We decided to head into Nicaragua when our rental condo in the Tamarindo area ran out. We need to leave the country every 90 days in order to renew our visa. We actually did not need to renew until 12/26, but We decided to get renewed early because we had heard that border crossings near the holiday can be long and hectic. Not our style. And we have decided to head over to the Caribbean side of CR next, so our next crossing will most likely be to Panama. Besides, it sounded like an adventure–and adventure’s the name of the game!
First off we needed to get to the border and that required moving our stuff from one place to another. Stuff. It should be spelled stuf. A four letter word.
Yep. We checked out of our fancy condo carrying all of our possessions on our backs (even the baby had to do his part) and shlepping our way down to the nearest local bus stop. We needed a bus to Liberia where we would catch a connection to our small hotel near the Peñas Blancas border. So we waited. And waited. And um…waited some more. We asked some locals and they shrugged, we asked some more helpful locals and they explained that when the road was bad, the bus may or may not come down this road. So we hopped in a taxi to the next nearest bus stop, and watched our bus go by. Then we waited at a different bus stop some more. As many parents can attest to, waiting anywhere with children is a fun filled just-pull-out-my-toenails-with-tweezers party fest. Add in hot, dusty, cranky children and you may as well just throw in some eyeball gouging for free. Yep, we waited, and in the end, Josh negotiated with another local bus heading to San Jose to drop us “near” the Liberia bus stop. It was a nice enough “chicken bus” and there was plenty of breeze flowing through the open windows. Heavy Z snuggled up on my lap and took in the scenery. I was just starting to mentally high five myself, thinking, “yep, we got this,” when Zevy started to vomit down my legs. As a puddle filled my flip flops, I frantically tried to signal Josh in the seat behind me, while not alerting the other passengers. “How much @*%* gallo pinto did you *%#@ feed him!” Seriously how could he have fit that much food in there?! I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but we got it reasonably less disgusting before the driver dropped us on the side of a very busy road in Liberia and pointed in a vague direction of where the next bus stop was. As we negotiated our mound of stuff and three children across the busy motorway and began asking other locals directions to the several blocks away bus stop, we started to feel a little better about the surprise he would find in his bus later.
One more thankfully vomit free bus ride later, we arrived at our stop, where the kind owners of the Cañas Castilla guest house met us in their car to drive us the rest of the way to their horse farm and small hotel. This was a working farm inside a jungle with a river running through it. Crocs, monkeys, sloths and other wildlife abound. We were in love. We checked in to our adorable little cabana with a hammock and friendly kitty out front. I was smelling fresh and febreezey from our long travel, so after quick showers and a much needed load of sink laundry, we reluctantly agreed to leave the rest of our exploring for the morning and hit the hay–but not before a quick snuggle in the hammock!
We got a good nights rest and awoke ready for our big border crossing, but not before an awesome homemade breakfast on the outside deck while the howler monkeys entertained us from the nearby trees. One short hike and a sloth later it was time for the “Frontera”. Agi, the sweet owner allowed us to leave the majority of our luggage, I mean stuf, in a storage room and with our loads gladly lightened, we took a short car ride to the bus stop and hopped the first bus heading to to the border.
Boy 2 communes with Howler Monkeys during breakfast
Now I want to stop here for a moment to mention something that we noticed as we got closer to the border. We began to see lots of people of obviously African descent. At first we wondered if they were some of the Costa Ricans of caribe descent from the Caribbean side, but it didn’t quite add up. Then we saw what looked like refugee camps dotted along the border. We asked some local people and got some very vague answers, but a few internet searches turned up this: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/09/01/492066728/costa-rica-becomes-a-magnet-for-migrants
Sad stuff. So these people are stuck in limbo, waiting to cross the border and continue their journey–and exactly how will the election affect them now??
Ok back to the story– the big border crossing!