Showing posts from 2006

Monteverde - Costa Rica's Eco Adventure Playground.

Jeep-boat-jeep was the way we got to Monteverde from La Fortuna. Let me explain. Option 1 takes you around the volcano, and switches buses to eventually arrive at the final destination some seven or eight hours later. Option 2, on the other hand, starts of in a mini-van (aka jeep), then does the next part in a small boat crossing a lake, and finally back in a "jeep" (yep, that's the mini-van again), to arrive in Monteverde some two and a half hours later. Yes indeedy, we opted for option 2!

The very first thing we noticed about this small town was its much cooler climate. At an elevation of 1200m to 1600m, the fresh air was a refreshing break from the recent humidity we had been experiencing. This area is home to a couple of cloud rainforests and a biological cloud rainforest reserve, but its real draw card is all the canopy tours offered. We settled into a homely little place called "Sleepers Sleep Cheaper". Again, it was cheap, and clean, and this time we wer…

Costa Rica - it's "Pura Vida"!

An early start meant getting up, catching a boat back across from Bastimentos to Bocas del Toro, and then catching another boat a further 45 minutes up north, along the Caribbean coast, to a place called Changuinola. I felt like I was in a National Geographic documentary, as the boat zipped through a narrow channel of water, with lush vegetation on each side, lots of huge tropical trees swaying in the wind, and a plethora of birds, who with their various tones, pitches and squawks, made us feel like we were in a magical paradise.

Changuinola's only purpose, for us, was to be able to catch a bus to the border town of Guabito - Sixaola, which we did so with ease. A tid-bit of information - Changuinola is the place which brings much of the world the famous Chiquita bananas; I am sure that many of you have had these at some point.

The border crossing was fluid, however, I was glad that we had an around-the world-ticket. The woman checking our passports on the Costa Rican side must have…

Bocas del Toro - Archipelago of a different kind.

It is supposed to be one of Panama´s highlights; the archipelago of Bocas Del Toro, in the country´s Caribbean northwest, near the Costa Rican border. We were afforded a comfortable bus ride, as we headed to Almirante, the port from which we would then have to catch a boat to Bocas. The scenery, as in Boquete, continued to be lush and verdant, and as I watched the ebb and flow of the mountainous landscape, my mind seemed to do the same...ebb and flow. It was as if I was coming in and out of consciousness.

When we reached Almirante, I felt every bit conscious! The ebb and flow of the landscape was replaced with garbage...strewn everywhere! After finding out where it was, we headed down to the port, which was a 10 minute walk away. Let me say that Almirante really was a non event, and it was full of litter and stagnant pools of water, on severely potholed roads. As we walked down the road, shooing away flies, I had visions of malaria and dengue. We walked my mind the mosquit…

Panama´s highlands and the world´s youngest backpacker.

Panama has been an experienece that has not stopped with the Kuna Indians! It is a country that has so much to offer, and as usual, we find ourselves saying, ¨We cannot see it all!¨ Having said that, we gave up trying a long time ago! The quest is to see, enjoy and experience, taking each day as it comes.

From Panama City we made our way to David, in the south west of the country. Although it was only a quick stopover , it proved to be quite interesting. Although it has few attractions in its own right, it is a great spot to people watch and see how the real Panamanians (as opposed to tourists) live their lives. An early morning stroll, showed me......fruit and vegetable sellers calling out their prices in a bid to capture the wholsale as well as the retail market, people going about buying poultry, live! There was a lot of hustle and bustle, and it felt fun to be part of it.

One of the main reasons we came to David was to see ¨Los Pozos de Caldera¨, the natural hot springs which lie on…

Panama - From the Canal to the Kuna Indians of San Blas.

I am not really sure as to exactly what I was expecting of Panama....but I have been pleasantly surprised. I kept hearing that it was really Americanised or westernised, but thus far, I have not found that at all. What we have found however, is a multicultural metropolis in Panama City (where we have hooked up with an Alaskan called Robert, aka Paco, and are really enjoying his company) , and an Archipelago called San Blas which appeared to come out of a time machine .

Our first few days were spent in Panama City, just strolling around, and taking in the city sights. It is quite a big city, with lots of variety. The business district, with all of its commercial to-ing and fro-ing could well be Melbourne.....just more hectic! The Old City centre (Casco Antiguo) is a fascinating labrynth of cobbled streets and colonial places, many dilapidated, dating back hundreds of years. And the the Panama Canal is an engineering feat of mind blowing magnitude!

No trip to Panama could possibly be comp…

Florida Getaway!

Travel is often go, go, go! Sometimes it's also about being quiet, and in the moment, but it's a big world out there with so many opportunities, feelings, sensations, cultural practices, and most importantly, people! The challenge for us, each day, is how we will tackle the way in which we wish to interpret what we see! There is no formula, or bar code, except to go with the heart. I believe that each day brings a plethora of opportunities, and our destiny helps with what we will "get out of " that particular day! It has been a gift to be able to experience what we have thus far, and I feel overwhelmed with the knowledge that although we have a year of travel, we will barely scratch the surface!

The flight from Santo Domingo to Miami was pleasant, the wait in passport control was not! 1000 questions, fingerprints, and eyeball scanning! "The freaks" were asked if we had jobs, and how it was that we were travelling for a year.......our salvation was that we we…