Our time in Costa Rica started with a slightly strange border crossing; after our passports were stamped we made our way over a rickety bridge that would probably be deemed unusuable anywhere other than Central America, followed by a 2km walk in the wrong direction. When we eventually found the bus stop we were rewarded with a horrendously hot and bumpy ride.
Stepping off the bus we were pleasantly surprised to find the beautiful Carribean beach town of Puerto Viejo, full of life...and marijuana.
On our first morning we cycled down the coast to the Jaguar Rescue Centre, which is a non-profit organisation working to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals so they can one day be released back into the wild. The centre, named after its first patient, also houses a fascinating collection of animals including wild cats, sloths, snakes, monkeys, owls, crocodiles, ant eaters, racoons and anything else that's come unstuck along the way.
In the evening we paid a visit to a cosy, candlelit restaurant called Stashus con Fusion. This Indian/Caribbean 'fusion' eatery delivers on both food quality and environment. It has a romantic yet relaxed Caribbean vibe that fits in perfectly with the rest of the town.
We stayed at Hostel Pagalu, a clean, central and socialable establishment managed by weed smoking Germans. A hotspot for backpackers without feeling too busy - get there early for a bed.
After getting our fill of Caribbean sun and rum, we ventured over to the Pacific coast to explore Manuel Antonio. Opting for accomodation closer to Quepos is beneficial to your bank balance and just as easy to access the national park and beaches.
Hostel Plinio is a homely place with a delightful pool and sunset views. If you're lucky you might spot a family of monkeys swinging from the nearby telephone wires. While there, we also met the Two Monkeys Travel bloggers, Kach and Jon, who run an inspiring blog of their adventures around the world.
If you fancy a day by the sea, head down to Playa Biesanz beach, a beautiful cove with fewer tourists and perfect views. We were in for a treat walking down to the beach as a local rescue team were saving an abandoned baby sloth. If you're a regular viewer of Costa Rican wildlife rescue documentaries, which of course you are, you may have seen us in the background as it was all captured on camera.
On the way back we stopped off at Emilio's Café for delicious cake and a game of Yahtzee, a picturesque spot to say the least.
The next day we visited the Manuel Antonio National Park which, although is very touristy and feels vaguely like an Orlando theme park, is actually really great. We opted not to get a tourguide because, as a general rule, we really dislike tourguides.
Top Tip - Use your agility and stealth to follow the guides round as they're pretty good at spotting wildlife and you can have a nosy after they've left the scene.
Our final stop in Costa Rica was the laid back surf town of Santa Teresa. This was the perfect spot to get back on the board after a few years out of action. Be careful where you surf as some of the breaks are pretty bonkers for casual surfers like ourselves.
We spotted a nice horse enjoying the beach too, he was a magnificent chap.
So for the next three days we spent the majority of the time in the water, BBQing on the beach and watching sunsets in the evening. A pretty perfect end to our time in Costa Rica - Pura Vida.
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