My first impression of Costa Rica when I saw it from the plane was how green it looked. Everywhere was green with just a few buildings. Everywhere else I have been it has been the middle of the dry season so I have got used to brown and dusty places, here it is very different. My second impression of the country was much it seemed like the states, but a bit poorer, but maybe thats just the capital. I arrived in the evening so just found a hostel and something to eat then was too tired to do much else.
I´m not used to being in such a small country where you can get anywhere within a few hours, so it was hard to decide what to do with the 4 days I had before having to be back in San Jose to meet my friends. In the end I guess I went for the obvious choice and went to Chirripo national park in the south, where there is Costa Ricas highest mountain.
After spending a night in San Isidro I got an early morning bus to the village and park entrance as I wanted to get an early start to avoid the heavy rain that seems to happen every afternoon. After arrivingh at 7am, I then took a wrong turn in the village so it wasn´t until 9am when I actually got to the start of the path. The walk was a steep climb up thtough the cloud forest. To start with I had good views, until the clouds came down, but it was still a nice walk. I reached the half way point after about 3 hours and by then it had started raining heavily but I decieded I should carry on to the top anyway after getting that far. What I thought was heavy rain then got even heavier and I was soon soaked through despite wearing waterproofs. At least here it is still warm even though it is wet. The rain made it hard going, but I eventually made it to the refugio at the top where I was to spend the night. Luckily I stillhad some relativly dry clothes in my rucksack so was able to get changed. I met a very nice group of Costa Ricans who gave me a bowl of soup and a mug of hot chocolate to warm up as because I had climbed to over 3000m it was now pretty cold. THe refugio only has electricity for a couple of hours in the evening so it was lights out at 8pm and an early night.
I got up early again the next morning and was relieved to see the rain had passed. I spent a couple of hours exploring the area of lagunas around the refugio before starting to walk back down to the village. The walk down was really nicer as the clouds were much higher than they had been the day before. I also saw a lot of butterflys and tiny hummingbirds. I made it back to the village in time for lunch and luckily I had just madeit into a cafe when the afternoon rain started again.
Having enjoyed my first few days in the south of Costa Rica, the following day I returned north to Allajuela to meet Sarah and Gemma that were arriving from home that evening.
And now almost a week later I am still trying to dry my boots out after that first days walking.