How We Cut Through Costa Rica’s High Prices – [Central America E22] Moto Travel Diaries
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Notiers Frontiers Diaries. As you can see, we are in front of our new motorcycle. Not yet to be named. It doesn't look like a motorcycle at the moment. It looks like a hover bike. Don't touch it, because it might very well fall over.
Yeah, it's missing its front tire, it's all scrunched up. All of the suspension. There's no... the back here is ejected up like a wasp about to sting. She will be in a better position coming up soon.
Very true. But today in this episode, we're going to be flashing back to a whole new country for us in Central America, which was Costa Rica. In the last episode, we were in Nicaragua at an incredible island paradise called Ometepe that was in the lake. There's this big two volcanoes coming out of the lake, and we did a bunch of figure eights around it. And we went swimming at the "Eyes of the World" or whatever it was.
"Ojo de Agua," the "Eye of Water." It was so nice, we had such a nice time. Now it was very hot. Yes. It was this tropical island paradise, but we were kind of excited to find ourselves in a place with some modern conveniences. And that's what we heard that Costa Rica could offer. Well, they have eco-tourism, which sounds expensive as heck, but also has its perks of a different draw and different type of tourist.
Yes, there are a lot of Americans, there's whole expat communities there in Costa Rica, a lot more than what we'd found in the countries that we'd just been through. So we were excited for this whole new country. We were warned that it was going to be a bit more expensive than where we were coming from. But it was all with excitement that we headed from Ometepe, we got on the ferry, and then went south to Costa Rica. I could still be at that little tent on...
On Ometepe? The little horses playing on the beach and the birds... It was so nice. But yes, Marisa... I needed a proper shower.
See, I didn't. I didn't. But we left, and we got to the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the first impression, the customs office had glass windows and air-conditioning. And a line where there was, first you do this, and then that, and then the next thing. And it was orderly.
Yeah, it was something that we wouldn't have really noticed if it hadn't been for all the times that we hadn't had those things throughout the border crossings of Central America. We were really impressed, like, "Wow." And looking back on it after having done Africa, it's really nice when there's a window that has the number 1 on it, and then to the right of it is a window with... you guessed it... Number 2! You're in a human assembly line, and it's like making a sandwich at Subway. Yes. It's like that. Yeah, and so it was a very nice greeting.
We were super thrilled to be in a brand new country. And we headed off to a tourist attraction that is super famous in Costa Rica called Mistico Hanging Bridges. And these are basically hanging bridges in this mountainous jungle rain forest with lots of wildlife, and you can tour the rain forest from a canopy vista. And it was extravagant looking online, but so was the ticket stub price.
Yes. I was... whatever, we're cheap. I'm cheap. Marisa is more than willing to spend good money on making a good cause to see good things. And I am... But even I was like... hmmm. It was $50 each to get into this thing, and then another $50 to hire a tour guide.
Right. And if you don't hire a tour guide, there's a chance you'll see nothing. Yeah. But it's not a zoo, right? So there's always a chance you see nothing.
You'll see hanging bridges, and forests, and anything above that is just nature presenting itself. But the tour guides know where to look and stuff. Yeah, that's true. So we were traveling with Phil and Sapna, and on our way to there, we decided to go on a road that was well known to be really beautiful. It hugged a lake called Lake Arenal, and then in the distance you had this beautiful volcano, the Volcán Arenal. And it was a beautiful, beautiful ride.
But as we were going there, we hit a section that was not paved. And it was kind of like this slimy, muddy clay. Yeah, it was kind of dry out, but the road was... it went to garbage.
And it was steep. It was very steep. We were going to split paths eventually anyway, and so we said, "All right, we'll see you further down the road." And they headed off in a different direction, and we continued on along Lake Arenal. From Lake Arenal, we took a bridge over that dam to the Mistico Hanging Gardens.
It was so beautiful. It was like this mountainous jungle landscape that greeted us. And I always refer back to dinosaurs and the time of the dinosaurs, but it was definitely like, "Oh, we're on Jurassic Park Island now." Well, we were on Jurassic Park Boulevard.
To the left is this huge damned off water lake busting up to the very bridge itself. And then to the right, it just cuts back down into the earth. And there were storming clouds... Yeah. It was quite dramatic. It was a really fun, nice little ride.
It was like a yin-yang to the left and to the right. It was two different landscapes. And then we finally get to the Hanging Bridges, and the not so beautiful price tag of getting in. But we were like, "Let's do it."
Marisa convinced me. I was the stubborn one who's like, "Screw this, let's just go." But she was like, "You want to see your sloths, don't you?" And I'm like, "I really want to see sloths!" Yeah, we had our hearts set on seeing sloths. I don't know what it was about the sloth in particular, but I knew there were sloths in this hanging gardens park... And I wanted to see one.
I wanted to see one. I'd pay 50 U.S. dollars to see a sloth. Like you said, it's not a zoo. So it's up to luck whether you see a sloth or not.
And we knew that going in, and we also didn't want to pay the extra for a tour guide. So this was a bit of a risk. Would we be able to see a sloth? But we're cheap little swindlers. There was somebody just ahead of us that had paid for a guide. And then we we said no to the guide, and then we walked 20 feet behind the person with the guide. Just very quietly. And every time they would look at something, we'd kind of butt in and, "What was that?" And then when they'd go again...
Exactly. We did see a couple things that they pointed out in the distance. And the bridges were awesome! It was just picturesque.
And also really kind of cool to feel the vibrations of everybody walking on them. My favorite part of that was the part with the monkeys. There were all these monkeys that came down and started playing along the bridge.
And you could feel them also bouncing along the bridge. And there were a lot of other people there. It's a very popular spot. But to see everyone just like, "Oh! There's a monkey!" Those monkeys are crazy.
They jump from insane heights onto other things, and run across the bridge. And they know if they do cute things, the humans sometimes give them food, which we didn't. It's not who we are. But it was just really cool to be swarmed around by monkeys.
Yes, it was awesome. Yeah. And a beautiful locale... Right. In every sense it was worth every penny. But we didn't see any sloths. Yeah, we didn't see any sloths. And for some reason, I got really bummed by that.
Because it's not like they can run away from you, right? Someone has to know where the sloths are. Yeah, we saw none. It was karma for being cheap tourists. So we decided, all right from here, maybe we'll try a more in-depth immersion experience into Costa Rica. She calls it in-depth immersion, but it was just an Airbnb.
And I wanted just to hang out for a week after being on the move for a while. That's true. So it was an Airbnb with a Workaway included. As an option. You could choose. It was a farm, a working farm with a lot of jungle around it. It was called Noemy's Farm. Yeah, Noemy's Farm.
We thought, all right, this will be a perfect little retreat. We can work if we want on the farm, or we can just relax. And then on Airbnb, they had a little cabin that we could rent. So either we work as a Workaway, we get to camp for free, we'd do whatever would be the daily tasks. And we'd get fed for free.
But I said, "No, I want a little stupid cabin in the woods, and I don't want to do anything, because I'm tired." And that cabin was nice. It was awesome. It was just like a one-roomed cabin with a little shower that... Opened up to the forest. It was super cool. It was absolutely amazing.
And there was this French dude, I forget his name, but he was there doing the Workaway thing. And we soon realized that he was disassembling half of the house. He was working so hard! And he didn't complain, he was obviously very good at what he did. But he was like a one-man construction team. And we were fed too.
She would feed us because she's making dinner anyway. Yeah! And she would make us... She was like, "Go feed the chickens and the rabbits." And I was like, "Sure. How do you... What does that even partake?" Feeding a rabbit is like the lamest thing on the tier of Workaway.
It was awesome. It was beautiful. It was very, very simple. We felt a little guilty just doing nothing, so we would shuck peas and beans.
And we did help out with the farm a little bit, not to the extent... No, we didn't tear down main buildings. We chucked peas. Shucked peas. We chucked them too.
There was a couple ones that weren't good, so I just chucked them. But yeah, it was everything that I could have wanted, which was amazing. And it's on this huge lot of property, and so... she only spoke Spanish, and I spoke zero, well, I spoke 103 words. But Noemy would run out and be like, "Timoteo, Maritza! Perezoso!" Which means "lazy" in Spanish. It also means sloth! But she would call us, and we ran. We saw a sloth, a perezoso with a little baby perezoso on its belly.
Mama perezoso with a baby perezoso! Oh my gosh, it was amazing! It was just a natural... All it didn't have was hanging bridges, but it had everything else. It had these huge iguanas just being lazy. The dog, she had a dog that would get into a fight with iguanas, and we'd have to try to somehow stop this animal on animal crime. I know! Those iguanas get to be huge! Lucky! Ten bucks on the dog. Lucky! Go away! Go! So this was already turning out to not only have all of our sloth dreams come true, but also be that immersive experience that I was looking for.
In a country that can be quite touristy, we were able to get off the tourist track. It was a very unique experience in a country that a lot of people can assume to be touristic, which is not always a huge negative thing, because it does help build the economy. But we still had some adventures to go in Noemy's farm. We met up with a fellow American from "Utopia," there's a little spoiler alert, not going to give you. And you see a very, very unusual river. This is true. But that's all coming up in the next episode.
So stay tuned, and thank you so much for watching, and for riding along with us around the world. And I hope you liked this episode. If you did, please give us a big thumbs up, and hit the subscribe button below. And we'll be seeing you in the next episode. Stay safe everybody.