Costa Rica

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SAN JOSÉ

I don't even know where to begin, this trip was more than magical.
This past July me and my sister went to Costa Rica for three weeks of volunteering with IVHQ and spent our weekends travelling around as much as we could. 

We lived with the most lovely family in the capital, San José, which is where we volunteered. The kids were just amazing, to my surprise not shy at all and would literally pull you into their toy house and make you play 'mum'. Obvs.

Where to eat: (Vegan/Vegeterian)
Neshuma Commercial Plaza San Pedro, 506
Vishnu Himalayas (quite cheap too)  Av 1, Provincia de San José - try the Cas Juice it's amazing! 

 Fresh Fruit - on the right Mamòn Chino

Fresh Fruit - on the right Mamòn Chino

 Crossing the Gulf of Nicoya

Crossing the Gulf of Nicoya

SANTA TERESA

This was our first trip, we had to take a bus then a boat and then the bus again. But it was absolutely worth it and was one of our absolute favourite places, so much so that we ended up staying an extra night.
This is basically THE surfer town which means amazing waves, amazing beach, young people, good music and you know... surfers. the village is set alongside a road that runs along the beach, there are barely any cars because everyone drives around on quads or motorbikes on an unpaved street, surfboards tied up on the back.  

Where to stay: Lost Boyz, this is the best hostel ever. It's made and kept with so much love like the back open air cinema with hammocks. 5 minute walk to the back and surrounded by the jungle (monkeys included) Just magical. 
Where to eat:  Zwat Café - for the best fish tacos
50 meters north of Pizza Tomate

Drinks: Banana Beach - Villa Bonita Dr (beachside)

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 Zwat Café Fish Tacos

Zwat Café Fish Tacos

 Cas Juice at Vishnu (San José)

Cas Juice at Vishnu (San José)

MONTEZUMA

o this was an interesting day. Because we decided to stay a night longer in Santa Teresa, Montezuma was a half-a-day trip before heading back to San José. There is only one single bus back a day so we really couldn't miss it. We had to take a bus at 6am, but the problem was that we only had enough money left to get to Montezuma and not to San José. So we had to change buses on our way there and I had previously read that there is cash a machine there, so we tried to withdraw but none of the machines or our cards were working. So as we sat on a bench waiting, I was so worried thinking we were stranded in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, I actually thought I was going to be sick right there. Now this is where watching Homeland came in handy. Please don't laugh but in a weird survival mode I started thinking about what I would do if I were on a mission, off the grid - what would Carrie do? (For once I don't mean Carrie Bradshaw)
So I decided that with the only money left we should get the next bus to Montezuma and try to find a cash machine there, which is what we did. Panic when the first card didn't work. Screams of joy when the second one did. I read later that cash machine is filled up only once a week and often runs out by the end of the week, so thank god we had some luck. In the end we decided to do the waterfall trail, since we were there... So we headed up this rocky mountain, alongside the flowing river. Had to cross the river and fell in repeatedly, hat to pull ourselves over slippery, steap parts of rock, hanging by ropes, literally crawl up the mountain on all fours with the help of ropes until we finally got to the first, second and third waterfall. All of this only to find out that we had taken the difficult, professional trail when there was a whole trail of cemented stairs leading up on the opposite side of the river. Just our luck. That climb is still one of my favourite memories though so I'm glad we did that mistake! 
The waterfalls were beautiful but had brown muddy water and were nothing like we thought, but after that hike it took us two seconds to jump in.
Then we hiked back down (stairs this time) and washed our muddy clothes in the sea whilst water for the bus back home. What an adventure.

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PARQUE NACIONAL MANUEL ANTONIO
The national park is a little more touristy than the previous destinations, but was incredibly beautiful so it's worth seeing. The park houses sloths, monkeys, red crabs, frogs, snakes and all types of animals which are fun to try and spot. One of the best parts however was the two beaches which are insanely beautiful and  we were in a way lucky enough to be there shortly before closing time and enjoy a pretty empty beach, which was heaven. 
*There is an entry fee to the park and you'll have to stand in line to get tickets and then again to enter.

 Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Espadilla

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Espadilla

 Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Espadilla

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Espadilla

 Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Waterfall

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio Waterfall

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 left: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Escondido || right: Montezuma Waterfalls

left: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio - Playa Escondido || right: Montezuma Waterfalls

Jil Carrara