This past weekend I headed out to Montezuma, in Puntarenas Province, with 10 friend to get in one last fun weekend before many of them leave. Highlight and blooper reel below:
1. Two of 10 decided that the 6 hour-long journey to Montezuma was not for them and bought $118 (roundtrip) “plane” tickets. But the rest of us headed out straight from school to catch our first bus. We would be taking this bus to the ferry and then getting back on it to reach a connecting bus which would then take us to our hotel. Although this sounds complicated, our second bus went on to the ferry with us, so we were able to leave all of our belongs on it and then proceed back on the bus after the ferry ride was over. Although this was a long ride, we were all super excited and got to enjoy the beautiful a sunset. (I probably took 30 photos of it setting).
*Ask me about: Our comical preparations for the first bus and the mirrors of our second.
2. After last weekends arrival ending in no dinner, we were pleasantly surprised that the town of Montezuma (one main street) was alive and ready to serve us a hearty dinner. Little did we know, Montezuma was also going to provide us with a ton of “entertainment” for the evening: a run in with the immigration police. What they told us was a regular inspection consisted of around 60 policemen and women walking through the streets, checking everyone’s passports. Later that night we found out this happens about once a year. Thankfully, all my friends cleared the check. However, the police’s presence totally killed the town’s energy for the night.
3. After breakfast, we headed out to the town’s 3 tiered waterfall (however, we were told the 2nd and 3rd tiers were very challenging to climb to). To make sure we didn’t get lost getting to the first tier, we confirmed directions from a local. Instead one of them said he would come with. Without our guide Jesus, we probably wouldn’t have ever found the waterfall or made it through the hike there. Upon first site, the waterfall looked anything but appetizing – see brown murky water. In fact, the water was so dark that I was able to fix the bathing suit that I accidentally put on upside down. I really was worried that swimming in this water may cause health problems down the road. However, what I really should have been worried about it my intense love for adventure. After being at the waterfall for 5 minutes, my friends and I realized that Jesus had climbed up its side and was about to jump…from the top. I knew that I had to jump off this waterfall, even if not from the top. Before we left, I finally convinced one of my friends to jump with me and Jesus showed us the way. I was able to make it up fairly easy, but when I was ready to jump – I freaked. I was supposed to make a pencil jump, but had to somehow clear the large pile of rock right below me. After several other groups had stopped to watch me, I worked up the courage to jump 30 ft. It was incredibly thrilling and definitely worth the bruise that immediately started to form on the entire left side of my body – from butt to calf – due to my poor landing. Thankfully, the initial shock and pain wore off and the bruise barley hurt.
* Ask me about the manhole and the creepy breakfast spot.
4. After that thrill, we headed to the town’s only bar to watch the first Costa Rican World Cup game. It is so incredibly nice to be in a country that cares about futball. See world cup post to read more about the insane celebration we were able to be a part of.
5. I really enjoyed the town of Uvita more than Montezuma, but the beach at Montezuma definitely won the competition. It was wonderful to be able to sit on the beach at night with all my friends, talk, take in the setting, and breath in the wonderful energy that fills Costa Rica.
6. Surf lessons: I could write an entire post about surfing, but for now I will give the short version. To start off, I encourage every single person to try surfing at least once. After taking a long hike (sleepwalking) at 7 AM, our two guides (for my 3 friends and I) were ready for us to start learning. They prepped us on land and then allowed us to start in the water. Although most of our 2 hours was filled with a massive rain storm (meaning that taking pictures was difficult), it was one of the most freeing things I have ever done. There was no way to keep a smile off of my face as I slow slid across the water. While I might have only learned to stand up and ride baby waves, I got to experience the high that I am assuming all surfers feel. I can now fully understand why people would devote their life to this sport. It’s empowering, thrilling, and challenging.
* Ask me about the fruit and our bus fiascos turning our 6 hour journey into 8.
Lessons from the weekend
1. Bug bites: ALWAYS PUT ON BUG SPRAY – when you wake up, during the day, at night. I came home with at least 30 bug bites, most of them on my butt. Let’s be honest, everyone knows that is the worst spot.
2. Backpackers: On our drive home I got to witness a beautiful conversation between two backpackers. Although it kept me from falling asleep, I realized something incredible. As we all have been told, each one of us has our own, unique story to tell. What is amazing about traveling, is you get to share your story with all those who you meet – people who have come together for one special purpose, but that you are also very different from. When two backpackers come together, you realize how much of the world they have seen, how exciting their life has been, how eager they are to make friends, to take in the culture, to learn, to just be one with every moment that comes their way. It’s hard not to smile when they get to share their journeys with others. This is something I have always wanted to do (although I can’t imagine carrying all my belongings on my back) and truly hope I can.
3. Traveling in Latin America: It sucks. End of story. In Hong Kong, the web was so helpful in giving me step by step directions to get from point A to point B. Even when I was confused, I could easily look at street signs and figure it out. In Costa Rica, traveling means never being even 90% sure that you are headed in the right direction, taking a non direct route, and buses being overly crowded. This is just something that you must accept or you will be incredibly annoyed during your time in Latin America.
Apologies for the brief explanations, I am more than happy to talk to you about this wonderful weekend in more details.