Today Andrew and I arrived in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, after two buses and one boat at around 3pm. The journey itself wasn't too bad but seemed to take forever as we were up at 6:15. Crossing from Panama into Costa Rica was also pretty cool as we had to cross a huge bridge, which host spectacular views. The hostel that we stayed at, Hostel Van Gogh, was actually a pretty odd hostel as far as they go. The owner, David, although nice was not really cut out for the hostel business. The hostel was clean and tidy but he had some really strange rules like: the doors closes for the night at 12pm, no drunk people etc.. He was also a bit of a stinge as he claimed the washing service was $15?! Apparently it was because of electric, which unless he washes clothes for 2 weeks straight, was nonsense. However, he did note that we should check our passports for how many days the government had given us. I had 7 days to do all of what I wanted to do and get out. If I overstay it I will be deported back to England and banned from travelling to other countries for 10 years (apparently). This has now cut my trip short but will make it up in Nicaragua.
I have now joined up with Sush, my friend who I met for a day in Auckland two years ago. We'll see how that turns out as she's with me for a month! Ernesto, my friend from Durham, who is actually from San Jose, picked us up in his car. We went to a traditional Costa Rican restaurant that served a variety of meals. I went for the same thing Ernesto had, which I can't remember the name of. It had pork, rice, salsa and avocado served with tortilla crisps.
After dinner we headed to a bar for a beer. The bar had over 100 international beers in it. Ernesto got me the beer that they make in-house, Escuchante, which was around £4.50!
I woke up at 9ish, had the breakfast that David made for the guests and talked with Sush and her friend for a little while. We left Andrew too as he didn't want to do another beach. We'll see him later in the week. Our bus to Montezuma is at 2 so we only had a couple of hours to see some of San Jose, which is actually a bit of a dump. We visited the Jade Museum basing it on what David had said. It was shit. Some was in English and some wasn't, so we learnt very little.
The journey to Montezuma wasn't that bad as the bus had windows that opened but no AC. The ferry felt like it took forever. It took around 6 hours in total. We stayed in Luz en el Cielo, and although it cost $15 a night, it was nice, clean and comparable of prices in town. We dumped the bags, ate some food and crashed early due to another long day of travelling. The amount of wildlife is insane around here too. I saw an armadillo, a praying mantis and massive lizards, as well as listening to monkeys in the trees around the hostel. Considering Costa Rica has 6% of the Earth's biodiversity it's hardly surprising. I've also managed to injury my back from all of the bumps on the boats so my sleep hasn't been great.
Up at around 9am today again and made our way down for the amazing (included) breakfast. We had scrambled egg, watermelon, banana, toast, and rice and beans (Costa Rican norm).
Following breakfast, Sush and I walked down along the beach to find the amazing waterfalls that exist in Montezuma. We had to walk up the low flowing river over rocks to get there but it was massively worth it. Once we got to the main 20m waterfall we had to hike up a very steep hill and walk to the others. No easy feat in flip-flops! We got to the top and not many people were around but we were told that there was a red cross indicating where to jump out safely. This was a 10m drop - the height of the average house! Naturally I though about it for a bit and saw a local do it. A minute later I went, armed with my GoPro. It was easily the scariest and craziest thing I've ever done. It was just like sky diving and bungee jumping but with no real control. My stomach went to the top of my body as I was airborne for a good 3 seconds before smashing though the very deep water at the bottom (I never touched the bottom). I hit it with such force the GoPole bent and ripped the piece of flesh that connects your upper lip to the gum, and pulled my neck and pectoral muscles in the end. Nonetheless, it was incredible. I went on to do it 6 more times! Every time was as scary as the first. Amazing. I haven't stopped thinking about that feeling since! We stayed here for a while as others joined. There was a rope swing and some smaller jumps too.
We then headed to the beach for a while to watch the sunset and drink a few beers. Post-shower, we ate at Restaurant Soda, which had only been open a week. For no more than £3 I had papaya juice and a lasagne with salad, which was great as they served it with balsamic vinegar - something I haven't seen since I've been away. We then went to the beach, made a fire (well a local did) and chatted with a Colombian and German girls into the early hours.
Tomorrow we're off to Monteverde in the north of Costa Rica, where we'll join Andrew again.