Category Archives: Costa Rica

Irazú Volcano

The Irazú Volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica. From the top it is possible to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a clear day. However, such clear days are rare, and the volcano’s summit is usually cloud-covered. So was mine.

This morning I went to the Irazú Volcano. I was told that everyday there is only one bus heading for the volcano that departures around 8 a.m. somewhere near Avenida 2. Because this is my last day in Costa Rica I had to make it happen. And also I heard that if the bus is full the bus driver just leaves the remaining people behind. Sounds like a mission from Lord of the rings. “To reach Irazú go to the shire at Avenida and wait for the… ” well, you get my grip LOL. Ok, but to be honest I could’ve just taken a tour for $ 99,- but then you pay for the taxi, the spanish guide and a translator for the spanish guide. The bus is just $ 10,- Yeah and I’m crazy harry ;-). So I got up really early and got in the city. After being shown in the wrong direction for three times I noticed this huge crowd just alongside a street. The first person I asked confirmed that they were indeed waiting for the bus to Irazú. I had to wait in back of the line and kind of gave up all hope that I would make it in to the bus, because the number of people in front of me could fit in two busses. But my name wouldn’t be hope-a-lot if I didn’t kept waiting. Luckily I did. Miraculously we all fit in the bus, which picked us up at 9:30 am. After a one and a half hour trip we arrived at the volcano. I had two and an half hours to explore the sights and to make a 2 km walk uphill to the crater. The hill was steep and the air was thin.  So I was a bit gasping for air. I also noticed the high air pressure when I opened a tube of lotion and all the lotion just sprayed out. Wow! The volcano was ok. It felt a bit like a B.K. experience. When you look at the double king size Whopper you just ordered, it looks far from the juicy Whopper on the picture behind the counter, but still it tastes ok. And to be able to stand near a crater that had been erupting hot lava just decades ago is something I’m grateful for! This one wasn’t even on my bucket list, but I put it up there, just to score it out. ;-)

Tomorrow up to Sao Paolo!!

Cahuita man!

Cahuita is something else man! I arrived in Cahuita on the 26th of January to stay there for just two nights and then return back to Puerto Viejo. I ended up staying there for five days! Cahuita is like the Jamaica of Costa Rica. Rastafarians who say “Bless ya!” as they great you on the street. Reggae music bumping out of speakers on every street corner and there are bikes everywhere. I decided to rent one. When I asked for a lock for the bike the owner laughed at me: “No man, nobotti gon’ steel a bike aroond eer!” he said with a Jamaican like accent. Nough said! :)

I went hiking in the Cahuita national park, which I liked even more than the one in Manuel Antonio. I stood at Punta Cahuita which is really the tip of Costa Rica giving you a view of the Caribbean sea. Check it out on Google Maps.

Cahuita is a real small city. You can walk the whole center in like 10 minutes. I think many people would call it boring, because there is little to do, but for me it was just what I needed. I enjoyed strolling around and eating the local dishes like Casada, Chifriju and Red Snapper Fish. One day I bought some vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, unions and avocado from the greengrocer on the street and prepared my own meal with all the primitive kitchen tools at hand. Loved it!

I spent hours and hours laying in the hammocks on the hostel veranda. Sleeping, reading, surfing or just chilling. Super relaxed! There was one hammock however where the rope broke, leaving the female laying disillusioned on the ground. But after a day or two I discovered there was something else going on around here. Hence I introduce to you: “The sabotage squirrel!” LOL.

Each time the hammock was secured, the fellow seemed to nibble the rope, thus sabotaging the hammock. We all had a good laugh about it. What an evil squirrel ;) How in earth can you come up with something like this. I don’t see no incentive for the squirrel other then defending his or her habitat. And if so, what a smart squirrel it is! 

The owner had a big dog called Scooby Doo and a few cats. And in the evening when I was planning the rest of my trip sometimes two of the kittens accompanied me and played in front of my laptop.

I rediscovered Reggae and learnt to appreciate Tabasco sauce. I really liked it here! So relaxed, but the trip must go on!

The day before I left we saw a sloth next to the entrance of the hostel. Everybody came outside to witness the sloth pass by. And they are quicker than I thought.

Today I arrived at a new Hostel. This one has even got a pool!


I reached a milestone in a long time. My todo list contains only 3 items. People who know me, know how epic this is. It’s like saying: Today there are only thousand people living in India! Now lets go for an empty one!

New Life in Puerto Viejo

Pura Vida! Pura Vida! That’s how every one in Costa Rica says goodbye. It has many meanings. But basically it means pure life. And if you Google it you find out it has a whole history behind it.


Yesterday I left Manuel Antonio to head for Puerto Viejo on the Carribean side of Costa Rica. Out of all weekends to visit Puerto Viejo I picked the one with the Costa Rica National surf competition. The city is crowded and there are nearly any vacant Hostels. And I don’t even like surfing! So I ended up in a guesthouse no one has ever heard of. Even later on a taxi driver would tell me I was the first person he ever brought there. I arrived in Puerto Viejo after a 9 hour bus trip with connection in San José. I sat on the bus with a guy from Switzerland. He talked Swiss German. And the crazy thing is that I could understand it and on the other hand he could understand me when I talked dutch. These languages are sooo similar. I didn’t know that! So we talked the whole trip, astonished by the fact we could understand each other. haha I arrived in Puerto Viejo late in the evening.

The owner picked me up with a little white van. On the phone he told me: “I’m the guy with the mustache in a little white van.” I told him: “I’m the black guy with the glasses and the backpack.” LOL We arrived at the spot. A huge house surrounded by only green jungle, barking dogs, and the sound of crickets. He told me the cabin was really in the middle of nature. Surrounded by sloths, monkeys and off course insects. For your information a few days ago I saw a bird landing on a wall. When I looked closer it actually was a cricket.  And later on I heard that my cabin was near to a banana tree. So I was sleeping close to many banana tree spiders. The owner told me that later, when I left. But to continue my story. the owner’s name was Sasha. He was a relaxed, short, dreadlocked, Italian guy with a mustache who moved from Italy to Costa Rica and bought the cabins like three years ago. He introduced me to his father Flavio and then escorted me to my cabin. When I was escorted to my cabin we walked past a room where I noticed a heavily pregnant woman laying on a bed puffing and sweating, with here belly out and a fan blowing. Probably Sasha’s woman? The cabin looked really nice, but there were spiderwebs everywhere. I did not sleep to well. Woke up a few times from sounds in the trees. These were actually fruits falling down from the trees, while I constantly thought it was some kind of animal. I could not catch any sleep at all.


This morning I went down stairs an saw Flavio, Sasha’s father, with a great grin on his face. The baby was born! “I just became a grandpa”, he smiled. And guess what they named the boy…. ? Francesco!! Wow! However Sasha didn’t admit he named him after me hahaha. He just came up with the name that day he told me. What a coincidence ;)

Hiking on Flip Flops

I was told that that Manuel Antonio is close to nature, for me this meant close to spiders and freaky animals hahaha. But I have never been so much one with nature as in Manuel Antonio. Some ants crawling between the keys of my laptop as I am writing this right now. For a guy like me this sounds impossible, but it is happening.

Yesterday I walked for like two hours to a remote beach called Byzantine with hardly any people on it. Underway witnessed monkeys fighting birds, making a growling noise. They are called howler monkeys. When I came back to the Hostel I experienced a beautiful sunset on the same place where I had me breakfast the day before.


Today (because I catched that walking virus) I went for a hike in Manuel Antonio National Park. On my way there I met this great guy who makes wooden eyewear. He just started it out of boredom and now four years later has this great company going. Inspirational! I ended up hiking in the Manual Antonio National Park for 4 hours. I went up hill to Mirador to have a great view of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. After that I went down hill. After a hiking through the bush bush you suddenly enter the Gemelas beach. And this transition is sooo overwhelming!

After that I was exhausted. You can’t buy any food in the park and I didn’t bring any food with me. But I WAS going to see everything! So I went on hiking for one more hour. On this last hiking trip I came across this old mexican lady who seemed a bit troubled. She seemed to be lost and was looking for her family. I tried to help her, but she nearly only spoke Spanish and mine is really bad. I found out she had to go to M.A. beach. I knew where it was. With hand signals and the map I tried to explain here and then decided to walk her there. She followed me, but was somehow realizing that she was really lost. She was afraid her family already left, she will never find them etc. etc. and suddenly she got this little panic attack. And I was thinking: “Why me!?” I could have just pointed her in the right direction and go on. But now we had some sort of agreement. So I kept calm and walked her to the beach. When we came there she anxiously scanned the beach for her family, but they weren’t there. She started crying. But thankgod suddenly someone waved at us from far. It was her daughter. She turned at me and thanked me like a hundred times. Karma will be good for this trip I guess! ;)

Vista Serena in Manuel Antonio

One thing I learned during this trip is that talking to 3 or more people gives you more valuable information than surfing the internet for a day. I now know that Costa Rica has a Pacific side and a Caribbean side. On the Pacific side most of the surfing is done. On the Caribbean side most of the relaxing is done. And where all the good spots are! All the people I met talked about Manuel Antonio. It is known for it’s great nature. So after the wild water rafting I took a bus to Manuel Antonio. One footnote: I slept 4 hours the day before and it was a three hour night trip. I took a taxi to the bus terminal. And I must say, it doesn’t feel very ok with all your belongings on you, close to midnight @ a bus terminal with no tourists and a few local grumpy, only spanish speaking people. I put on my poker face! ;) There I sat in the bus, my backpack in the storage beneath the bus and the daypack on my lap driving, somewhere in the world, to god knows where, sleepy as hell! These moments make you feel really futile. Luckily I use oMaps. I will talk about that later, but I arrived in Manuel Antonio and took the taxi to the Hostel Vista Serena. Only the next morning I understood the name of the Hostel as I was having breakfast. The view will make every breakfast taste like heaven!

Then my dentist from the Netherlands called me why I missed my appointment. I had a very good reason. He agreed ;)

Wild water rafting on the Pacuare river

Today I went wild water rafting on the Pacuare river. The rainforests that surround the river are home to exotic animal species such as jaguars, monkeys, ocelots, and a very large number of birds. Also it was considered one of the 5 nicest rivers to practice rafting by National Geographic. Enough with the wikipedia stuff. It was simply AMAZING!

We did a 4 hour trip of 30 km without any stops, but it felt like an hour. We sat in a boat with six people and one guide. The guide gave instructions when to peddle forward, backward, stop, left backward, right backward and so on. In the beginning you just follow the instructions and don’t know why, then you see a big run ahead which swings you all across the river. After a while you can anticipate on what the guide is going to say.

As we approached the misty mountain steeps where all the wild animals live, it felt like that scene from Jurassic Park where they approach the island LOL. We went on a 1 to 4 level raft. Level 5 is for pro’s. So when the guide screamed: “THERE IS A LEVEL 4 AHEAD, FORWARD HARD!!” You start peddling like crazy! At one “level 4 run” we lost one of the rafters. She bumped in to the water and had to be saved. We also had a lot of nice, quiet pieces though, where we could relax and enjoy the great nature around us. The water coming from the hot springs is so clean you can drink it. There where beautiful butterflies surrounding us along the way. They had really nice colored, almost luminous wings. At one point we voluntarily jumped in to the water and took a swim. At the end of our trip it started to rain, giving the surroundings an extra scenic appearance. One word: WOW! This shouldn’t be in the top 5, but numbero uno!

Arrival @ San José

DSCN0072Wow! I’m slowly getting in to that mind set.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is al really happening. Last days were like a complete movie. I met the most interesting people, heard real interesting stories and my trip has just started. It took me a few days but I’m in my zone! It’s indescribable, even with pictures, so I have to remind myself to make some.

My flight Costa Rica was leaving in a few hours and I still had to pack my backpack and book a hostel for San José. I did this all quick, took a bike to the bus station (with my backpack and daypack on lol). My bus arrived at Miami international Airport on time and I saw this beautiful work of art saying: “Peace & Love”. I though I could have me some food @ a Japanese sushi bar with a glass of sake. Well.. dinner was served 5 minutes before my boarding time. I never ate and drank that quick. :D Eventually I got on the plane on time. I had a bumpy 3 hour or so flight. Really a lot of turbulence. An old woman next to me firmly held on to the chair in front of her and kept praying and saying: “Maria, maria, Ghersus, ghersus”. I guess it helped. :)


I took a taxi to the Hostel Casa Colon in San José. San José is like a starting point. I will I only stay here for three nights and then head south to the (so they say) beautiful Manuel Antonio to get the real Costa Rica nature experience. But first I will go for a Wild water raft tomorrow. I have to be up @ 6!! It better be nice! ;)