Friday, April 29, 2016

Costa Rica Diary - Montezuma

Happy Friday, guys! Do you have any great plans for the weekend? I'm staying with my parents for a few days so I'm gonna spend the weekend catching up with my family and some friends, studying and blogging.
Today's post is about Montezuma, a very charming little place on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. A friend of mine who lived in Costa Rica for a while recommended it to me so my boyfriend and I just had to check it out. From La Fortuna we took a public bus to Puntarenas and from there a ferry to Paquera on Peninsula Nicoya. The ferry surely is a good option to get to the peninsula, it's only around $1.70 per person and way more comfortable than a bus. Another bus ride and at night we finally arrived at Montezuma at night. My boyfriend started looking for a hostel while I was waiting at the beach with the luggage. We did it like that most of the time. So he finally found something. We had a simple but cozy room at the hostel Pura Vida, a lovely chill out place with lots of nice people. You'll see some photos at the end of this post. On our first night we didn't do much cause we were pretty exhausted from traveling all day, plus we weren't used to the heat on the Pacific coast and just wanted to relax. So the next day we walked around a little, bought some food at the supermarket and explored the village of Montezuma. I loved the vibes of this place, everything was so colorful and laid-back, the expression 'pura vida' surely matches this spot perfectly.

Later during the day we walked to the waterfall of Montezuma. It was not as big or impressive as the ones we had seen in La Fortuna but equally beautiful. Since it was dry season there wasn't much water flowing but it was still pretty. The Montezuma waterfall is separated into three parts and you can swim in different pools. My boyfriend and I climbed up the hill to get to the third and upper pool from where you could jump down to the lower one. I actually didn't jump because I was afraid to hit some rocks but my boyfriend did and surely had a fantastic time! I went swimming, jumped into the smaller pool and also had a pedicure by some fishes. You know these tiny ones who attack your feet the minute you put them in the water? A lot of spas make money with that, well in Costa Rica you get it for free, haha!

Our day ended at the beach. After so much walking in La Fortuna the last few days and climbing up to the top of the waterfall we were exhausted, even more because it was crazy hot. We found a nice spot at the end of Montezuma's beach with a hammock under the palm trees. So we had some relaxing last hours by the sea before dinner. The bikini I'm wearing is from Mylo Beachwear, a Mallorquin company that makes beautiful handmade crochet beachwear (check out their Instagram here). It's super soft and comfortable and you can perfectly combine it with denim shorts and some casual shirt. I hope you like the photos of our day in Montezuma!

Our hostel Pura Vida

Monday, April 25, 2016

Costa Rica Diary - La Catarata de La Fortuna

Hey there, everyone! Did you all have a great weekend? Mine was pretty quiet, I had to do some university stuff, went to the gym every day and prepared more Costa Rica posts for you. In two weeks I'll head back to Mallorca in Spain so I wanna finish the Costa Rica diary series before.
Today you get to see more waterfall pics because you know, I have a thing for waterfalls, haha. After our exhausting but fantastic trip to La Fortuna's volcanos we wanted to check out the famous Catarata de La Fortuna the next day. It's a pretty touristy place and we first thought it was kinda annoying that you have to pay $12 to get to see a waterfall. However, we really wanted to check it out because it's one of La Fortuna's biggest natural attractions so we didn't wanna miss it. We took a cab with Kathrin and Timo to the entrance of the waterfall park because it was too far away from our hotel and we weren't really in the mood to walk much that day. Once we arrived we payed and entered the park that susprised us with a stunning view of the waterfall right away. You could see the entire forest and cascade from a platform, it was pretty impressive to see it from so far away. And once again I thought Costa Rica is such a paradise with all its magical beaches, jungles and waterfalls.
From there we had to take what felt like millions of steps down to the cascade. Getting closer you could feel the power of the roaring water drop about 70-75 meter. It was such a beautiful scenery which made me fall in love with Costa Rica even more. Once we arrived at the bottom of the stream we met more people. To be honest, it was pretty crowded and therefore not as magical for me as the other waterfall from my last post. Tourists always destroy the experience somehow. However, we couldn't wait to dip into the crystal clear water. It was freezing and the waterfall so strong that you couldn't even get close to it. The force of the water was pushing you away which was actually really fun for us. It's pretty dangerous to get closer to the stream so you should stay away from it anyway.
After refreshing ourselves we went a little further to a beautiful lagoon right next to the cascade. We stayed a while there, went swimming again and had a fun photo shoot.
After a few hours at the Catarata de La Fortuna we wanted to check out the famous hot springs of La Fortuna. Outside of the park we found two great Swiss guys who gave us a lift to the hot river. There are several spots to enjoy a bath in the hot springs of La Fortuna but for most of them you have to pay a lot of money and they are pretty polished and therefore don't look very natural. We decided to try the free and wilder version, a hot river flowing from the volcano through La Fortuna. We had such a blast in the hot springs, it felt like sitting in a huge hot jacuzzi surrounded by a wild forest with people from all over the world. I couldn't believe how hot the water was, it was so relaxing I could've stayed in there forever. Costa Rica is just full of surprises!

The hot springs

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Costa Rica Diary - Volcanos and Waterfalls

Hey there, hope you all had a great week so far! I'm studying and organizing all the photos I took in Costa Rica which is a whole lotta work because I took about a million pics, haha. So here's a new post for you about one of the most adventurous days of our trip.
We decided to hike to the Cerro Chato Volcano, which is a 'dead' volcano in La Fortuna with a green lagoon in its crater. From there we went to a waterfall and finally to the still active but sleeping Arenal Volcano which you can see in the first picture of this post. You can do the entire tour with a guide who leads you to all the places we've been to and later to some hot springs, it's about $50-60 per person. However, we decided to do the whole trip by ourselves without any guide or bigger group since we're the curious adventurers you'll see getting lost in the rainforest and experiencing the greatest stuff, haha!
We got up early in the morning to start our hike with Timo and Kathrin, a German couple we met two days before in Monteverde and who stayed with us in La Fortuna. We took a cab to the starting point of our tour and from there did the rest walking, like eleven hours! Not kidding, we started at 8am and got back to our hotel about 9pm. Getting up the Cerro Chato Volcano was rough. I was really struggling, the path was surely not the easiest one. We had to lift up our legs really high all the time and sometimes even slip down some parts of the track on our butts because it was so muddy! Even though it was a whole lotta hard work to get up that first volcano it was also a very fulfilling experience. I was beyond proud of us when we finally reached the green lagoon after an almost four-hour hike. I was also super happy to have Timo and Kathrin with us cause without them it would've been even harder, we helped each other overcome a lot of difficulties. So finally we went to swim in the lagoon in the Cerro Chato Volcano's crater. The water was freezing but actually felt pretty good after the challenging hike. And hey, how many persons can actually say 'I went for a swim in a volcano's crater'? Pretty cool thing I'd say!
After a while more and more people arrived so we decided to keep walking. At the lagoon we met Ethan and Courtnee, a lovely Canadian couple, who continued their trip with us. We had such a great laugh, three Germans, one Spanish guy and two Canadians exploring the volcanos and waterfalls of Costa Rica, what a unique experience! When we arrived at the waterfall in the national park I was simply stunned! I had seen a waterfall in Germany before but the tropical surroundings, the force of the water and the fact that it was just us six and the waterfall made this whole experience so unique and unforgettable for me! We couldn't wait to take of our clothes and jump into the freezing water. And there it was, my PURA VIDA MOMENT! The pure life in all its beauty, what a magical place The roaring water left me breathless. I remember I was just standing there on a rock screaming 'pura vida' all the time like a crazy person that has just fallen in love with mother nature. The force of the water pushing us back was incredible. Timo helped us get up a rock so we could stand under the water falling down. It was so powerful and felt kinda healing and cleansing, you know like as if you were just reborn. The water was so strong that my head actually started hurting after a while, haha. So we left our oasis and kept walking.
Our last stop was the Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica's biggest ones. Like I said in the other post, it was the first volcano I had ever seen. We had to cross a hotel property to get to a deck from where we had a stunning and close view of the volcano. Could the end of our excursion have been any more perfect?
As soon as it got dark we took a shuttle back to the village of La Fortuna to have some dinner together at a typical Costa Rican place. I had some very yummy traditional food, rice and beans with chicken and salad. It was such a great treat after hiking, jumping and swimming the entire day without any breaks. Now that I'm sitting here in Germany writing this blog post I'm thinking of how close you can get with people you've just met when you spent hours walking, exploring things and having wow moments together like the one I had in the waterfall. I loved meeting Timo and Kathrin, Ethan and Courtnee and of course having my boyfriend with me on that adventure. I just wish we could all sit together now, exhausted as we were, having 'tico' food at the end of an amazing day, laughing and just enjoying life <3

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