Friday, March 11, 2016

Costa Rica: Land of 1000 Injuries

Costa Rica is amazing. Every hour is some new challenge or adventure, the weather is lovely, the scenery is gorgeous, the people are as friendly as everyone says, and the girls I'm with are incredible. There is one pretty significant hazard to all this, however...feeling so happy and safe all the time combined with the dramatically beautiful and constantly captivating land makes you want to push yourself further and harder, exploring the hidden and taking advantage of every opportunity. So 7 days into the trip, our bodies are pretty beat up. It's impossible to let little injuries get you down, though! So we brush it off and keep going, and get cut up and bitten and bruised some more. 

On Tuesday night I climbed up the inside of an ancient strangler fig/ficus and got all cut and bruised going up and down it.Woke up Wednesday (which will from here on be known as the most incredible day ever- will detail later), with a bunch of mysterious bruises, probably from the tree climb, and then I tripped on some little stairs in the cloud forest and sprained my ankle. Yesterday morning we hiked for a bit and Jess was walking about a meter in front of me. She stepped on the end of a long log and the other end flew up like a lever and its jagged edge stabbed me right above my knee, so now I have a little cut and a big bruise there. Then we sat in a hot car most of the day getting sunburned, and layered more sunburn on top of that at the beach today. To sweeten the deal, all of our legs are coated in mosquito bites. Elyse is having some kind of allergic reaction to the bites and her ankle was all swollen up yesterday. On top of all the ailments I've gotten IN Costa Rica, due to having acrylics on my nails for a long time, the first half of my fingernails were super thin and brittle, and letting them grow out even the tiniest bit made them rip and so this week I've been going through various stages of nail tearing and having my nail beds exposed...especially painful when reaching into my backpack fishing for things or gripping branches and rocks while hiking...

PSA: 15 SPF organically grown aloe vera sunscreen gel does not work against Pacific sun. I am absolutely cooked. A random stranger just walked past me and said "looks like you overdid it" it's that bad. Most of my skin is speckled pink and red and white. This is one of the reasons I dislike the  beach (gasp!) skin is very pale and very sensitive and I am okay being pale! But peer pressure got to me this time, and I was stupid and thought this sketchy, low SPF sunscreen would be fine. It wasn't and now I am going to look like I'm 50 when I'm 30 and all my skin is going to fall off and I am going to get skin cancer and look like a piece of old leather and children will run screaming from me...was paradise worth it? Decide for yourself. Here are some pictures of Bahía Ballena (whale bay) and the cola ballena (whale tail) beach in Uvita where the massacre of my skin cells occurred.

the whale tail itself- we were sitting near the coconut
tree forest just to the left of the fork
Best part is looking up at those cool, misty mountains, imagining you're up there...

Rough Guides says about this beach: "Visitors here will be amply rewarded with wide beaches washed by lazy breakers, palms swaying on the shore, and a hot, serene and very quiet atmosphere. This will no doubt change, as more people discover Bahía Ballena, but for the time being it’s unspoilt." 
I agree with the description- the beach is beautiful and quiet and we had much of the high beach to ourselves. One interesting thing about this beach is that it is very wide. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the edge of the forest down to the whale tail area, and once you decide you're going to leave the beach, you have to walk probably another 15 minutes to the entrance, because since the entire beach is a national park, you have to pay a $6 entry fee and there is basically only one (non-forest) way off and on.  

Anyway, this is kind of a random collection of stories and advice and ranting- hopefully the rest of my posts will be a bit more guided, and more helpful for any potential tourists, but I just wanted to get some ideas on "paper"...pura vida

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