A Travellerspoint blog

Nicaragua

And the fateful border crossing!

sunny 26 °C

Well we arrived in Managua a couple of days ago and I can see already it has a much more vibrant personality than Costa Rica, although it seems to be a much poorer country.

Our first attempt at crossing the border was scuppered as Stephen had fewer than 6 months validity left on his passport - Take note that Central American countries seem to take this requirement quite seriously! So we headed back down to Alajuela where we started from to pay a little visit to the British embassy in San Jose. The journey back was very interesting.. The bus driver was supposed to drop us off at the airport but drove right past and dropped us and about 8 locals off in the middle of the Inter American highway in the pitch black. We couldnt cross the road as it was so busy so had to venture up a slip road for about 20 minutes to access a bridge to get us to the right side of the road to get a bus into the centre of Alajuela. The bus drivers answer to all the locals going crazy about them being dropped off in the middle of nowhere was to shut the door and drive off. Nice.

We were issued with an emergency travel document in San Jose which only allows travel to 5 countries so our plans have changed slightly. We are now skipping El Salvador and Belize so the countries on our list next are Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. Poor Stephen will have to wait in Mexico while myself and Wendy enjoy a week in Cuba!

So Stephen now requires a US visa as an ESTA doesnt apply to an emergency travel document and myself and Wendy required Cuban visas. So our time in Managua has been spent touring the US and Cuban embassies. We have now made another slight mistake as our Cuban visas are only valid for travel from Managua which has put us in a bit of a pickle. All our plans are up in the air right now! Yesterdays devasting earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunamis hitting countries all over the show means we will probably have to sit tight for a day or so and see what the effects actually are before we head anywhere on the coast. Nicaragua is due to be hit at 16:20 local time (22:20 GMT) so we will see what happens.

ANYWAY, Managua does have a bit of a bad reputation according to my lonely planet guide but all the locals here have been great although english speaking people are very few and far between here! It is great for our spanish practice though, and I guess the best way to learn. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures up on my next entry but im sure I said that last time.

We are thinking about heading to Rivas tonight which is still inland but close to our coastal destination San Juan Del Sur so we can keep an eye on the tsunami situation.

Apologies for bad grammar too, it appears my apostrophe key has gone astray....

Posted by ThatsLife 09:31 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (2)

Costa Rica

Monteverde and Liberia

sunny 33 °C

Unfortunately Amigos I still do not have the ability to upload photos which is a real shame, i´ve got some cracking ones!

Monteverde was great, a really nice little place. I wrote about the volcano and hot springs in my last entry, I think it was just ebfore we did the night tour of the rainforest and may I say... It was worth the money! We only walked for 2 hours but it was pitch black.. Thankfully our guide provided torches :) We saw pit vipers, white nosed guatis (Not sure about the spelling, they look a bit like dogs with long tails), racoons, vultures, tarantulas and a colony of ants who were actually carrying the leaves into their den. That was amazing, I have never seen anything like that before. And the tatantulas were huge! Our guide kept poking them with a stick which was not making me very happy, I was very aware how close it was to my leg. It was a bit creepy but brilliant to see all these animals out in the wild. I also saw fireflies for the first time too, so pretty :)

After that we moved on to Liberia which is basically full of cowboys. We´re not entirely sure what the purpose of their festival is but it seems to be something to do with dancing horses and bull running. The locals seem to be pretty excited about it though but to be fair, there´s not much else here!

Tomorrow we have booked our bus to Nicaragua where we have decided to head straight to Managua to visit the Cuban embassy and get our visas sorted and our flights booked ASAP....

Posted by ThatsLife 10:59 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

Costa Rica

Alajeula, La Fortuna and Monteverde

sunny 28 °C

Well I just wrote a massive blog entry and it hasn´t saved so this is going to be short and sweet.

Arrived in Costa Rica on Saturday in San Jose but travelled straight out to Alajuela. I realised whilst sat in San Salvador airport that I actually had no idea where I was staying so I had my fingers very tightly crossed that the Kellys would be at the airport to meet me... Luckily they were!

Got to Alajuela which seemed to be very quiet. Our hostel was lovely though and we had our own room which was a real treat after the long flight. The next day we went to Volcan Poas which would have been great if it wasn´t for the fog and rain!! So we didn´t actually get to see the volcano but had a little walk into the forest instead and a visit to the museum to see a picture of "What we could have won"!

We left Alajeula the next day and got the bus to La Fortuna which was beautiful. Again, we took a trip to a volcano - Volcan Arenal in the pouring rain! (Who knew there was so much rain to be seen in Costa Rica...). We couldn´t see much at first but the clouds started to clear a little at sunset and we managed to get a slightly better view by then. we also had a walk through the forest where our guide kept picking stuff from the trees for us to taste and smell.. I can only remember guavas, lime leaves and citronella but there was plenty more to choose from. On the way back we stopped at the hot springs at Lake Tabacon which was brilliant fun. It was dark so we couldn´t see much but we had to slide down a mini waterfall to get in which had me giggling like a little girl!

Today we arrived at Monteverde via jeep-boat-jeep which is an excellent way to travel.. Although the jeep was actually a minibus but oh well. The boat was as described so can´t complain! Tonight we are going to a national park in the dark to hopefully see some exotic wildlife... Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Liberia which is Costa Rica´s cowboy town which apparently has some festival going on at the moment so it should be good fun. Also fingers crossed for some more sun!!

Watch this space for pictures soon, I actually haven´t taken that many yet...

Posted by ThatsLife 12:55 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (0)

More Sydney...

My kinda place :)

semi-overcast 21 °C

Well thought it was worth another update as I have been busy, busy, busy....

Last time I wrote was just after my visit to Manly. The next day I paid a little visit to a Chinese garden in Darling harbour.. A very sweet little place :)

The same day I also took a walk to Paddington and then to Kings Cross (Are these names familiar to anyone else??) and got lost several times, but hey it was a mini adventure :) Paddington seemed to be quite upmarket and Kings Cross is the red light district of Sydney (Again, sound familiar?) but I bet it'd make a great place for a pub crawl. That evening I ventured out to Newtown which was full of retro shops and about 1000 Thai restaurants. It had a great atmosphere though, and reminded me of Camden. Basically what i'm trying to say is that Sydney reminds me of London but is approximately 1000 times nicer.... And they have better weather! :)

On Thursday I climbed the Sydney harbour bridge! This took me so long to decide to do it. Very expensive but so worth the money. I was so terrified before I did it but it actually wasn't too bad.. I suprised myself. Views were pretty spectacular, i'm ready to do it in the evening now to compare a sunset view of Sydney to the daytime one.. All donations gratefully received.

That evening we went to Rose Bay which was somewhere i'd love to live but could never afford! Still, great to see.. I can dream.

On Friday I met up with Rob and Jade and we ventured up to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Weather wasn't great on the first day so couldn't see much at all but we made up for it on Saturday. I have tried to piece together the places we went to but I am starting to accumulate too much information in my tiny brain so I think I have missed some: Gordon Falls, Leura Cascades, 3 Sisters & Katoomba National Park. There may be more but I am struggling to remember it all! Anyway, photos are below...

Got 4 more days of Sydney before heading off to Costa Rica to meet up with the Kellys....

Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden

Me at the top of the harbour bridge

Me at the top of the harbour bridge

View from Harbour Bridge

View from Harbour Bridge

Blue Mountains..

Blue Mountains..

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Posted by ThatsLife 14:54 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney

Loving it!

sunny 25 °C

Well I arrived in Sydney on Friday evening (11th Feb) and may I say it is pretty damn cool :)

A friend of a friend has been given custody of me whilst here in Sydney and he is doing an excellent job of looking after me and keeping me out of mischief!

Friday night I actually ate sushi for the first time (Shocking I know). Don't get excited though, I didn't eat fish :) Then afterwards went to a comedy show.. The Aussies are pretty funny too, i'll give them that!

Saturday we went to a market in the AM which was great... Makes the IOM farmers market look very poor in comparison! We also saw some dragon boat racing which was good - Reminded me a little bit of the viking longboats - See below for picture with my excellent camera.

Sunday we drove for a little while to South Sydney (I think, geography is not my strong point) where we stopped in a couple of picturesque little towns and also at the beach which is supposed to have the whitest sand in the world. It was great and almost deserted so we had the sea to ourselves.. Spot on! Again, picture below...

On Monday I walked quite an impressive distance, even if I do say so myself! Walked down to the waterfront and saw the botanic gardens, the opera house and the harbour bridge among other things.

Today I caught the ferry to Manly and walked and walked and walked. They have some impressive beaches there too, well worth a visit. I learned an important lesson today though. When walking in Australia DO NOT LOOK UP UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. See picture below for example spiders :(

Got a couple of things in mind for the next couple of days, including making a final decision on whether I have the guts for a certain bridge climb or not! Ahhhh scary stuff.. Meeting Rob on Friday when we will be heading off into the Blue Mountains for a couple of days. It's all go here....

All in all - Sydney = AWESOME!!!

Dragon boat racing

Dragon boat racing

Hyams Beach

Hyams Beach

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Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Sydney Opera House by night...

Sydney Opera House by night...

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Big dirty spider

Big dirty spider

Manly beach

Manly beach

Posted by ThatsLife 03:35 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

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