Costa Rica – Liberia

Crossing the border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica was not too difficult, just long. At the Nicaragua exit there were several buses discharging people into the long line for immigration, so we stood there for quite awhile. Had to pay $2USD for immigration then another $1USD for a local tax, kind of strange since neither Nicaragua or Costa Rica uses the US dollar. They wouldn’t accept my $1 coin left over from El Salvador either, had to be a paper dollar. Once the customs paperwork was was done we then had to find the police officer hiding in the chaotic parking lot to sign off on the papers, then on to Nicaragua. Their immigration office was in between buses so that went quickly, then started the customs paperwork at one office then walked a couple of blocks down the road to buy insurance and complete the temporary import permit. Probably about 3 hours in total.

I got a beach condo from VRBO for the week outside Liberia, near Playa Potrero. The complex is nice but almost deserted. The condo is right on the pool and has cold AC and decent wifi so I’m set for the week.

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Short walk to some nice beaches, also almost deserted this time of year.

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Not much else around but a handful of beach restaurants and bars, with one tiny grocery store. It’s a relaxing week.

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After the week on the beach I went to Liberia for a couple of days, at an Airbnb in town. I figured since I have a couple of days to kill I’ll try to get the yellow fever vaccine I’ve been meaning to take care of. It’s hard to figure out if I really need it, the rules are complicated depending on which countries you’ve been in and where you are going but better safe than sorry. The Liberian Ministry of Health is just a couple of blocks from the AirBnB but they tell me they don’t do vaccines, just issue the yellow fever certificate. They suggested that I try a pharmacy, so I go into the first one I see, which forwards me on to another one in downtown Liberia (which is all of about 4 blocks by 3 blocks). Arriving at the downtown pharmacy they tell me that they do have one vaccine left but I’ll have to wait for the doctor to come back from lunch in an hour or so. Finally the doctor arrives, I pay about $100USD and get the shot along with all the paperwork and the box the vaccine came in. Next day back to the Ministry of Health with the paperwork and the box, fill out more paperwork and I have my official certificate of yellow fever vaccination. Good for the next 10 years.

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Moved to a much fancier Airbnb near the airport in preparation for Lisa’s arrival the next day. Nice two bedroom condo in a big development, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Huge iguanas hanging out by the pool. It’s convenient though, when I’m getting in the car to go to the airport Lisa’s plane flies right overhead, so I know it’s on time (the Liberia airport has just a handful of international flights each day so when I see the Southwest plane going by I know it’s her)

Lisa’s plane comes in

Liberia is in the northwest of Costa Rica, the hottest and driest part of the country. We spend one day hiking in Rincon de la Vieja national park. The trail to the top of the volcano is closed due to recent volcanic activity and deadly gases (it actually erupted after we were there in May and June) so we take the trail to the La Cangreja waterfall instead. The first half of the trail is through forest but once we break out into the open it is pretty hot. From up in the hills you can get a glimpse of Nicaragua and Lake Nicaragua off in the distance.

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The final section of the trail drops steeply and roughly into the canyon, which is nice because it’s about 20 degrees cooler near the water.

When we arrive at the waterfall we jump right in and cool off. The water is perfect after a long sweaty hike.

This picture is like the one you see on Tripadvisor etc, just the waterfall with nobody in it. I figured it would be crowded but no, just two people getting ready to leave. We had the whole waterfall to ourselves for about half an hour before people started showing up. By the time we left it was starting to get crowded.

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Swimming in the waterfall:

Costa Rica – La Cangreja

By now it was into the full heat of the afternoon and the sunny part of the hike was quite hot. We made it back to the forest and stopped by a stream to cool off. Lots of interesting plants around.

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Ran into a bunch of Capuchin monkeys along the trail. They were not happy to see us, they were breaking off branches from the trees and throwing them down onto the trail at us.

In downtown Liberia we found a good restaurant and had a typical Costa Rican dinner, heavy on the rice, beans, plantains, and chicken. After dinner Lisa passed on the cakes and got the first of many Costa Rican iced coffees.

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