We didn't have classes on Friday, so at 4:30 in the morning all 12 of us caught the bus to San Jose, and from there another bus to Manuel Antonio. The ride was about 4 hours. Well, things didn't start out so well when, on the bus to San Jose, Susie told us that she had forgotten our sheet of directions. Courtney had given her a typed up paper with directions to our hostel (called Pura Vida Hostel) and where to get off our bus and just basic necessities that none of us had any prior knowledge of. Okay, not a problem, there's 12 of us - We can figure it out right?
So we reach Quepos. We see a sign that says "Manuel Antonio 6". Well this of course is not our stop since this is Quepos and not Manuel Antonio. Everyone gets off the bus except us. The 12 gringas. As we start to wind up the narrow, curvy, steep mountain roads we see a hostel that says "Pura Vida Hostel" and one of the girls says "I think that's it!" But we have been driving for only 2 or 3 minutes so most of us have doubts but how many hostels can there be with the same name? She pushes the stop button and the driver stops, but since there's 12 of us, there's mass confusion as to if we should really get off or not. So we don't. And he keeps driving.
Pretty soon we come down a big hill to see the beautiful beach and Pacific Ocean...and then we also see a little loop that the bus is about to take. There is no more road. And no Pura Vida Hostel. So we get off at the last bus stop and ask a random man nearby where it may be. Turns out it was the place called "Pura Vida Hostel" that we decided NOT to get off at. So we wait for the next bus.
Still not sure exactly where we're going or where we should get off at, we tell the bus driver we need to go to the Pura Vida Hostel. After getting off at the wrong place, and then all quickly jumping back on before he drives away, he pulls over to the side and yells "PURA VIDA HOSTEL" so we all scramble off hoping to not make more fools of ourselves than we already have. The place he drops us off at does not have a sign. Or an open gate. And lying on the ground is a stack of about 30 untouched phonebooks. "Great," I think, "Pura Vida Hostel doesn't even exist." Well what can we do? So all 12 of us start to walk in a single file line down the side of these crazy roads. 12 gringas. 12 traveling backpacks. On a slippery side of the road. 2 girls slipped and fell in the ditches by the side. It was actually really hilarious and every time I replay it in my head I laugh out loud. After walking around two curves we FIND THE PURA VIDA HOSTEL. All is well.
So the rest of the day we spent lounging on the beach and then decided to get dressed up and go out for dinner. Quepos was actually a lot closer to our hostel than Manuel Antonio, only a 10 minute walk down the death road, so we decided that it might just be easier to find someplace to eat there. The lady that owned Pura Vida told us a good, cheap place to go, so we began, once again to walk, 12 gringas all dressed-up, in the dark down the road. It was terrifying... but we made it to lit sidewalks safely.
But then we got lost. Again.
And Quepos is the creepiest place we have been to yet. All the buildings were dark and dirty and everyone was staring at us (which isn't really new) but we definitely got a lot more cat calls then normal. We finally found a restaurant and made it back safely to the hostel that night.
Saturday we went to the Parque Nacional to check out the rainforest. There was one main huge trail that everyone takes, but as we were walking we saw a little sign that said "Catarata" which means waterfall. So of course we decide to check it out. It was a small path cut through the rainforest and it ended up becoming a legit hike. Most of us were in beach dresses and flip flops because we were going to the beach afterwards. About halfway through, we encountered a little clan of monkeys up in the trees. We've heard a lot of stories about them throwing poop at people who are too loud or too close, and they were swinging through those trees a little too close to us for my liking.
At the end of the trail, we found the waterfall. It wasn't very big at all, but it was still exciting. We were all dripping in sweat because it was so hot and we were legitimately hiking through the forest, practically swinging on vines to get where we needed to go, so the fresh cold water was nice.
After that, we trekked back the way we came and went to the beach inside the Park. Definitely my favorite beach we've been to. There were no waves so it was great to just relax and swim in the water.
That night we bought bread and peanut butter and jelly and just hung out in the room. We had our fill of walking around creepy places in the dark for one weekend.
The next morning, half the group (including me) took the bus back at 6 am. The bus station was in Quepos so we walked down at about 5:15. We sat at the bus stop and time started to tick by... 5:30... 5:45...5:50.. 5:55.. No bus. Damnit. All of us began to worry that we didn't have the right bus station. After the rest of happenings of the weekend, that would have fit in just perfectly. While waiting, we had a little entertainment across the street when a big hairy Tico without a shirt started a fight with a skinny white guy. We weren't really sure what happened, but the next thing we knew the Tico was grabbing the guy and throwing him on the hood of a taxi that was rolling backwards because the driver wasn't inside and it wasn't in park... Then they were hugging and best friends.... Then the Tico was yelling and trying to drop kick a garbage can... Then he tried to punch the other guy again... And finally the white guy and his girl got in their taxi and left and the Tico found his shirt again. Definitely an interesting start to the morning.
The bus came a little late, but it came so we were very thankful.
So we finally arrive back in San Jose.. Nearly home. As we were walking through San Jose, we came up the central street when a homeless person came out of nowhere and asked Tia (one of the girls) for "1,000 dollars!!". Tia didn't see him and freaked out when she realized he was standing right next to her. She screamed and jumped out of the way, which just drew more attention to us. It was actually really funny, but only because nothing bad happened.
So we're feet away from our bus stop, when this raggedy looking kid walking up the street towards us starts making weird growling noises at each of us as we walked by and walking up into our faces. He didn't do anything to me, probably because I'm so intimidating. Finally we got to our stop and breathed a sigh of relief. What else could possibly happen to us!? When suddenly I look and see this older white guy in khakis and keens running towards us. He's panting and says really quickly "You guys are from Eau Claire? Yeah I studied there too. You're in a really freaky part of town right now, I'm just going to walk with you to your hostel." We all looked at each other and I said "No, no we're fine we're just waiting for the bus." And he said "Oh okay." And turned and sprinted up the street. We were not in a "really freaky" part of town. We were at the bus stop that we go to every time we go to San Jose. I don't really know what his intentions were, if he was trying to help someone else rob us or what, but I'm really glad we didn't find out.
So that was my weekend in a nutshell. I've definitely had my fill of traveling for a while.