I left Playa Tamarindo on the Northwest coast of Costa Rica (and Dreamsea) on January 30th, 2018. I was traveling with one Spaniard and two Catalans (who speak Spanish, obviously) and we hitched a ride at 5:00 in the morning in order to catch the 6:00 am bus to Liberia. Of course, the bus came at 7:15 instead, but, you know, Pura Vida Tico Time etc. Once on the bus, we were able to sleep a bit, then arrive in Liberia in time to eat some food and catch the 9:30 bus to “La Frontera” or the border.
The landscape began to change the closer we got to the border, It became a bit more green for some reason. Crossing the border to Nicaragua was an exercise in paying for my privilege. It costs twelve UNITED STATES DOLLARS to enter Nicaragua, and that’s after you pay an $8 exit fee on the Costa Rica. I have literally never had to pay to enter or exit and country and this notion is ridiculous to me, but…it kind of makes sense with the tourist economies that these countries have.
Anyway, after about an hour and a half of standing with our over-heavy pack on, we finally decided to opt for a taxi to San Juan del Sur. Our alternate option was to find a public Nicaraguan bus to the main hub of Rivas and then another bus from there to San Juan del Sur, buuuuuut. We had already been traveling for seven hours and we were pretty excited to feel some sand on our feet instead of having our thighs stick to the hot pleather of the US school buses that are used as public transport in Nicaragua. So we paid the extra money to get a car ride, which was totally worth it.
We had lost the spaniard by that time to the throws of a private bus, so it was just me and my two amigas. I got to ride in the middle and watch both sides of the thin piece of land between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Nicaragua pass by. The two volcanoes that make up Ometepe Island came into view, huge, hulking masses that rise out of the vastness of a roiling, opaque lake. On my left, an extremely pastoral view of lush horse pastures. The breeze coming through the windows of the car blew my hair off my face and cooled the sweat on my neck. The car was quiet, and a feeling of peace and happiness washed over me as a realized my good fortune of being where I was.
Soon enough we were in San Juan del Sur, staying at a little home that a family had renovated to rent out the rooms in the back. It was my first time living inside in about three and a half week, and, I’m not going to lie, it was pretty nice. We walked the short way down to the beach, a small one compared to Tamarindo, closed in on both sides by high cliffs. The cliff to the north holds a large statue of my man, Jesus, on top, looking out for the residents of the small city. After a dinner at a seafood restaurant, we were pretty bushed and went to bed early to recover from our travel day.
Next up: In Which I Learn the Meaning of Nicaraguan Chicken Buses