After my amazing Christmas in El Salvador, I spent New Year’s in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, to watch an amazing firework show…..
Dutch Peter and I left El Salvador after Christmas, with no real plans of our next adventure. We heard from other backpackers who suggested for us to check out Leon Nicaragua, so that is where we were headed. We drove through Honduras, on the worst roads in Central America. People often say it is part of the Pan America highway, and everyone who drives it pays for it?....Don’t know where that money is going?
We drove to Leon, a nice little Colonial city and stayed for a couple of days. We then drove off to another Colonial City, Granada. Motoring around the lake on the way to Granada, we experienced for the first time a Policia trying to take us for money. We got pulled over. Alarm set in!. They acused me of not wearing a seatbelt? As well, we were also charged for not having a front licence plate! The Policia took and held my license and told me to go to a bank in the next town and withdraw $200.00 US for him!. At the time, they were in the back of their van. I had some money, about $50.00 bucks, and tried to give it to him. He yelled “NO”, go back into your van and we will talk. The Policia do not like people pulling out cash in public where other people might see. We came up with another $75 dollars, made a deal and got my licence back! Wow, what an experience and we continued onward! Can you believe about half hour later, another Policia pulled us over. I explained to them strait out that another couple Policia a while back took all our money. I was upset, and said rather loudly ” we have no money left”. I felt I got robbed by someone who has authority (police)over me and it’s not a good feeling. When in Granada I just wanted to get out of the country. I told Peter that my wish was to go to a small beach and just chill out for a couple of days. So that is how we ended up in San Juan del Sur. It was a great place to just relax, chill, reenergize and it was only about an hour to the Costa Rica boarder. We saw totally amazing fireworks all over town, particularly after midnight. I did get a bit of the fireworks on video .Approaching the grand finale, they had a “burning man” displayed in the middle of the street full of fireworks and firecrackers. We watched him burn! Wow, just maybe this is the day where women can get back at their man…lol. Things are so different when you travel!
’It’s New Years day and I am on the road again, alone, this time to Playa del Coco, Costa Rica. I have visited there before with my nephew Shane and his cousin Josh. A few years ago, I took the two of them to a hostel for their first time. At the time, we were staying in a five star resort, but the contrast to a hostel was a great experience for them. The same hostel was not available when I arrived this time, so I found another one nearby. The usual routine when I enter a new hostel is to let them know I will sleep in my campervan. Usually this gets me a great deal! Upon entering this hostel, the room was large and had air conditioning that really worked. I ended up staying in the room for the night. Oh, did I sleep! Lounging around the hostel, I got acquainted to three fun guys: Joel from Costa Rica, Leon from Germany and Korbyn from California. I discussed the fact that I was off to San Jose the next day and asked if they wanted to join me on the trip in Old Faithful? Well, both Joel and Leon lived in San Jose, and accepted a ride there with gleam. Korbyn, we called him (Bruce) because that was on the back of his football shirt, and myself went to visit an old friend of mine from Calgary. He and his wife Olga were great hosts. We had dinner, a few drinks even breakfast the next morning. Thanks again Scott and Olga for your hospitality! The next morning after breakfast, Korbyn and I were back on the road to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. We found a great place to stay at the Rocking J’s campsite/hostel. Wow, it was so big! I think they had about 100 tents to rent or bring your own tents, hammocks, dorms and private rooms. Here were the two of us in a campervan, sometimes a bit boring! I heard they had 600 people there the night before. After a few days, I told Korbyn it’s time for me to commence the final leg of my journey to Panama, a place where I have a few good friends. If truth be known, I am a bit worried about Korbyn because he is only 19 years of age with not much experience travelling and backpacking. He likes to drink and buy people drinks. He is a good kid, and I asked a mature Canadian traveller that I met that night, to keep an eye on him for me. After talking to Korbyn the next morning, he assured me that there is nothing to worry about. He said he will take good care of himself and thanked me for caring and being his friend. I will definitely call him upon his return to LA on Sunday.
On the road again with Old Faithful (the campervan)….
Pete Montgomery TravelCheapWithPete.com