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Backpacking In Costa Rica


In early 2005, I wouldn't have been able to point to Costa Rica on a map if my life depended on it. 

Six and a half years had passed since my first, and only, backpacking trip (to Europe). 

My life seemed to veer away from international travel after 9/11 and the cancellation of my trip to Egypt later that year. 

I lost one job, gained another, and found myself able to afford a nice vacation. 

Initially, I was focused on Switzerland, as I had missed it during my last trip to Europe, and had visions of beautiful mountain scenery. 

I didn't want to admit it, but my mom was right when she tried to steer me away from it, saying it'd be the most expensive country I could go to (and should save it for when I'm older). 

She suggested Costa Rica, as a friend of hers had been down there recently and enjoyed it.

Soon after, I heard the country's name mentioned by several others as well, including a coworker who grew up there, and was returning in June 2005 for a wedding.

After reading about Costa Rica in a few travel guides, and finding airfare to be at least half as expensive as Switzerland, I set the Central American country as my next travel destination. 

What follows is my travel journal and pictures from the trip in May 2005.

Planned Budget

$300 – roundtrip airfare on American Airlines
$540 – daily expenses ($30/day x 18 days)
$500 – adventure activities
$1,340 – total
Planning – Activities and Experiences
Planning – Trip Inventory
Day 1 – Washington, DC to San Jose – The Adventure Begins
Day 2 – Poas Volcano
Day 3 – Rafting the Mighty Pacuare River
Day 4 – Lounging in Cahuita
Day 5 – Snorkeling, Snakes and a Jungle Hike
Day 6 – Arriving in Puerto Viejo with Alice
Day 7 – Surfing Safari and a Sunburn
Day 8 – Morning Musings in Puerto Viejo
Day 9 – Puerto Viejo to La Fortuna, and About Last Night
Day 10 – Tips for Happy Feet
Day 11 – Erupting Arenal Volcano and a Steamy Hot Springs Night
Day 13 – Hiking the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Day 14 – Surfing at Santa Theresa Beach in Costa Rica
Day 15 – Santa Theresa to Montezuma
Day 16 – Jumping Off a 30-foot Jungle Waterfall in Montezuma
Day 17 – An Unexpected Date Night and Returning to San Jose
Day 18 – San Jose to Washington, DC – The Adventure Comes Full Circle
Reflections Upon Returning Home
Trip Cost

Last Updated on August 24, 2020 by Dave Lee