LASA Tour 2009-10
Mon 20 Jul 2009 - Thu 30 Jul 2009 32 °C
Wednesday 22 July 2009
I arrived in Santa Elena the day before. I took a guided tour to the Santa Elena cloud forest. It would of been more appropriate to call it a rain forest. We saw some birds, mostly humming birds which are way too fast to get a photo of, and caterpillas and millipedes. Also people kept taking photos of flowers so I thought I had better as well in case they were rare ones, not that I would know. It would of been a lot cheaper to have got an unguided tour but nevermind. I enjoyed the walk back to Santa Elena more as the weather had improved a lot.
Thursday 23 July 2009
I got up at 04:30 am and joined four others who were making a trek up one of the nearby hills to get a good view. Apparently on a good day you can see Volcan Arenal if you get there by 07:00 am. Well we did but once again it was too cloudy, not sure when that good day is! However I really enjoyed the walk as it was quite steep and the group had a laugh while we were at the peak.
Friday 24 July 2009
I done the hanging bridges tour which is also in the cloud forest. On this we actually saw more birds and animals. We even saw a stick insect, see if you can spot it in the photo below. Near the end of the tour we saw a anteater.
Saturday 25 July 2009
Another early start as I had to get the bus to San Jose. Bus journey times in Costa Rica are long with average speeds of about 10mph.
Sunday 26 July 2009
Early start yet again. Today was great, I went rafting on the Rio Pacuare. It wasn't too difficult with grades 3 & 4 rapids. You get breakfast before you start and after four hours of rafting have lunch. No one from our raft fell overboard unlike the others. It was really good fun and well worth the money. My shoulders are really aching now.
Monday 27 July 2009
I done a tour which starts off driving you up to see the Volcan Irazu, I thought there would be more trekking involved. At the top was really windy so you couldn't get too close to the edge. There were some animals around, as usual I am not sure what they are called, and people can fed them. I was a bit cautious due to an earlier Monkey incident you might recall. Afterwards we visited some churches and a botanical garden, not more flowers!, which I found a bit boring.
Tuesday 28 July 2009
Stayed in Mariposa hostel in San Gerardo De Rivas, this is at the start of Chirripo National Park. The hostel was great, it has been built around big bolders which make up some of the walls and even the base of the bed. Absolutely loved the place. I was sharing the room with two women from Quebec that had told me about the place on the bus. They were France, yes that's her first name, and Diane her mother. San Gerardo is up in the hills and has rivers running through it with great views and plenty of humming birds.
Wednesday 29 July 2009
The trek to Cerro Chirripo, the highest point, begins about 50 metres from the hostel. You walk the first 15 kms up hill and stay in a huge cabin near the summit. There is a small cabin on the way up at 7.5 km to get a rest and have something to eat but i don't recommend the toilet! The trek was fairly step but steady until the 8 km to 10 km part. This was really steep, especially after eating lunch. Also you are carrying abou 10 kgs on your back as well because it gets cold at the top so you need a sleeping bag, jumper (or two!) and jeans. Along the trek up you see a lot of wildlife like birds and lizzards. Unfortunately or fortunately I didn't see any Jaguares, which are in the area, or Monkeys (those vicious little buggers!). At a leisurely pace with plenty of breaks it took over 8 hours. The weather was perfect as it did not rain. And best of all France and Diane done the cooking so great day all round.
Thursday 30 July 2009
Earliest start yet at 04:00 am. We start off with the trek to the peak which is 10 km there and back to the cabins. It was a bit cloudy but this time I was pleased as it makes you realise how high you are when you look down on the peaks showing through the clouds. I think Diane done great to complete it as she is 51. This part took just over 5 hours. Back at the cabin I told France & Diane that I would be rushing back to San Gerardo and not stopping to wait for them as I was concearned about my knee. I have had a bit of trouble with the descents so my thinking was get as far down as quickly as I can before it starts playing up. I done the trek down in a super fast time of 3 hours 15 mins, I know this was fast as I overtook everyone else who had left earlier that morning (ok I will stop showing off).
When France and Diane returned to the hostel they and a Dutch lady who was looking after the place made the dinner. The next day I headed to Panama and they headed to the beach, I shall miss them (even though they speak French) as we had a great time together.
I recommend the Chirripo trek. I had stayed in other places up in the hills and was disappointed that there were no trails for trekking. This had it all. Great scenery, a tough hike and a cabin up near the peak to stay. Perfect.