Day 6. Vida circa del mar

Today was a bit of a different pace from the normal sun-up to sun-down lifestyle we've been leading this week. We left Monteverde (literally meaning, the place of the green mountains-- there's an interesting story about Monteverde which I'll talk about in a different post), and went down, down, down very steep inclines and hills from 9,000 feet in elevation to 0 feet in elevation. Meaning... we're at the beach!

From about 1 hour outside of San Jose in the central valley to La Fortuna (Northeast), to Monteverde (Northwest), to about an hour outside of Jaco (where we are now), we've been on dirt and gravel roads. Picture a huge 50 passenger bus bouncing around, hugging corners of valleys 9,000 feet below, maneuvering around roads made for only one car, and backing up to let cows and wild horses pass... we were never more grateful to reach pavement and freeways today!

Jaco is a town on the Pacific coast of SW Costa Rica where we are spending the next two days of our trip. We stopped in the middle of our 3 hour drive from Monteverde to Jaco and went on a tour of the river where the majority of crocodiles nest and live in Costa Rica. We were completely up close and personal with them in their natural habitat... this was no zoo or nature preserve! Literally it was the real-life version of Disney's Jungle Cruise... a bit scary at times when the crocodiles would swim right towards our boat! Our guide got out at one point and hand fed them... he said there is always risk involved depending on how hungry they are, but he spends a lot of his time learning how to properly interact with crocodiles.

After our boat ride, we spent another hour on the bus and arrived at Jaco. If you've ever been to any Latin city, this is what Jaco is like. Very touristy, and very much filled with locals trying to sell tchotchskys and passes to night clubs to visitors. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Jaco if you're looking to visit the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica; however, it's been a nice change from the mountain elevations. Apparently we are visiting one of the best parks in Costa Rica tomorrow called the Manuel Antonio National Park, and Jaco is just the home base to get there quickly.

When we arrived here at lunch time, we were given the rest of the afternoon to just do as we pleased, take a nap, go hang out on the beach, etc., and T and I took that opportunity to people watch and rest since we've been going a mile a minute this entire trip. :) Our hotel room overlooks the ocean, and compared to the bug infested room we had the past two days in Monteverde (complete with scorpions and spiders), our air conditioned, ocean front room on the beach is paradise. :)


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