Sunday, August 8, 2010


Since I am a little bit behind in my blogging, I'm going to skip the details of this week (except for a few) and get right to my tale of this past weekend in Montezuma. Before I begin, I'll give you a quick geography lesson of Costa Rica: there are 7 provinces - San José and Cartago in the center; Heredia (I live in the capital of this province, hence its name) and Alajuela in the central north; Guanacaste in the northwest; Puntarenas in the south; and Limon in the East. Montezuma is in the Puntarenas province on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the south Pacific coast.

Okay, now that you have somewhat of a picture in your head, I'll begin telling you about my trip. The journey to Montezuma went surprisingly smooth. Remembering my horror stories from last summer when I went to Lisbon while I was in Spain, I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but "gracias a Dios," everything went as planned. We left in a taxi at 5:00 in the morning to the bus stop in San José. We had plenty of time to buy our tickets and coffee before boarding the bus. The bus ride to Puntarenas lasted a little under 2 hours, and when we arrived there we had to walk about 2 km with our bags in the hot sun to the ferry, but we made it there in just enough time to catch the 9:00 ferry. The ferry was relaxing (the gentle rocking put me to sleep) and in an hour we arrived at Playa Naranjo. From there we hurried to catch the bus to Montezuma, and this, the last leg of the trip, was by far the worst. After a 2 hour long hot, crowded, and bumpy bus ride, I was very happy to arrive at our destination.

The bus dropped us off in the center of Montezuma, a small beach town with a backpacker/hippie/laid back feel. We found out that our hotel, Hotel Lucy, was just a short walk from the center, but it didn't feel all that short when I, already hot and sweaty, had to carry my bag up a dirt road that turned into mud. Although I sound incredibly high maintenance right now, I didn't show it while trying to dodge mud puddles and keep my white pants (I didn't know that I would have to walk on dirt roads when I picked out my outfit) as clean (not dirty is more appropriate) as possible. Nevertheless, when we finally got to our hotel and I was able to look out over the Pacific and hear the waves rolling onto the sand, I knew that all the trouble to get there was entirely worth it.

We didn't waste any time getting out of our sweaty clothes and into our bathing suits. We headed straight to the beach and into the water. After cooling off a bit, we threw some clothes over our suits (entirely appropriate attire for Montezuma...some people weren't even wear shoes) and found a restaurant in town to eat lunch. The rest of the day consisted of walking around town, relaxing on the beach, and eating more food of course.

During our walk around town on Friday, we went to one of the many booths that offer tours from sport fishing to horseback riding. Our interest was snorkeling, so we signed up for a snorkeling tour to la Isla Tortuga on Saturday. I ran for a little bit on the beach when I woke up on Saturday morning before we had to leave for the snorkeling tour. We left at 9:30 on a boat with several other people for Isla Tortuga, which is about 45 minutes away. I love the feeling of being on a boat, so I even enjoyed the trip to the island. Once we got there, we snorkeled for a little over an hour and then we all went to the island for lunch. Isla Tortuga is gorgeous...turquoise water, white sand, and palm trees. Our guides prepared a big lunch for us of fish, rice, veggies, and tons of fresh fruit. After relaxing on the beach, we went out again for a second snorkeling session. The morning was definitely better, but the afternoon was still fun. We headed back for Montezuma around 4 and on the way there, our guides spotted 2 tortoises mating in the water. It was pretty cool to see big turtles in the middle of the ocean.

Now to my favorite part of the weekend. On Sunday morning we hiked to some very well-known waterfalls right in Montezuma. We had been told that they were only a 15 minute walk away, but we soon found out that 15 minutes just took us to the base of the trail that leads to the waterfalls. Before we knew it, this "trail" turned into slippery rocks across a river and over smaller waterfalls and then through trees and extremely steep uphills and downhills until we finally arrived at the base of the 3 waterfalls. Just looking up at the waterfalls, however, was not enough for us - we wanted to get up to the top. We couldn't quite see a direct way to get up there, but we could see people at the top, so we knew that there had to be some way. Long story short, we found ourselves hiking, it was really more like rock climbing, up extremely rugged terrain that required using all fours and our backsides at times. I wouldn't call what we did safe, but I had a blast, and once we arrived at the top, it was entirely worth the risks.

At the base of each waterfall is a pool of water that flows down to the next waterfall. The top waterfall is the smallest, the middle is the second largest, and the first is the largest. We were able to swim in the pool in between the third and the second waterfalls and there was a rope swing that we jumped off of as well. We also jumped and dove from the top of the third waterfall, which was so much fun! Caitlin and I however, wanted to be a little bit more daring. Caitlin, Miss Hawaii, did not waste any time jumping from the top of the second water fall, which is about 8 meters (35ish feet). I, however, had to think about it. I warmed up on the smallest waterfall and then decided that I wanted to jump as well. But once I was standing on the edge of the waterfall ready to jump, my ambition dwindled quite a bit. As I stood there thinking, ticos kept jumping one after the other like it was no big deal. I decided that I was just going to have to go, ready or not, if I wanted to do it, so that's exactly what I did. It was awesome! The only bad thing was that my butt broke part of my fall, so I have a terribly bruised tailbone now. It has improved, but I still have to sit down very carefully one week later.

Needless to say, I had a great trip. I can't believe it was only one week feels like forever. This past week of classes threw me back into reality. I had to read a 200 page novel, in Spanish, in 3 days! It was rough, but I have to say that I'm quite proud of myself. I am incredibly modest when it comes to talking about my Spanish proficiency because I still have soooo much to learn and still have plenty of room to improve, but I have to say that I am impressed with my progress after only 3 weeks here.

After the excitement of last weekend, I was glad to spend a more relaxed weekend here in Heredia. Today I went to mass at 9:00 this morning with Claudia and then she took me to a concert in the central park of Heredia that takes place every Sunday at 10:00. I love the culture and the traditions here. I don't know any where in the U.S. where you could find a huge crowd of people of all different ages gathered around a Mariachi band at 10:00 on a Sunday morning, eating ice cream I might add (I, of course, took part in the ice cream eating).

I am going to get ready for bed now so that I'm ready for another week of classes tomorrow. Until next time, ciao!

1 comment:

  1. Your Mom and I just read your crazy adventures for August 8th wish mine were more like those but we're hanging in and will be looking forward to following you throughout Costa Rica. Thanks for the laughs...........and BE CAREFUL.

    Love, Kendra