We can’t tell you much about Cartagena because it was so hot/humid we didn’t spend much time outside. We arrived on the first day of a 4 day holiday commemorating the independence of Cartagena from Spain.
This is a big, no make that a huge, deal in this town. Partying in the streets, and you wouldn’t believe all of the firecrackers that people threw. It didn’t seem safe because they were thrown around people and under cars but I didn’t hear/see any actual problems. We spent a short time when we met up with our former shipmates the first evening around the crowds but spent the rest of the time either in our air conditioned room or away from the crowds.
Cartagena is a good sized city of around one million people. It boasts an historic old town. We didn’t see much of it although it would have been nice to if the heat/humidity hadn’t made us hermits. We felt safe where we were (except for the firecrackers) but I wouldn’t advise you to use the street money changers, Dan had one pull a slight of hand on him which cost us about a hundred dollars.
Nearby is Santa Marta, also on the ocean, which is supposed to be a destination place that we missed as well. Doubt we will get back this way again but if we do, we will see both the old town and |Santa Marta.
We had originally planned to go by bus to Bogota but it was going to be so long that we flew. It was a little under $100 per person, including checking two bags and taking the rest onto the plane. The plane was a jet and very comfortable; it was a short ride of about 90 minutes. We ran into some of our shipmates at the airport but that is the last we have seen any of them.
This is a small rescue center in Vulcan, Panama. The animals currently include chickens (Raquel is vegetarian), a jaguar, an owl, two-toed sloths, baby howler monkeys, a tayra (member of the weasel family), raccoons, white-nosed coati, a weasel and some house cats. Continue reading “Raquel’s Ark and Cat House”
I am reading House of Rain by Craig Childs. It is non-fiction, about the Anasazi and Craig’s travels to their ruins in the four corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. I am enjoying it, even though it has me a little homesick thinking of SW Colorado and areas I have been and those I can go check out. Thinking of friends too!
Slow traveling is actually a term people use when they move from place to place without any hurry.
Originally the reason for slow traveling was a way to live frugally for a couple of years. Later it was an idea with motion, gaining momentum, with nothing strong enough to slow or stop it. I remember waiting at the airport in Houston for our flight out of the country, physically tired, mentally sapped, and whether all preparations were complete or not, we were about to fly to Costa Rica.
I thought “What are we doing? What are we getting ourselves into?” Momentum won as we took the flight.
Or maybe it wasn’t momentum, perhaps my cousin, Ginger, said it more accurately “You are wanderers.”
The fears and doubts were just that. The learning curve has been pretty gentle. My Spanish is improving, a few more words here and there.
Now in our third country, I know that there are so many nice people from all over. Sure, there are the few to watch out for and places to avoid. That has been easy, as we meet other travelers who have been places we are heading toward.
The world is beautiful and I am glad we are on this journey.
I learned to drive in New Jersey and thought I knew what aggressive driving was. No way!
We rented cars twice and within an hour of driving, I knew that Costa Ricans forget about their national saying “Pura Vida” when they get in their cars. “Pura Vida” refers to the relaxed, easy going lifestyle here.
Once in their cars, many are in a hurry: speeding, tailgating and passing, AND the passing is done on curves, no-pass zones, in the fog…anywhere they think there is enough room to get by. The only plus is that often the vehicle being passed is going v…e…r…y slow.
Oh, and many roads are narrow, with steep gutters, sharp curves, and lots of one lane bridges on country roads.
Leave lots of time to get to your destination and let your travel days be very flexible days.
For many years I’ve loved looking at some signs that struck me as fun or funny or unusual. I’ve collected some samples and will update this entry as there are more to add. Feel free to send me your favorites and I may add them.
You can see the gallery of signs from Costa Rica and Nicaragua here.
This is a day to explore and find some waterfalls near San Gerardo de Rivas. We hope to do a little hiking and catch some nice scenery.
So we head further into the mountains from San Isidro and I asked directions several times to be sure. “Donde esta la cataratas de San Gerardo. I received directions in words and pointing, so onward we go.
The road is deteriorating. Now it is two concrete strips for the tires and now it is rougher and steeper and the concrete is not always there. We park and walk up the road. My final directions include “Uno kilometer.”
The walk is beautiful.
We end up at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve where we discover that these are different waterfalls. It turned out that the waterfalls I thought I had directions for was San Gerardo de Doty, three hours away.
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve is a 1540 acre reserve where they have planted over 50,000 trees for reforestation. In 2016 and 2017 a jaguar was spotted. Costa Rica has a very strong conservation ethic and hunting is prohibited to preserve species. For more info on their reforestation project.
The walk in to the smaller waterfalls is quite easy. The higher one is a bit of a trek up a very steep trail and was well worth it.
On the way out, I suddenly came upon a garden in the forest, just a couple of minutes walk from the entrance.
On the way back into San Gerardo, we stopped at recycling bins and to take in the view.
The upper part of San Gerardo snakes its way up valley with the river.
We are walking a trail to the beach at Charco Verde Park on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua when I see that a few mangoes are dropping out of the tree. Otherwise there are no sounds, at first. Then I hear movement to one side, high in the tree. We crane our necks around until we finally see a howler monkey. Eventually I see at least eight. There could have been more, but most of them were taking a siesta and it was easy for them to blend in. Their deep voices can be heard up to 3 miles away.
Range: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala
Weight: Males up to 21.8 lbs. Females up to 16.8 lbs.
Height: Males – 20″ to 26.6″; females – 18.9″ to 24.9″
Prehensile tail: 21.5″ to 25.8″
Social structure: live in groups of 10-20 individuals and at puberty leave the group to join another