Deciding to head for the Peninsula of Osa wasn’t a tough decision. From our neighbours back home I’d heard amazing things about the area, and our google searches only confirmed the stories (Thanks a to Else and Jørn for recommending the area!). Getting down here though took 3,5-4 hours, which was our longest drive yet - the drive itself made it worth though! Driving through such a magnificent country as Costa Rica one particular comment comes up a lot “Christ it’s green around here!” As soon as you get out of the San José area the landscapes are nothing short of stunning, and Osa is particularly beautiful!
We had booked 3 nights at a hostel called “Drake Bay Backpackers” - it seemed like a good place to have as a base. The last part of our drive was, as per usual, on gravel roads, but this time spiced up with a few river crossings. Each time we crossed a river one of us got out of the car to check out the depth. We had no problems crossing them, despite some of them being a little on deep side. When we arrived at our hostel we were all a little amazed I think. With two main cottages and a patio with hammocks covered by a bamboo and palm leaf roof it seemed to be such a relaxing place to be. And it was. After getting a comprehensive tour of the place one of the staff members took us to the nearest supermarket. We buy very basic stuff from every store we go to, however this might have been the tiniest supermarket I’ve ever been to. We had run out of cash, and they obviously didn’t accept credit cards, so the girl that had gone with us kindly borrowed us 5000 colonies (about 9$). It tuns out that the village of the hostel has about 100 citizens, and the nearest bank is about an hour and a half away. As we got back and were about to start cooking our pasta the power went out. When that happens in the middle of nowhere then that’s just how it is - no one will come and fix it for you within a couple of hours. Luckily I had brought a head torch (thanks to Jon and P for helping me getting one of those in SA!), the stove was running on gas and we had candlelights - we had a great night. Happy and full we hung around in the hammocks as the rainforest went to sleep and after a couple of hours we went to bed as well.
The following morning the sounds of the surrounding nature woke me up at about 6am. Most mornings I’m the one who wakes up first and instead of trying to go back to sleep as I would have done at home, I’ve tried to just embrace it and get up. Accordingly I grabbed my external hard drive and my laptop returned to the hammocks we’d left the night before. I cannot describe how magical it felt to mentally wake up in a hammock, in the rainforest, editing photos to the sounds of howling monkeys and birds fooling around in the treetop - surreal! After a while the boys got up as well and done with breakfast we got in the car to go to Puerto Jimenez to find a bank. After 1,5 hour drive we found the little town and the bank that we so desperately needed. After an amazing lunch at quite a cheap seafood place we’d been recommended, we got back on the road to go home. It was a rather cloudy day, a little rainy and we only spend about 2 hours in Puerto Jimenez, but we’ve learned that even though some of the villages in themselves might not be worth the long drives, the drives in themselves are, as I’ve mentioned before, so beautiful that we don’t really mind at all - plus we needed the cash.We spend the rest of the day chilling, editing photos and simply enjoying ourselves in our surroundings. As the sun was about to go down we decided to go to the beach. We had about 15 minutes before it disappeared, but we had no idea where it was. After a quick glance at a map we got in the car and raced towards the beach. Shortly after we found ourselves running down a runway at the tiny local airport. At the end of the runway we turned right into the forest, crossed a hanging bridge elevated above a swamp that by all means seemed to be the perfect resting place for a few crocodiles, then climbed over a fallen tree and finally we ran down the beach - we made it in time. Okay, technically we didn’t make it, but the sky was so beautiful that it was definitely worth it anyway - we felt like we made it. We had fun on the beach, took some photos and enjoyed the view before we began to head back. Chasing the sunset we had been so occupied with trying to make it in time that we hadn’t thought about the conditions we had to return home in. When the sun sets in the middle of nowhere it’s pitch black everywhere. At home, walking through a forest at night might be a little creepy, but at least there is not much to be afraid of. It is a little different down here. We had out eyes out for snakes, poisonous frogs, spiders and everything else that moved. With three iPhones lighting up a very small area in front of us we walked very committed and focused to be get back to the runway with bats giving us the occasional shock as they flew right past us. We were definitely out of our comfort zones and it felt sketchy as f*** to be honest. As we got to the run way we felt a little more safe, yet still had our eyes on the ground to avoid potential snakes. After a few minutes on the runway we saw two four legged shadows behind us. They turned out to be two very friendly and protective dogs that ended up following us all the way to the little airport where we had parked our car. With relieved laughter we got in the car and went back home to cook up another exceptional pasta dish.
The next day our plans failed us a bit, so instead we decided to seek out some paradise beaches about an hour away, recommend to us by a local guide who had drawn us a map. When we arrived, we all three of us were quite amazed by the view of the beach. We had parked our car by the local school right next to the beach - the school’s capacity can’t have been more than 20 kids. The beach itself was completely empty and a stunning sight - brutal rock formations in the water, the ridiculously green jungle and the vast pacific ocean constantly breaking its waves on the shore. We sat down on a log on the beach and had a little bit of lunch. All full and ready to go we began our walk. The guy who had drawn us a map had pointed out a river that we decided to aim for. Walk down the beach, then a forest path, another beach, another path, another beach, another path and then by the final beach we’d see the river - easy. The landscape all around was so beautiful, and with very few people around. As we got off one of the paths ending in yet another beautiful beach I immediately got my eyes an a big rock a bit out in the water. When we got to it, we put down our bags underneath a tree and I had Daniel climb the rock to get a shot of him. While we were trying to get the shot, TG was playing around with Daniels camera behind us taking a few photos of some monkey’s in the trees. Daniel and I were both quite busy to get the shot we wanted and didn’t really notice exactly what TG was doing behind us. All of sudden we hear TG yell out “shit!! Argh!” We turned around, and the monkeys had come down from the tree and was acting really aggressive. Apparently, one of them had a little baby, and TG had gotten a little too close. We now had three to four monkeys on the ground, jumping up and down, making aggressive noises and flashing their teeth. In completely unknown territory , TG and I froze and had no clue what to do, meanwhile Daniel was caught on the rock yelling at us to get us to do something. It didn't help. About 1-2 minutes went by while Daniel was getting down the rock, and we remained lost and simply stood there yelling “F*** what do we do?!?” and the monkey’s were still acting very aggressively and had now begun inspecting our bags. Fortunately, Daniel went to South Africa a few weeks back to visit a friend who has worked at a Safari park for a few months, and she had given him the crash course on how to act when confronted by wild animals. He got of the rock, ran towards the monkeys yelling and jumping up and down acting just like them. Obviously they were more afraid of us then what we should be of them, but we were way out of our comfort zone and stood around nervously laughing for a few minutes afterwards by some rocks in the water. Two sketchy incidents in two days. Due to our little encounter with the monkeys and our many stops on the way to take photos we decided to head back before the sun went down.
On our last full day we had booked a snorkeling tour on an Island not too far away. We got up at 05:45am, had a small breakfast and than drove down to the snorkeling office by the beach. Our guide Daniel(what is it with all these Daniels?!) turned out to be this super cool Spanish guy - the kind of guy you just want to get to know better and become friends with. He had such an inspiring view upon life and was such a genuine guy. After a 45 minute bumpy boat ride to an island called “Isla del Caño” we finally got to jump in the water. None of us had ever done proper snorkeling before - I had done a little in Mallorca a few years back, but only by the local beach. With fins and masks we got in the water with the rest of the team consisting of about 12-15 others + Daniel, our guide.
W O W.
We had had no clue what to expect, but surely we hadn’t expected this. Massive amounts of fish in the most amazing colors all around us. The water was the most amazing hue of blue and was unbelievably clear. "Daniel the guide" did a great job of telling us what fish we saw, and kept pointing to new ones as we went along. All of a sudden he stuck his head out of the water and casually said “on the left down by that rock you’ll see turtle” - A TURTLE?!!!?!!? Absolutely blown away we had a look for ourselves, and just as he said, there was a turtle swimming along beneath us. Never in our lives had we imagined that we’d get to swim with turtles. Unbelievable! After about an hour we had a small break on the Island which was so spectacular in itself. Jungle and nothing else. You get quite exhausted after being in the water for that long and "Daniel the guide" noticed that, and quickly grabbed a coconut and cut out some of the “coconut meat” which we had as snacks - so delicious!. We went back in the water for another 45 minutes and in total we saw 5 turtles(which Daniel, my friend, and I both have amazing footage of), the most beautiful fish, sea snakes and probably other underwater animals that I don’t know the exact names of! Such an unreal experience. Lying in the water surrounded by fish and accompanied only by the sound of your own breath and those of the ocean was absolutely mesmerizing. We got back on the boat and sailed to a beach on the mainland where we had some lunch, a part of the deal, and slowly but surely our experience began to sink in - we were high on life!
On the 23rd. we packed up our stuff and headed back to San José to drop of TG at the airport. I was behind the wheel for the first 4 hours and Daniel the final 3. A long drive and in thunder, rainstorms, and all sorts of weather.
TG is now heading for Peru and Daniel and I have been staying with one of his friends in San José for the past 2 nights(as I'm finishing this post it is the 25th.). They have very kindly provided us with delicious food and a room to stay - thank you so much! Tomorrow on the 26th. at 7am we are leaving Costa Rica and will arrive in New York at 2:15pm. It will be such a strange transition going from the rainforest, vast landscapes and amazing oceans of Costa Rica to the massive and buzzing city of New York. Because we’ve had the absolute time of our lives and have experienced the most amazing things we haven’t really had the time to look forward to New York. We’ve truly lived in the now and I think we all feel so privileged and lucky to have experienced Costa Rica in the best way possible. However, at this point we are looking very much forward to The Big Apple! As we get on the plain tomorrow, it won’t be a “Goodbye”, but a “See you Costa Rica” - I’ll definitely return back here some day!
Just before uploading this I went on google maps to complete our route of destinations:
1396km. Mind blown. What a road trip!