Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
So, after spending 3 days in what felt like ‘Middle Earth’, we got onboard our private shuttle service to Tenorio National Park – and just to clarify, we were still in ‘Middle Earth’. The thing with Costa Rica, sandwiched between ‘not so efficient’ countries, is that it is actually very efficient with time and service. Our Costa Tican (see what I did there – Tico, Rican? Nevermind) were on time and their skills were much needed to master the very uncomfortable spine shifting roads. Also, as an added bonus we were chauffeured by an uncanny look-a-like to Cee Lo Green, which makes me wonder why I hadn’t seen him in the Top 40 lately. Being the day before, theres always one thing I wished for my birthday, and that was NO RAIN. As we know, April on England is pretty much a guaranteed peak time for rain – they don’t call it April showers for nothing. So, as we approached the base of the volcano on a 45 minute drive that unbolted our spine, of course we were greeted with rain. So, we were officially welcomed to the subtropical rainforest of Costa Rica, this time however, we were blessed with a little bit of luxury eco-style and everything about our jungle hut was just that; no wifi though. I think the moment you realise a place is luxury is when the bathroom is bigger than the bedroom and rather than just a kettle, you get a whole coffee maker. Facing the dense jungle sat down on a balcony we had a drink and settled in rather well. Again, no shops or life outside the confines of the hotels oasis couldn’t be found – incidentally we got to know the restaurant menu very well. The big day, the day everyone should celebrate and even create a public holiday for was up next, yes of course I’m talking about my birthday. Morning was a little on the miserable side for weather but I was blessed by a surprise from my travelling and life partner with a ‘breakfast in the room’ and the most inpractical birthday cake that has ever existed on this planet – even an Ikea style fake plastic cake would of proved more pratcical. In complete disregard for my partners requirements they had instead decided to serve what I would call ‘A Berry Creme de la Mess’. Picture the weakest thin cream on a foundation of slightly more dense weak cream topped with heavy strawberries and sauce that incidentally would of made a stronger base. The only thing to do was laugh (and blow very accurately to avoid a rather unpleasant accident) when my partner fashioned a candle out of a plastic straw and placed it unconvincingly in the cake that had now more turned into a fruit stew. On a serious note, the heavens did open up for us that day and the rain was very limited so I have to thank whoever sorted that because the days either side were nothing that desirable. What a great day it was for a walk to the beautiful Rio Celeste and for those who like me would likely to wiki it, go for it, for those reading this at work, go back to work. As a brief background, two rivers merge and as a result of a chemical reaction with the substances in each river, one more river forms which has a beautiful azure and sky blue colour. To the eye as well as pictures it’s quite mesmerising and the fixation you get is almost unreal, it looks fake. I would call it ‘A Disney Style Rainforest’. Our windy yet slightly more signposted walk gave us fantastic views of the river including stepping over dodgy rope bridges and actually seeing the part of the river where it is created. It’s something really special, because you don’t expect that the end is quiet, peaceful and small. You can literally be alongside the point of it forming and there’s no hoards of tourists to spoil nature in action. Aside of that, the waterfall, although not as stunning as our previous, was quite special as you watch the white water rapidly fall down the steep cliff face and once again switch to blue in the pool below to carry on its journey. Walking can be tiring and when you’ve reached that last steep step up from the waterfall, nothing beats a good relax than the relief of sitting in an outside jacuzzi playing cards and drinking a Mojito…travelling is hard. Unfortunately, Costa Rica, very close neighbours to the Caribbean seem to lack basic knowledge of making Mojitos, so we had a fresh natural lemonade instead. As the evening drew in I tucked into the smallest yet most tender pork ribs ever invented, so much so that it was the first time I actually used a knife and fork to eat ribs. Plus added to that, I pushed it down with a couple of glasses of my now favourite Malbec red wine. The night was ended as my partner punished the last few hours of my birthday by winning all 4 games of cards, even though she persisted to say that bad luck in games, is good luck in love, which meant that she did love me – fortunately my wine intake that evening was enough to persuade me that was a fictional argument I was never going to win and that sleep was far higher on the agenda. Luxury soon turned into realisation on our last day when I resulted to using the hairdryer as a dry cleaning method for my underwear. At $5 dollars a garment, I was hardly going to leave this down to room service to clean my most prized possessions. For a rare moment is was my turn to keep the key card on the trip and within possession for around 5 minutes I had managed to wipe it by placing it next to my mobile phone – FYI, that’s why I don’t keep the card. As we chilled out for the rest of the day, we made full use of our little hut by watching a film from our queen sized bed and super TV whilst the rain was filling up the already filled swimming pool. Luckily later in the day it had warmed up according the my partner, in actual fact it was the “right temperature” – of course its the right temperature if you insist on wearing a fleece, trousers and scarf in Costa Rica. The morning of the 9th at breakfast I was greeted with much apologises from the only staff member that seemed to care it was my birthday. Unfortunately he wasn’t there on the day and apologised for his staff’s inability to deliver a small slither of chocolate cake. So, after feeding ourselves to the brim to make some money back and last for the day ahead, I was finally surprised with my ‘better late than never’ chocolate cake and a candle – despite being immoderately incapacitated, I discovered “I can have my cake and eat it”.