Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Costa Rica
So, onward to the unknown. After our relaxing yet exhilarating days in Arenal, we travelled west to the area known as Rincon De La Vieja. During our bus journey our driver decided that to make up for his unnatural unwelcome, he would treat us to a stop off to take some photos of some typical Costa Rican wildlife. First up, was a bunch of possum/raccoon type animals who were munching literally in the middle of the road. Next up, and how he spotted this was beyond me, was a sloth. Now, sloths are everywhere but for some reason we only ever saw 3, this one and 2 curled up sleeping – Kangaroos Part 2. This one luckily wasn’t sleeping and even ended up given us a slow motion ‘Darn Darn Daaaaarn’ moment (YouTube ‘Dramatic Sloth’). After a long drive, we finally reached Liberia, a town near our final destination of Curubandé. Arriving on Easter Friday and as we found out, spending the Easter weekend in Rincon De La Vieja isn’t exactly ideal as everything goes quiet in an already quiet town. One thing quite bizarre about this place, was the complete randomness of the shops; three shops in a row consisted of a stuffed toy shop, tobacconist and a Christian religion shop. Originally our plan was to get a taxi, but kindly our driver offered to make a call to his mate who also had a similar mini van and take us for free to our final destination. After travelling miles upon miles in an almost one hour journey, we finally made it to our destination, 10 mins drive away from Liberia – yes, Google Maps had once again managed to get us all confused, but the great thing was we had the help of our accommodation whose simple directions consisted of ‘600 meters from the bridge’. All in all, we couldn’t complain as it was free, plus drivers in Costa Rica always add in a little value for money by giving you facts about the country, pointing out animals and being generally very helpful, almost like a tour. On our arrival into our accommodation or more accurately our room in the middle of a farm in the middle of nowhere, we discovered lies were the order of the day. After realising our distance from everything, we were glad to hear that the owner would take us into town to get some groceries and lunch, unfortunately that didn’t happen. After waiting an hour as originally requested, we turned up to the office to find that he wasn’t there, but he was, relaxing in the back room. We had turned up and were clearly ignored and only discovered this when we were told by his staff that he couldn’t take us and that we needed to get a taxi with an extortionate cost, we felt so deserted. Needless to say, we topped up with as much food as possible so we spent the next three days living in the middle of the farm, which in the end turned out to be quite a relaxing time and allowed myself to catch up on the blog. Not just this, but little lies including the cost of a taxi and being charged 25 dollars more just because we paid on card – we wasn’t told this until we had already paid and received our receipt and his excuse was that he had to pay the government for using the card machine. Now, if you own a business you and in this case, I knew that this what’s a fat lie; it’s more like he has to pay tax and he didn’t want to so cash was the way. In the end our three days flew by, including wondering at 8pm in the darkness of night if there was a ‘sweeping ghost’ patrolling the grounds. We spent one of the day’s going for long walks through the dry lands and jungle of the volcano’s grounds. The walks were quite interesting for one main slight inaccuracy, the distances. This specific person, who calculated the distances that were displayed on signs for the walks, was clearly educated in a cave as not even Einstein could of worked out the reasoning behind the metres given. We would see a sign for 800 metres and turns out it would only be 100 metres; we would then see a sign for 250 metres and in would turn out to be just 10 metres. As this impossible calculation of distance went on, we simply relied on our watch and own self belief as we wondered through the landscape with only the slightest most minuscule sign of a beaten footpath. In just under 2 hours we had reached our first attraction, a beautiful waterfall shimmering under the Rays of sunlight that shone from above through the deep rocky hole. The pool was a beautiful blue and light green shade and was reminiscent of a background for a Lorreal “I’m worth it” commercial. Our walk back was tedious although we were grinning at our perfect timing to experience the waterfall with only a few others as many walkers headed to the waterfall while we were on our way back. Rincon De La Vieja was special, but so remote and extremely hot. It’s like visiting the desert of somewhere in Texas or Arizona, it feels lonely and dodgy, but essentially if you get to the other end, you would of experienced something well off the beaten track, away from your typical tourists and a moment of true satisfaction for putting yourself through it. Other Mentions: – There is access to a ‘private’ river and watering hole from the farmland. Again, another lie, it’s not private and you have to walk miles to a place where it was clearly not safe to go in the water so I suggest they loosen their purse strings a little and put in a swimming pool, they’ve clearly got the money and the land. – There is a distinct lack of information when reaching the national park and even if you speak Spanish, the ranger doesn’t seem to care. Despite going into the unknown, you are not offered a map and it’s not well looked after so what you pay $15 dollars per person for, I’ll never know – oh wait I do, they did splurge a bit on some rather pathetic looking pink ribbons that were supposed to tell you where to go, to not go, things to see or whatever they meant, again, you’ll never know, – The area has massive iguanas and on the trunks of trees you’ll see little see through shells in the perfect untouched shape of a rather large flying beetle.