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We are off to find the wizard!

a travel blog by coopsandbets


It's been forever in the planning but finally we pulled up our socks, dusted off our backpacks, bought some luscious new travel towels and we were off. Plan is 6 weeks in central America, 6 weeks in NZ and then settling down to be grown ups (or just sponge off those we know) for a year in our homeland Australia! ;-)
Bring on the adventure and terrifying insects! Eek!!!

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San Jose, Costa Rica




permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 18, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
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Alajuela, Costa Rica




permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 18, 2010 from Alajuela, Costa Rica
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Liberia, Costa Rica




permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 18, 2010 from Liberia, Costa Rica
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The jungles of Costa Rica

Granada, Nicaragua


Well, sorry it has taken so long to get going but we have been too busy having fun and getting to grips with the Central American ways!!!

We arrived in San Jose now over a week ago to be greeted by prostitutes on the drive from the airport to the hostel! Nice! Was not all bad though as the hostel was nice and fed us delicious pancakes for breakfast! Nyum nyum! We didnt stay long in San Jose as essentially it has little to offer apart from the crazy food market where we had Casados (a traditional dish) and lovely national theatre where we found out how Costa Ricans used to dress to go to the theatre.....really educational!!!! :-S

We soon moved onto Alajuela where we went to a Butterfly farm where we both turned into little children squealing "ooo look at this one, look at this one!" A newly hatched butterfly actually climbed on our hands as it seemed dazed and confused...it was very exciting!!! We also went to a national park to look at Volcan Poas (a non active volcano crater) however when we got there we were greeted by a sea of white clouds and therefore could see sweet FA! This gave us rage until after waiting patiently for ages it slightly cleared and we managed to get a glimpse (ish!) but we did see another crater lagoon which was beautiful and had turquoise water!!

On our travels on some questionable bus journeys (including some super narrow deathly mountain roads!) we have been able to admire some of the amazing Costa Rican scenery - lush green hills, gushing rivers, rows upon rows of coffee plantations and brightly coloured houses alongside corrugated iron roofed shacks!

We thought we needed to embrace the outdoors by embarking on a small hike from La Fortuna, our next destination. We enquired about the standard tourist packages, but thought "oh no no no" we can use our own initiative and do it alone! It turns out the 6km "hike" up and down (!!!) the extinct volcano Cerro Chatto was something of a nightmare! After the first 5 minutes in the midday sun we soon realised this was not going to be so much fun! We thought upon entering the rainforest the shade would make the experience somewhat more enjoyable, however when we began to climb over tree roots on the near vertical path (if you can call it that) the banterous team spirit started to dwindle! This was marginally interrupted by Lauras over-excited sighting of a monkey/sloths tail swinging from a tree...as cameras were quickly grabbed from bags some stinky Germans waltzed up and shattered the illusion by announcing it was a merely a leaf and then just bogged off, leaving us very disheartened! The jungle seemed to go on forever with no sight of the top and we started to lose the will when our clothes were soaked, beads were rolling down our faces and mud covered our hands and knees! After what seemed like hours we reached the top only to be greeted by a pants view point and feeling a little sick. We then had a further climb down to the lagoon in the crater, being rained on and going down on our bums made us question "Why god! WHHHY!" We returned to our hostel feeling like Zombies and aware that the aching limbs were going to come thick and fast!

The blow was softened by a fun evening with some new hostel friends from the Cayman Islands (no we didn´t know where they were either!) and a game of guess the song (don´t ask!) We also made a visit to a super tall (we curently cannot remember exact measurements) waterfall and attempted to swim in the breath-takingly cold pool at the bottom! This only lasted a few minutes as we kept getting pushed back towards the rocks. So instead we found a nice calm spot where we chilled on the rocks in the sunshine and could dip our toes.

We then journeyed on lots of pubic buses to Liberia (attempts of speaking spanish ensued with Laura realising she remembered shockingly little of her gcse spanish lessons with Miss.Hernandez and Letty coming to the rescue as some sort of bilingual saviour!) The hostel was a little questionable, but the friendly peruvian owner (and the big comfy hammocks) made up for it! Strict demands were made when considering our next visit to a national park, that it must be "flat". So we headed off on a nature trail at Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja. We took this very slowly as any sudden movements were proving too much as we still ached. We spent the entire circuit with necks strained looking up at the trees for a sight of any of the array of wildlife we had been told so much about. Our excitement was clear when we first saw some Coatis (racoon type cute animal) and some weird giant orange rat look-a-likes that we found out were called "agouti"! We saw some natural hot springs, mud pots, waterfalls and what they called a mini volcano (!?!) After some fellow walkers told us they had seen some monkeys we were very disappointed we had missed out. But whilst quietly eating lunch Letty spied some monkeying around out the corner of her eye! We were VERY excited and our cameras have now been filled!

Unfortunately we are now sitting with some horrendously itchy "mountain-mosquito" bites! Aaaaagh! (we are hoping they dont carry any sort of diseases we don´t know about!!!)

Costa Rica - DONE!

Today we arrived in Granada, Nicaragua...more to follow on the next episode...!

  • Coming up - Laura´s new friend, a kitten the size of a fist!!! weep weep!*


  • Love to all you Englanders - we hear its getting cold...moohahaha!

    xxxx




    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 18, 2010 from Granada, Nicaragua
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    Leon, Nicaragua




    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Leon, Nicaragua
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    Siguatepeque, Honduras




    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Siguatepeque, Honduras
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    San Pedro Sula, Honduras




    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from San Pedro Sula, Honduras
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    Copan, Honduras




    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Copan, Honduras
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    Colonial exploration in Nicaragua

    Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala


    Coming over to Nicaragua was the first of many crazy border crossings, which have turned out to be fairly hectic affairs with people trying to rip us off left, right and bloody centre! Luckily a local Costa Rican American (possible drug smuggler) told us the 411...essentially just pay everyone off. The bus dumped us in the sweltering heat on the side of a road in Granada. For some reason, it was far hotter in Nicaragua than the muggy tropicalness of Costa Rica. The fact that our hostel dorm had no air con/fans/any kind of ventilation, meant that we spent the whole time feeling grossly clammy. As previously mentioned, there was the cutest, tiniest kitten at the hostel...still not too sure if it was a stray but Coops wanted to put it in her backpack and also feared that someone would tread on it in the night!!

    Granada was the first of our colonial towns and was definitely an exciting change of scenery. Our first venture around town was filled with lots of photo opportunities of the beautiful buildings, every single house painted a different bright colour. The main square had horse drawn (cant really call them) carriages with some slightly sad looking horses, which made Bets feel bad. We also made ourselves want to cry by venturing into some of the lush hotels that surrounded the plaza. They had beautiful courtyards and swimming pools which we were close to jumping into with our clothes on! We got very excited when we found a cute cafe (with book shop on the side) and completely forgot that we werent supposed to be drinking tap water when we both ordered an iced coffee. Bets felt the consequences the next day...eek!! Endeavours to find the supermarket were slightly unsuccessful (as we made our way through the bussling, market street as darkness approached) so we were forced to eat out and were severely disappointed. We ended up in some American sports bar near to our hostel...the only redeeming factor was the fact that we were entertained by a drunken American couple but Coops food was essentially kfc and Bets had a "baguette" in a burger bun.

    The next day we made our way (with the help of a friendly nun!) to a market in Masaya. Lots of handicrafts, souvenirs and some local tat! We allowed ourselves a few treats, both of us deliberating for ages on what colour hairband to get!! After a quick lunch from a barbeque in the main square we were pointed in all different directions to find a bus to Lago (lagoon) del Apoyo. We have found this a lot.....even though the locals are trying to be helpful, quite often they dont really know what theyre talking about!! This may have something to do with the language barrier! As usual we were thrown off the chicken bus at the top of the lake and had to walk downhill for about 45 minutes to reach it....when we got there we werent even sure we had the right place, because the beach was fairly questionable! However the view was stunning and the water crystal clear. Even though we had bikinis at the ready, we only managed a quick paddle and stopped for a drink, which Bets managed to through all over herself due to being zonked out from the heat and mugginess. The journey back was a nightmare as it was a sunday evening and the buses had stopped running...so we ended up forking out for a taxi (again!) Another extremely disappointing meal was had in the main square that night, where we thought theyd accidentally given us childrens portions. We havent managed to find any really tasty food as a lot seems to be fried, american stylee (The US influence is a lot more noticeable than we were expecting). Weve been trying to be "economical" by having endless ham sandwiches with crisps to liven it up a little...two weeks on and we didnt realise you could actually hate a piece of meat!!

    We took a tour around the isletas (little islands) of the nearby lake with a fairly useless guide, who quite happily told us he doesnt speak much english....helpful! The islands are really cute..some tiny with a family living in a shack and others massive with wealthy nicaraguans owning their holiday homes here (the ex president Samosa had one!). The highlight, once again, was animal related as one of the islands creatively named monkey island was home to 4 monkeys who came right up to the boat as we approached and we were actually a little bit scared...do monkeys have rabies?!?

    Then we went up to Leon, another impressive colonial town but much less restored. We stayed in one of the happening hostels, with some real traveller types! We befriended some of the many Germans that seem to be travelling here, through the use of the tiny communal kitchen. We decided that we could finally allow ourselves the luxury of a day of rest, in the form of sunbathing! Once again, wed been informed by some helpful locals (?!?) that the beach at Las Penitas was beautiful. After a long excited bus journey we arrived to find the beach completely deserted and the (kind of) grey sand frigging boiling! We set up camp only to be perved on by some local guys who came out of nowhere so decided to quickly move on and placed ourselves in front of a hostel for safety! (Mums...be proud). The waves were huge and rough but we were so hot and covered in sand that we had to brave them. Bets managed this with the well practiced trick of diving head on into the wave. Unfortunately Coops didnt know about this! She took two steps in and mild panic set in. When the wave hit her, her little pegs couldnt take the force and she got totally wiped out! This would of been ok...had it not been for the subsequent two other waves that then went over her head with Bets shouting from a distance "watch out!!!" She appeared after a full salt water nasal flush looking confused, disorientated and slightly traumatised. As a result...she is still picking sand out of her hair!!! It was hilarious though! The long anticipated icecream had to wait until we returned to town and we shotgunned the only 2 hammocks in the hostel to munch down on them....good times!! We cooked a slightly interesting version of a spanish tortilla...we really need to get to grips with cooking in hostels!

    This finished off our adventures in Nicaragua and we were then going to be moving quickly on to Honduras....

  • Coming Up! The 3am wake up to get on a stinky chicken bus to the border (we use this term loosely!*


  • Lots of love from a currently rainy (so we are hiding in an internet cafe) Central America!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
    from the travel blog: We are off to find the wizard!
    Send a Compliment

    Colonial exploration in Nicaragua

    Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala


    Coming over to Nicaragua was the first of many crazy border crossings, which have turned out to be fairly hectic affairs with people trying to rip us off left, right and bloody centre! Luckily a local Costa Rican American (possible drug smuggler) told us the 411...essentially just pay everyone off. The bus dumped us in the sweltering heat on the side of a road in Granada. For some reason, it was far hotter in Nicaragua than the muggy tropicalness of Costa Rica. The fact that our hostel dorm had no air con/fans/any kind of ventilation, meant that we spent the whole time feeling grossly clammy. As previously mentioned, there was the cutest, tiniest kitten at the hostel...still not too sure if it was a stray but Coops wanted to put it in her backpack and also feared that someone would tread on it in the night!!

    Granada was the first of our colonial towns and was definitely an exciting change of scenery. Our first venture around town was filled with lots of photo opportunities of the beautiful buildings, every single house painted a different bright colour. The main square had horse drawn (cant really call them) carriages with some slightly sad looking horses, which made Bets feel bad. We also made ourselves want to cry by venturing into some of the lush hotels that surrounded the plaza. They had beautiful courtyards and swimming pools which we were close to jumping into with our clothes on! We got very excited when we found a cute cafe (with book shop on the side) and completely forgot that we werent supposed to be drinking tap water when we both ordered an iced coffee. Bets felt the consequences the next day...eek!! Endeavours to find the supermarket were slightly unsuccessful (as we made our way through the bussling, market street as darkness approached) so we were forced to eat out and were severely disappointed. We ended up in some American sports bar near to our hostel...the only redeeming factor was the fact that we were entertained by a drunken American couple but Coops food was essentially kfc and Bets had a "baguette" in a burger bun.

    The next day we made our way (with the help of a friendly nun!) to a market in Masaya. Lots of handicrafts, souvenirs and some local tat! We allowed ourselves a few treats, both of us deliberating for ages on what colour hairband to get!! After a quick lunch from a barbeque in the main square we were pointed in all different directions to find a bus to Lago (lagoon) del Apoyo. We have found this a lot.....even though the locals are trying to be helpful, quite often they dont really know what theyre talking about!! This may have something to do with the language barrier! As usual we were thrown off the chicken bus at the top of the lake and had to walk downhill for about 45 minutes to reach it....when we got there we werent even sure we had the right place, because the beach was fairly questionable! However the view was stunning and the water crystal clear. Even though we had bikinis at the ready, we only managed a quick paddle and stopped for a drink, which Bets managed to through all over herself due to being zonked out from the heat and mugginess. The journey back was a nightmare as it was a sunday evening and the buses had stopped running...so we ended up forking out for a taxi (again!) Another extremely disappointing meal was had in the main square that night, where we thought theyd accidentally given us childrens portions. We havent managed to find any really tasty food as a lot seems to be fried, american stylee (The US influence is a lot more noticeable than we were expecting). Weve been trying to be "economical" by having endless ham sandwiches with crisps to liven it up a little...two weeks on and we didnt realise you could actually hate a piece of meat!!

    We took a tour around the isletas (little islands) of the nearby lake with a fairly useless guide, who quite happily told us he doesnt speak much english....helpful! The islands are really cute..some tiny with a family living in a shack and others massive with wealthy nicaraguans owning their holiday homes here (the ex president Samosa had one!). The highlight, once again, was animal related as one of the islands creatively named monkey island was home to 4 monkeys who came right up to the boat as we approached and we were actually a little bit scared...do monkeys have rabies?!?

    Then we went up to Leon, another impressive colonial town but much less restored. We stayed in one of the happening hostels, with some real traveller types! We befriended some of the many Germans that seem to be travelling here, through the use of the tiny communal kitchen. We decided that we could finally allow ourselves the luxury of a day of rest, in the form of sunbathing! Once again, wed been informed by some helpful locals (?!?) that the beach at Las Penitas was beautiful. After a long excited bus journey we arrived to find the beach completely deserted and the (kind of) grey sand frigging boiling! We set up camp only to be perved on by some local guys who came out of nowhere so decided to quickly move on and placed ourselves in front of a hostel for safety! (Mums...be proud). The waves were huge and rough but we were so hot and covered in sand that we had to brave them. Bets managed this with the well practiced trick of diving head on into the wave. Unfortunately Coops didnt know about this! She took two steps in and mild panic set in. When the wave hit her, her little pegs couldnt take the force and she got totally wiped out! This would of been ok...had it not been for the subsequent two other waves that then went over her head with Bets shouting from a distance "watch out!!!" She appeared after a full salt water nasal flush looking confused, disorientated and slightly traumatised. As a result...she is still picking sand out of her hair!!! It was hilarious though! The long anticipated icecream had to wait until we returned to town and we shotgunned the only 2 hammocks in the hostel to munch down on them....good times!! We cooked a slightly interesting version of a spanish tortilla...we really need to get to grips with cooking in hostels!

    This finished off our adventures in Nicaragua and we were then going to be moving quickly on to Honduras....

  • Coming Up! The 3am wake up to get on a stinky chicken bus to the border (we use this term loosely!*


  • Lots of love from a currently rainy (so we are hiding in an internet cafe) Central America!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    permalink written by  coopsandbets on September 26, 2010 from Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
    from the travel blog: We are off to find the wizard!
    Send a Compliment

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