Border crossing! Nicaragua part 1

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. 

Waiting for a bus with all our STUF!

 
 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. 

Bus_ride.jpg

“Yep, left ya little surprise, smell ya 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!

 

And More Hammock snuggles

 

 

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

And this: http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/07/01/african-migrants-camp-costa-rica-border

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!

Strolling across the border to Nicarauga

 

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Month 1 Langosta, Tamarindo

 Ok, so you probably already know about our rough start, and if you don’t you can find the dirty details here. After two days of stressful scrambling to find somewhere to park ourselves, we ended up with a 1 month rental in this fancy schmancy (no pantsies) condo in Langosta. We arrived in the green/rainy season and it is extremely low season, so the owner gave us a deal for the month. Langosta is the swankier (read:gated condos) section of Tamarindo, but it also has some gorgeous beaches, nearby surf, and you can still find jungle outside your locked and guarded gate. I was entirely anti-Tamarindo from the start of this trip. It had a party/backpacker rep and I wanted nothing to do with it. I also never thought we would end up in a gated condo with 24 hr. security — but hey, life is funny like that. So here we are, and We are actually going to miss this quirky, overpriced town of good surf, friendly security guards, beach crocs (see boy #1’s post) and helpful locals. 

Fancy Condo (clothing optional)

 

Guarded gate. “Don’t let those loco gringoes in!”


Our favorite part? SURFING!!


Boy 1 and 2 on a party wave


Did I mention surfing?


Yep. We got our surf on.


Heck, boy 2 even invented his own sand surfing


And I even got to surf with one of my old Maui girls! Yipee for meeting old friends in new places! Old? Did I say old? I mean super young, gorgeous, total hottie mamacita friend!


Obviously the highlight was the beach and warm water!


Super baby at sunset!


And there was some homeschool thrown in too. The boys claim there was far too much of that! Except for “field trips” school was from 10-2 


Sometimes we took breaks for some fresh coconuts!


And some baby machete lessons. Um. Do they have CPS in Costa Rica?


Hmmmm. That stuffs good


Boy 1 got his Tarzan on


And our little Carmen Miranda celebrated his 6th with a tropical fruit bonanza

So that was month 1 in a nut shell. Next up is a border crossing to Nicarauga before heading to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and maybe a stop off in MonteVerde for good measure! Stay tuned……

 

 

 

Is that a mariachi band coming our way!?