl working at the restaurant and 2 americans. We played music and drinking games and then headed to the beach and saw fire twirling and dancing and fireworks. it was a really great new years, not too crowded and i was with friends :)

Wednesday 1st January
Had planned to head to the carribean side today by taking the 6am bus. HA. woke up, put on my shorts and fell asleep again. literally spent the whole day in bed with the worst hangover. i didnt drink enough water because i didnt have any bottled, and you cant drink tap. NEVER again. i think i really knocked on heavens door..

Thursday 2nd January
Made it to puerto viejo on the carribean side! checked into Rocking Js and only hammocks were left.. turns out they are okay to sleep in after a beer or 2! met up with david and daniel from nicaragua and had dinner. David wanted pizza but the place was closed, and daniel wanted chocolate cake for desert, but by the time we got there, that place was closed! went to bed pretty knackered from another long day travelling.

Friday 3rd January
Today we rented bikes and went to the 2 neighbouring beaches that were really lovely! the first one we played frisbee and swam in, and the second was a bit dangerous so we just sat on the sand and contemplated life. Since it was largely by the coast and flat, i really enjoyed the bike ride. I love jungle backed beaches!!! that night we got pizza and chocolate cake!

Saturday 4th January
Having spent about a week in Costa Rica i decided it was WAYY to expensive for me and that joining david and daniel for a couple of days in panama was a good idea. So a bus, border crossing, bus and boat later, we arrived at Bocas del Toro. we searched a bit for a hostel and then landed on this lovely one called Mondo Taitu, that is apparently quite famous in town for illicit substances. we settled in and then spotted martina and ellen (from nicaragua) across the street. after a short conversation we decided that that night we would head to their hostel for their infamous saturday night party. pretty much chilled out til then. and then again, got drunk, danced and had a fantastic time. between 9.30 and 10.30 it was ladies hour and drinks were free, so i kept on getting drinks, sculling and topping up david and daniels cups. we stood outside dancing in the rain until the main party began. It was great! the hostel it was at was pretty cool too (aqua lounge). it had 2 pools cut into the deck and swings that went into the pool! i think it also had a trampoline but that was closed.

Sunday 5th January
Had planned to go to nearby beaches and snorkel and see dolphins today, but the weather was awful. Luckily because i made the mistake of again not drinking enough water.. AHHHH why is the tap water SO bad!!! so i spent another day seeing the light. Went out for dinner with david, ,daniel, ellena and martina and had a very tired pizza and then crashed.

Monday 6th January
Woke up early again to get the boat bus bus to san jose, was pretty easy and arrived in san jose. Stayed in the same hostel as the last time i was there and nothing particularly interesting happened.

Tuesday 7th January
Tried to go clothes shopping today but it was a major fail. i asked at the hostel were a good mall was but the one i ended up at, 80% of the shops were for rent and majority of others were phone or other electronic shops. Went to the main street and had a look but it was all a bit expensive, australian prices!
Caught the hostel shuttle to the airport where i spent about 3 hours waiting for my flight to colombia. When i arrived i collected my bags and for the first 10 minutes, couldnt find daniela.. and then i saw her and gave her the biggest hug ever! it was SO AMAZING to see her again. Got to her house in bogota and crashed.

Posted by alexD 16:05 Comments (0)

The end of Nicaragua and the beginning of Costa Rica!

sunny 28 °C

FUNDAY SUNDAY WAS AMAZING!!!
We took a bus around to the nicest resort in san juan del sur, started drinking, went to another hostel called naked tiger, saw the sunset, kept drinking and went to another hostel Pachamama to finish up and keep drinking. it was so much fun i have no words... met so many awesome people ;)

Monday 23.12.13
This day was largely spent moving all our stuff to a cheaper hostel along with about 15 other people. Since it was christmas and newyears the prices at most hostels were doubling and no one could afford it. Sara, a girl we met at Casa de Oro (the first hostel) had spent a day searching and found one for 7 dollars! When we arrived to Surfing Donkey it was quite funny, a bit like a school camp. There were 2 dorms with about 16 beds in each all wooden and looked pretty much never slept in. There were cobwebs in all the rafters. there was also a tiny kitchen, pretty gross pool and a dubious 2nd story patio. I loved it. then we all took a shuttle to Hermosa beach and spent the day reading, swimming, playing soccer and watching the sunset. It was a lovely chilled day.

Tuesday 24.12.13
So this is the day most people in other countries celebrate christmas so Sara and Karen decided they would cook a big family dinner at the hostel and another girl Monique and I decided we would decorate! Sara and Karen went with the owner of the hostel to the local market and Monique and I went with 2 guys to Rivas to pick up decorations. The 4 of us hopped in Joes car (a canadian guy who had driven all the way down in a destroyed VW that didnt have a speedomoter and the alternator was held together with a coat hanger) and drove to Rivas. We got stopped by the police on the way and my heart stopped. They wanted to see Joes documents but he had left them in the hostel after his other backpack got stolen from his car. Luckily Marcus (the other guy) knew a bit of spanish and they let us through. Honestly though, i think it is because we didnt know enough spanish that they let us though because they could be bothered haha

We made it to Rivas and found a Piñata, stuff to hang up and balloons and the guys found SO MANY fireworks. It was such a fun, spontaneous, strange thing to do. Only when travelling. We got back home and started blowing up the balloons and the guys set off some fireworks. And then at about 6.30 it was dinner time! we had mashed potato, steak, salad, and salsa. as well as free drinks that was included with our donation to the dinner. After dinner we did the piñata and it was honestly so funny, i laughed the entire time. everyone who attempted it was drunk, nearly fell over and nearly fell into the pool. Again, words cant describe.

Went out again and kind of joined the pub crawl, but one girl knocked stuff over and we got kicked out of the 2nd bar, I had a great time for the most part but overall i think most people had what i would definitely describe as an interesting night, and not necessarily good

Wednesday 25.12.13
Id love to say this day was spent relaxing and getting over a hangover, but i love the the truth even more. I woke up feeling SHIT and got breakfast with David and Daniel but could only manage iced coffee. Got back to the hostel and people were like DRINK to feel better! so i did. So christmas day was spent on the beach drinking away our hangover! i did manage (a desperately needed) 2 hour nap but one guy fell asleep on the beach and people covered him in sand, put a rum bottle in his hand and took photos. When he woke up he was still so drunk he really didnt care, but it was very funny! we all went out for dinner which was unaminously pretty terrible and then tried to go out. I made it til about 11 and then thought i was halluncinating i was so tired. Martina and Ellen kept on partying though and i heard them come in at 5am, troopers!

Thursday 26.12.13
This was the day it was time to leave. Id had enough and another girl whod had a shitty christmas eve wanted to leave. Luckily Joe with the car wanted to go to costa rica too so he drove us down to the border. I have to say i shed a tear for leaving Nicaragua and all the amazing people i had met :( it was very hard saying goodbye, but i couldnt stay any longer either. Its strange how much of a connection i felt i had to people id known for a week..!

So we got to the border and joe didnt want to take the car over because he had to register it and it had to make it out of Costa Rica, which he seriously doubted it would. So after we got our departure stamps he disabled it in the car park. We were all leaving something of ourselves in Nicaragua (ew this sounds so lame). Joe was super paranoid that someone saw so we legged it to the costa rican side and made it though. 6 hours later on a bus and we made it to San Jose, checked into our hostel, had maccas for dinner and i fell asleep at about 9pm

Friday 27.12.13
I had always wanted to go to nothern costa rica to do activities so i headed back up. Caught a bus at 6.30 and arrived around 11.30. Luckily i met some newzealand-costa rican people who had booked a hostel for 4 people, but one had pulled out, so i went with them and got a bed super easy! was planning on just relaxing but i really needed a distraction from homesickness and generally not feeling great so i signed up for a canopy/ziplining tour! There were 14 lines, the longest normal one being 600 m, a tarzan swing, rappel and then a superman zipline where you are attached on your back and feet and literally fly like superman for 1 km. It was NUTS!!!! That evening i cooked for myself and had carrots and brocolli!!! such a relief to have vegetables!

Saturday 28.12.13
Again, woke up today feeling pretty sad so i distracted myself by going canyoning! we abseiled down through 7 waterfalls, the tallest of which was 40 metres! i have photos but i cant upload them quite yet.. i think ive found my new passion!! i really loved it. I was with 2 other US girls and so we decided that we would get lunch and then go horse riding. We waited a good 40 minutes for lunch and nearly missed the shuttle but it was a delicous burrito. Got to the horse riding ranch and pretty much walked for an hour and half and i was so bored. The views we beautiful but walking is painful! we stopped for sunset which again, was stunning, and then hopped back on the horse. and then we pretty much didnt stop cantering and galloping for half an hour. IT WAS CRAZY!! i feel like i keep using the words fun and love, but they really accurately describe my life at the moment!! So i had a fantastic day today. Tomorrow im hoping to go canyoning again in a different park and then on the 30th off to Manuel Antonio. Ive met some people who are going there and are staying in the same backpackers as me, so i wont be alone for new years, yay!!!

Posted by alexD 16:21 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

so many days and people and adventures!

overcast 25 °C

Saturday 13.12.12
Had my second last spanish lesson and i really didnt think my brain could take any more information. Its so long ago and i dont think anything special happened on this day. Probably just walked around the town with the other gringo, michelle.

Sunday 14.12.13
Last Spanish lesson!!! had to say i was quite relieved! Michelle left that day so it was just me and the house mum Marie Elena again. That evening she was going to church i assumed and so i asked if i could come along. Turned out that it was a family gathering where they celebrate the virgin mary and give out presents to everyone. So i was in someones living room listening to nicaraguan religious music and recieving presents and having generally no idea what was going on! It was awesome.

Monday 15.12.13
I left Granada today to go to Isla de Ometepe. Its a bit of a trek.. granada to rivas, taxi to san jorge, boat to ometepe and then bus to wherever you want to go. On the boat i met some dutch and american people and so hung out with them. I knew i wanted to get to santa cruz because thats where the party hostel was but the other people wanted to go to Merida. We happened to need the same bus so that worked out! and then on that bus there was like 10 other gringos that were also going to santa cruz! when i got off the bus i kind of just introduced myself and stuck to them. They didnt want to go to the party hostel and i am SO GLAD i chose to go with them as well!!! we ended up at this farm called Zopilote which was amazing.

Until saturday (21.12.13) I was there with some really amazing people.. this is what we did in the week.
Managed to co ordinate 10 bikes and cycle to Ojo de Agua which was like a natural swimming pool, then all find a place for lunch that we were happy with. Party at the party hostel for the full moon, get far to drunk and generally have an incredible time. A couple of us hitch-hiked to san ramon (we got very lucky with lifts with lovely people!) and then hiked to a waterfall that was stunning and had a rainbow up against the stone with the water and the sun. Cycled and explored another empty finca. Read quite a lot and ate and drank organically grown food from the farm. This week was crazy and i met some genuinely lovely, fun and friendly people. Words cant really describe how much fun i had and what these people bought to my week... i think its sufficient to say i was planning to only stay on the island until wednesday and ended up staying until saturday.

Saturday 21.12.13
This day i decided had to be my last as i had to be in costa rica for christmas! So i said my very sad goodbyes and left with another girl, martina. We both were headed to San Juan for Funday Sunday so that was really lucky!!! we managed to start travelling at 1 and arrive by 6, find space in a hostel straight away, which apparently is very hard to do with christmas being so close, and fall into another dorm/group of lovely people! So last night we drank a bottle of rum and headed out. Suffice to say this morning (sunday) i dont feel so crash hot, but lucky for me today is funday sunday where its pretty much a massive pool/frat party starting at 12 and going for as long as you can hold out. Wish me luck.

Posted by alexD 07:04 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

more spanish lessons and volcanos!

I can at least understand people (mostly) when they speak! answering is a bit more difficult.

Thursday 11.12.13
Another girl arrived today who will be living with me! The morning was spanish class and then in the afternoon i did a cooking class at the school. We cooked empanadas, fritos and chicken with jalepenos. The empanadas were platano which is like a savoury banana that is boiled for 45 minutes, squashed and then fried again, with cheese inside it and fritos are raw platanos that are fried. We also had salad! hallelujah!! I am craving fresh food and am definitely feeling all the oil im eating.

At night, another girl at the school wanted to watch american football and said there was a bar that would probably play it here so at 7.30 we headed out. At the bar they said they couldnt find it but i reckon its because there was a sport on with Leon in it (which is another city in Nicaragua). So we finished our drinks and went onto the main tourist street were we found shisha! we had a berry favour that was awesome! we decided to head back home at about 10 thinking the next night would be a big one.

Friday 12.12.13
Again had spanish class then in the afternoon went on a tour to masaya market, volcan masaya and some bat caves. Masaya market was like any other touristy market. It most had nick nacks, bracelets, clothing and bags all super expensive. they did have some cool hammacks though that i was super tempted to buy but i have no idea where id eventually put it.. we then headed to volcan masaya, which is the most active volcano in the area apparently. Saw a crater with heaps of smoke and then 2 other craters than were just full of plants. We headed to the bat caves which was interesting but i cnt sy im a fan of bats..!! We saw an alter where hundreds of years ago there used to be human sacrifice and then in 1980 was used as a secret hide out to drink when it was prohibited. we headed back at about 7.30 and i was knackered so our potential big night was very small haha

Posted by alexD 12:23 Comments (0)

Spanish class

overcast 33 °C

Wednesday 10.12.13

Bright and early this morning i started Spanish Lessons! Lets just say my lack of knowledge is evident but that is why im doing it. Also, and the main reason for ths post, im living with a family in Granada. So far ive just seen 2 women, i think one is a sister maybe? not sure if there is kids. but heres the kicker... They dont speak any English. Pretty much at all. It was an afternoon of slow speech, lots of agreeing with whatever they were saying without understanding and awkward smiling. Im hoping by Monday when i think ill leave, that ill be able to communicate a little bit, but lets all have a laugh at the complete ridculousness of non-communication and this funny situation ive put myself in.

Posted by alexD 13:07 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

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