We are home! After nine weeks traveling we landed in Denver last night and spent our first night in 2014 on US soil. I will be writing a 9 week post and updating the travel guides soon, but for now I am spending a lot of time catching up from being gone (taxes, dealing with mail, getting ready to leave again etc.). It is really nice to be home, although we are still living in suitcases, crashing at Logan’s parents house and friends couches.
Our last four days in Costa Rica were spent on the Caribbean side of the country, in Puerto Viejo. Crossing the country took the better part of the day and when we arrived we didn’t have anywhere to stay. We stopped at Hostel Pagalu, where pretty much everyone we had met told us to stay, but it was full, so we ended up following a guy who said there was room at his hotel. We ended up staying where he led us, La Casa de Rolando, in an “apartment”, where we had our own kitchen and little patio with a table and chairs. It was really nice to have our own space, even though we had to pay a little more, and our own kitchen. We were all feeling a little strapped for cash, so we cooked most of our own food while in Puerto Viejo (oatmeal, chicken, rice, chips, our Central American staples). I was SO excited when we found popcorn at the grocery store and I ate at least a bowl of popcorn a day (if you know me well then you know that that is not abnormal, but it felt like home in a way nothing else on the trip has).
Puerto Viejo has a more rasta-vibe than the other towns we visited, due to its location on the Caribbean coast, and the beach is at the center of life. There are five or so really good beaches within an hour of town, and most people ride around on bikes, up and down the coast. We were too lazy to rent bikes (surprise, surprise) and the overcast weather did not lend itself to tanning (nor did our recovering sunburns), but one day we walked to the closet beach, Playa Cocles. The water was beautiful and warm and clear, and the sand on the beaches was soft and white. We spent the day reading, and mostly staying out of the water in order to protect our sunscreened skin and avoid another burning.
Another day we rode the bus to the town of Cahuita, where Cahuita National Park is located, to do one last bit of sightseeing before we left Costa Rica. We went on a Sunday when the beaches were packed with locals enjoying their day at the free national park (donations seemed to be not just welcome but expected), so it was too loud to see any wildlife. We decided to do as the locals were doing and spent our final day at the beach, reading and laying in the sun that was finally peeking through the clouds.
We honestly did very while in Puerto Viejo, partly due to the weather and partly due to all of us wanting to soak up the last bits of available relaxation time. We read. And read. And read some more. In those four days Chelsea and I finished two books each and started in on a third. It was the perfect, relaxing way to end the trip, doing what we have come to do best, laying in hammocks with our kindles in hand.
After a night spent in San Jose we were off t0 Houston, the worst airport in America (probably not really, but we have not had good experiences there) and then home. Good-bye to Costa Rica and Central America!