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Pura Vida folks. This is a bit difficult right now, as I am sitting in the kitchen listening to Maritza, Doña Ligia and abuela speaking rapidly about Nicaraguan immigration laws in Spanish. It’s very strange to listen to one language and write in another but I’ll try to avoid Spanglish. My classes are going well. There’s a lot more work now that we’re closer to the end of the semester but nothing too overwhelming so far. The weather has started to get rainier. I thought we had worked out a solid deal with mother nature: beautiful mornings, rain starting about 1 or 2 pm, and a clear night starting by about 7 or 8pm. Now all bets are off. We’ve had rain in the morning two of the past three days, it rained all night a couple days ago, and it was sunny this afternoon. I’m all flummoxed. I’m also very content at the moment because I made myself tea and Doña Ligia just gave me her lunch that she was too busy to eat. It’s 5 pm here. I do not know what type of sandwich this is but I’m not about to be picky. Alright, in this post I’m going to talk about my trips to Volcán Irazu and Chirripo. Irazu was a day trip. It’s not much of a hike, but a bus drives you out to a pretty cool area for walking around. Here’s the pictures:

Here’s a few of us sitting on a fence. This was right when we got there. For whatever reason I appear to be the only one not worried about falling off the fence. We’re a happy looking bunch.

Here’s the volcanic lake thing. I took a lot of pictures of it since it was one of the few things in the park. I would show you the rest of them but instead I’ll let you use your imagination. Imagine walking 5 steps to the right and then taking a picture of the same thing. Now 5 steps to the left. That’s pretty much what I’ve got. Pretty lake though.

Here’s Amanda and Kelsey smiling for the camera on what remains of a rock wall.

How cool am I?

That was rhetorical. And here’s the whole group I think. Totally ignoring the dedicated photographer trying to snap a group photo. Apparently whatever’s on the ground is more interesting. I walked over to find out what was more important than my photo-blog efforts.


Later Julian, Lauren and I climbed a small avalanche waiting to happen. Then Julian threw my camera down to me so that I could snap a picture. The throw was not ideal. I ended up diving on a pile of avalanche prone gravel. I’m a dedicated photographer. Also, Julian looks giddy in this picture. I’m not sure why. Maybe he’s seeing something we’re not.

Here I am pointing up the thing we climbed. This is not a great perspective on this picture. It appears that we either climbed a tiny hill or I’m a giant. You guys can decide which one.

After the small climb, a few of us went up to the highest point in the park. Again not a very long ascent. It took like 15 minutes. At the top we found this beetle. Totally worth it.

That probably came off as sarcastic but it was actually really cool up there. Here’s Lauren rushing to take a picture of the volcano/hills before the clouds covered everything up.

And here’s one of the last pictures before the clouds totally obscured everything. I think it looks pretty cool.

And finally, on the way out, I grabbed a picture of this little guy. I think it’s a pizote, an animal native to Costa Rica. I guess it’s cute.

Last weekend I went with Lauren to Chirripo. It’s a national park with the tallest mountain in Costa Rica. We didn’t climb it but we hope to go back in a month to climb the mountain. Here’s some pictures from the first visit:

This is where we stayed. Notice the forest surrounding our room. It was really cool although during the night there was some sort of animal cackling maniacally. It may have been a bunch of jaguars, which apparently live in the area. Do jaguars cackle?

This is Albin Jr. I could explain why we call him that but I don’t feel like it. It’s a long story involving pirate cabs and poorly paved roadways. Point is he’s a stand up fellow. So is Albin Sr. (not pictured)

This is Casa Mariposa. We will be staying at this hostel the next time we’re in the area. Jill and Jon are going to give us a good deal and rent us sleeping bags and a cookstove. I will blog about the mountain climb if I survive it.

I think this is the beginning of Mount Chirripo. I can confirm that in a few weeks.

This is a mountain that may or may not be Chirripo. You would think I would be able to identify the mountain I was standing at the base of. In my defense there were a whole lot of mountains right next to each other. Plus it’s a cool picture. It fits with the cloud theme. That’s right, there’s a theme.

This is a cow.

And this is an orange. I should write children’s books. I really wanted this orange but it was up to high. And didn’t belong to me. It is the perfect orange.

Eventually, we reached the hiking trail. The prior pictures are from the walk through the very rural and almost person-less town. We found Jon and Jill who told us to use the walking sticks that we would find near the trail. I’m not sure why we posed like that.

Here’s the bottom of one of the waterfalls on the trail.

The trail basically followed a river and passed a bunch of waterfalls. It was beautiful and a fairly difficult hike at times due to the steep hills.

This picture is more fun with no explanation.

Fortunately that last picture did not lead to my death, and when we got back we signed our names in the log book. And then we went to eat.

Only in a quiet, rural town like Chirripo will you find this on your menu.

We got the hawaiian pizza. There were only three other people eating that the restaurant. One was playing the flute. I requested Imagine by John Lennon and he played it. Chirripo is a unique place.


Chirripo was exactly what I needed. A quiet weekend away from everything. Now I’m refreshed and looking forward to a weekend in Cahuita to look at sloths and go snorkeling. Then the weekend after I’ll be doing some turtle-related volunteer work. I’ll try to do a joint blog post based on those two weekends.










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