Jaco, Costa Rica
December 03, 2000
Jaco's a small village accessed by a narrow two lane road through the mountains, known mostly for surfing. Just really a narrow dirt road with a small group of buildings. Spent most of the first day in Jaco at the beach. Fantastic.
Surfing was definitely a morning activity; at night, the ocean turned to glass and the phosphorescent critters came out once the sun set. Had a bit of an incident that night as a result. Went for a swim in the phosphorescence which seemed like a great idea at the time but ended up what seemed like five miles out to sea having been pulled by a huge current as we were cluelessly sightseeing seaward. That was a long, scary, silent swim back for Alex and I.
The second day we decided that the three of us would take a horse ride down the beach then up the hillside to enjoy the view. Pretty cool rainforest canopies, plus December was just before the rainy season, so we missed the giant bugs. The whole thing was a bit surreal like out of a movie.
The top had spectacular views of the north and south Pacific coastlines, and the trail going up had Capucin monkeys in the trees. Fantastic.
San Jose, Costa Rica
December 01, 2000
I have never flown into an airport like this.
A narrow, cinder block building that funnels you straight to some sliding doors. Directly through the doors, high barbed wire fences and men with automatic machine guns standing guard. What freakin chaos.
You're immediately mobbed by people wanting a ride, to give you a ride or to give you a car.
Driving into the city, it's beautiful jungle scenery intermixed with slum housing. Houses made of anything you can find laying around – cardboard, corrugated iron, bricks, rocks, whatever. Many of the houses only had three sides and a fire out front, five or six people in an 8x10 square.
The capital city was a mix of contemporary and aging historical architecture. We found this fantastic building about ten blocks off the main downtown sector, looked like a castle turret, and I thought it was incredible.
Unfortunately, much of the architecture was just being torn down and replaced with new buildings.