COSTA RICA: DAYS 7 & 8

DAY SEVEN

Today’s December 25th, it’s Christmas!!! The night before we heard merengue and salsa being played in the local’s houses.  Today we’re headed to Puerto Viejo so we left the Quepos area early on,  Everybody stayed up late on Christmas Eve, drinking, eating, dancing, and hanging out with their family, so today the streets are empty.

We had breakfast in the mountains, and then we proceeded to Cartago. This city was once Costa Rica’s capital. The exquisite basilica of our Lady of the Angels is in Cartago. This basilica is dedicated to Costa Rica’s patron saint.

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We arrived at Limon, and we noticed people have darker complexion in this province. There are lots of huge containers along the road. Limon is a port, fruits and other goods are shipped out of the country from here. We drove right next to the Atlantic ocean, and we saw huge waves.

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We arrived at Puerto Viejo, the hippy vibe of this coastal town took us by surprise. Our hotel has mosaics everywhere, just look at this peculiar   hand made sink with an actual beer bottle, talk about up-cycling!!

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Nature is all around us, I was lucky enough to captured a blue humming bird, admiring himself on the mirror.  Such a narcissist!!

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It’s lunch time!! and I had a fish with a Caribbean sauce along with “rice and beans”. In this region they called it “rice and beans” literally in English, it refers to rice and beans cooked the Caribbean way: with coconut milk. It looks exactly the same as the gallo pinto but it tastes a bit different.

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 DAY EIGHT

We left Puerto Viejo at 6am. In our shuttle there was an older couple from Quebec. They’re traveling through Latin America for 6 months, can you believe they took that much time off work? They started in Nicaragua and they will end up all the way down in Peru. I seriously envy them, I want to travel non stop for weeks. We were also traveling with Pablo, he proudly stated:  “I’m from the Basque country”, but when people didn’t know where that country was, he reluctantly articulated: “I am from Spain”.  He had been traveling for two weeks, he had one more month to go and no idea where he was going. He wanted to make it all the way down to Colombia. Pablo and his surfboard are chasing waves along the Atlantic ocean. A French lady joined our shuttle after we crossed over to Panama, she’s traveling alone with two adolescents. I really admire her guts.

We crossed the bridge over Sixaloa river walking, once in Panama the prices dropped drastically, the accent was different, the currency was balboas. A cup of coffee was now $.55 cents instead of $1.25. French, Canadians, Spanish, we all agreed: Costa Rica is expensive for Latin America. Our shuttle took us to Almirante where we rode on a boat for about 30 minutes to Bocas del Toro.

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We arrived to Bocas Town, it had been raining. Like really raining…

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Time to get lunch, I get a fish fillet with patacones. Patacones are green plantains that are mashed  and then fried. This is a must have whenever in the Caribbean. It seems like I always have fish, but hey this is fresh, wild caught fish. I gotta have it!

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After lunch we walked around Bocas town, there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, and people walking around. This is the busiest time of the year. There were several buses filled with Ticos crossing over to Panama to enjoy Bocas del Toro.

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Back in our hotel, a Panamanian lady inquired where we are from,and we replied “from El Salvador”, she adds : “Ah Salvadoreans such hard workers, such wonderful people”. It seems like our reputation precedes us everywhere in Central America.

Side Notes-

  1. There’s a radio station in Costa Rica that plays only tropical music: cumbia, salsa, merengue, etc. I missed this kind of radio stations!!
  2. For some strange reason, Ticos put up their Christmas tree on the entrance to their houses. I guess they want people on the streets to admire them.

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