Day 28-30: Finale

by - August 17, 2009

Day 28: Monday 17th August 2009

A 5:30am wake up time was set for us to get up, get sorted and get our bus tickets to San Jose ready for 7.  The journey proved to be quite an ordeal, with an inconvenient change of buses in the middle after which myself and Hugo were assigned seats ‘51 and 52’ on the fifty-seater bus.  We therefore spent a fair deal of the six hour journey lying uncomfortably on the floor.  We met Rob (who had been forced to rush back to the capital) in the hostel.  The day had been wholly dedicated to travel and after catching taxis back to the now very familiar Hostel Pangea, we spent the rest of the evening completing mundane jobs like cleaning the trangias in the showers and itemising all of the kit ready to haul it back to the UK - as we wouldn’t be doing any more major journeys internally.

Day 29: Tuesday 18th August 2009

For our last full day in Costa Rica we intended to go white water rafting on the Rio Pacuare.  We had booked this a fair bit earlier in the trip at the cost of $80 per head, which included transport and two meals.  We were picked up at the hostel at 6.20am (now thoroughly used to early mornings) and headed east along the same road that had taken us to the Caribbean a few weeks ago.  Upon arrival at the town of Florida, where the rafting company was based, we were treated to an all-you-can-eat breakfast (ideal before any kind of stomach-churning extreme sport).

After filling up on as much food as possible we were transported over to the river and given a brief safety demonstration.  Rapids are classed out of six and the river that we would be on was a class four - apparently you are meant to start with a class two, but there weren’t any nearby…  I had never done anything like it before but thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely be up for doing it again.  At the last section of rapids our guides deliberately flipped the boats and let us tumble downstream to a quieter part, where they used the upturned boats as tables for our lunch, which they had carried with us in waterproof containers.  We had a few hours to mess around with the rafts before making our way back to the hostel.  Unfortunately (for obvious reasons) I didn’t have my camera with me for any stage of the rafting…hence the lack of photos.

Day 30: Wednesday 19th August 2009

With that, our time in Costa Rica was over.  Our last morning saw us pack up and make our way over to San Jose International Airport for our flight back to Newark and onto London Heathrow.  I like to think that we returned to England as different people - not many 17 year olds are exposed to such an eclectic array of challenges and experiences so far from home.  While World Challenge were always there as a safety net, we were never required to 'press the panic button’ - managing the entire trip ourselves.  As I write this, a whole five years after we flew back, I can definitely point to my time in Costa Rica as the start of something of a travelling career which has seen me spend nearly two of the last five years abroad across forty different countries.  In addition, the group of friends who travelled together has, on the whole, been the group that has endured through the challenges of spreading around the country through university.  The legacy of Costa Rica therefore continues to resonate half a decade later.

A last Costa Rican sunrise

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