27th October 2008
I saw my first Howler monkey today. I was cycling back from the supermarket in Playa Del Coco when I spotted the monkey in a tree branch over the roadway about two metres above my head. I had heard monkeys howling a week ago but had not seen one.
The weather has been good for the past week and today was perfect. I went for a swim in Playa Del Coco and the water felt even warmer than normal (About 29-30C I think).
24th October 2008
I took the car back today and miss it already. Yesterday I drove down to Playa Samara via Nicoya. The beach there is almost identical to Playa Del Coco except is has a small surf swell.
The roads here vary from good to impassable. I had planned to come back along the coastal road but it turned out to be one of the impassable kind.
I also checked out Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama, two beaches just North of here. Playa Hermosa is quite nice and has a lot of new looking hotels and Condos.
I still have just over two weeks to go in Ocotal and am not sure what I will do then. I may rent a car and go to Jaco Beach (reported to be the best beach in Costa Rica) for a week then San Jose for a week or two. I am also thinking about flying to Bocas Del Toro on the East coast of Panama.
22nd October 2008
Rented a car yesterday (for three days) and drove down to Tamarindo, the first time I have driven this year. The beach there is supposed to be better than here but it seemed worse to me. The potholes in the roads within Tamarindo were enormous and very deep. You could hide a small car in some of them.
Today I drove to Arenal Volcano a large active volcano (About 500 kilometres round trip). It was impressive although, strangely, it appeared to get smaller as I got closer.
Fuel here costs about $2AUD per litre.
I spoke to my neighbour, Scott, (who lives here permanently) about the weather. He told me that the four days of continuous heavy downpour we had was very unusual (he has been here two years and had never seen anything that bad) He said that it may rain heavy all day occasionally but normally only for one day at a time.
Photographs of Arenal Volcano
16th October 2008
After being fine for my first two days here in Playa Del Coco/Ocotal it has been raining heavily & constantly since. The local weather forecasts seem useless as they forecast only a 40% chance of rain for the past three days.
There are regular power failures (daily) and today the power has been off for six hours.
12th October 2008
I went for a walk into Playa Del Coco this morning and walked the length of Coco Beach. No problem with crowds here. Despite the fact that this place gets described as a tourist location/destination I don't think that is really correct. It may be for a couple of weeks during the year but in general it is just a very small coastal community. There may be ten tourists in town at the moment. There are some expat Americans that have retired here but not that many. The condo development were I am staying has 66 condos of which at least 50 appear empty. I think most of the condos in the area are owned by Americans as their holiday home/investment property.
The cost of living here is quite a shock to my system after Malta as it is about double. I estimate that the cost of everyday food and groceries is the same, or more, than in Europe, Australia and the USA. I had a look at the menu of a small local restaurant and main courses were around $50.
This is the "Green Season" (Rainy season) and it generally rains some of the time each day. Since I have been here it has rained every day but mostly late afternoon/night (although it has just started raining as I am typing - at noon). After I had arranged this trip (originally only for October) I came across an article that said it had been known to rain for 24 hours a day for the entire month of October in Costa Rica. I did not believe that that was anywhere near the norm but I extended my stay to include November just to be sure.
I thought mosquitoes may have been a problem (I am a mosquito magnet) but so far I have not had a single bite.
Photographs of Coco Beach
11th October 2008
Flew into Liberia yesterday and transferred to my condo in Playa Del Coco. The condo is actually in Playa Ocotal which is 3 kilometres from Playa Del Coco. The flight here with Nature Air was from San Jose via Tamarindo terminating at Liberia. The airstrip at Tamarindo was very narrow and I think we only just fitted onto it.
The condo is great, modern, fully equipped, air conditioned, Internet & 100 channel cable TV. There is also a swimming pool in the complex.
The area around Playa Del Coco is fairly rustic and undeveloped. I will probably need to rent a car occasionally as there is only a very small shop within walking distance. I am getting a bicycle (supplied by the owner of the condo) for the period of my stay which will be good.
Photographs of The Flight From San Jose to Liberia With Nature Air
Photographs of Ocotal Beach
9th October 2008
Now in San Jose (Costa Rica) after a long day of flying yesterday. I had planned to do a city tour today but have decided to just chill out. The weather here is as expected, warm and humid. This is the "Green Season" (Rainy season) and it generally rains some of the time each day. This is due to end later this month.
I seem to have developed a knack of picking hotels that are hard to find. I arrived here at 10pm last night and caught a cab. The cab driver could not find the hotel and tried to drop me at a nearby hotel telling me they had changed their name. I refused and the driver got the directions from that hotel. The hotel is located in a small residential street and I can understand that the cab driver did not know it. The hotel is "Motel Like" with good sized clean rooms and a swimming pool.
Crime my be an issue in San Jose as a lot of the houses have three metre high fences or walls with either electric fences or razor wire on the top. The street where my hotel is located is part of a gated area with a guard at the gate. When I was looking for a flat in San Jose I was surprised by how many places said "safe/secure area" but showed photos of properties with the high walls/fences, razor wire etc.
Tomorrow I take an internal flight with Nature Air to Playa Del Coco.
7th October 2008
I am in Dublin after leaving Malta this morning. I am just overnighting in Dublin and leave tomorrow for San Jose (Costa Rica) via London and Miami.
Dublin is cold (12C) and raining so I did not bother taking any photos. The weather here is quite a shock to the system after Malta where I was swimming yesterday (sunny and 28C).
I expect the weather in San Jose to be hot (30+) and steamy.
I am only spending two days in San Jose before flying on to Playa del Coco, a beach in the North East of Costa Rica, where I am staying for a month.
4th September 2008
I went on a trip to Gozo yesterday. Gozo is the other main Maltese Island and is a short ferry ride away.
The main reason for my trip was to see the Ggantija Temple which is apparently the oldest free standing building on earth. The temple was built around 3600BC well before Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza. No one knows who built the temple or what happened to them.