Day 8 – San Jaquine – Barbilla Ranger Station, Duration: 12.5 hrs
Like day 5, this was another huge day but we needed to do it to stay on target. We would be crossing dense jungle so needed a guide, luckily the saloon owner from the night before knew of an indigenous family that might be walking part of our route. She put us in touch and we set of to meet up with them. We were desperate to reach our destination but the indigenous tribe just did not think it was possible. They took us a far as their village where they said we should stay for the night and continue the following day, we really needed to make good progress though, and whether you’re in London or a tiny indigenous village in the clearing of a jungle – money talks – we handed over enough that meant the distance was doable after all and were given a 13 year old boy to guide us the rest of our way. What followed was 7hrs of knee deep, sucking mud and dense jungle. Not pleasant but it made the site of the ranger station all the more welcoming when we got there.
Day 9 – Barbilla Ranger Station to Estrada, Duration: 8hrs
After a comfortable night spent in the Ranger Station we set of for Estrada. For the first time on the trek, we dared to believe we might do this in the 10 days. If we reached Estrada by the end of the day, it would just be a short 15km trek across flat ground to the Caribbean Sea the next day – easy. After about 5 hrs it became apparent we had missed a turning, we couldn’t find it and decided to keep going on the track we were on as it would bring us out into a town and we would be able to work out where we were again. This would add about 15km onto our day and mean it was unlikey we would reach Estrada. We had to be off the roads by the evening as in this area a lot of drugs are trafficked up from South America meaning there are quite a few gangs. After making such good progress up until this
accommodation costa rica
point it was so frustrating thinking we may not make it within 10 days. Also we had more immediate problems of being stuck on the wrong side of some dodgy towns with nowhere to stay. After walking next to the highway for a few hours (very unpleasant but made up time). We came across some potential accommodation. When we checked it out, the room was basically a garage with mirrors on the ceiling, headboard and walls and the owner was surprised that we wanted it until 6 the next morning (I think most people take it for a couple of hours), however it was in a beautiful setting next to a river and at least we would be safe for the night.
Day 10 – Dodgy Garage / Brothel – Caribbean Sea, Duration: 8hrs
Although we messed up on day 9 we were still within range of the Carribbean. We set off and as we had done the day before, spent a couple of hours walking along the side of a highway. There is nothing pleasant about this. Massive trucks and juggernaughts come thundering past jut a few feet away, the noise and smell is terrible and we felt really exposed and vulnerable. The turning off the highway was really welcome and after a couple of kms of quiet track we reached Estrada, the town we hoped to spend the previous night in. We went to a shop and bought breakfast (we had eaten all of the food we bought for the trek). We took our time as we just had 15km to walk and about 6hrs in which to do it. Again we got the feeling that barring any sort of disaster we would complete the trek within 10 days. We set off and followed the track until it ran out, we then had to jump onto a railway line and just
couples costa rica trek
follow it until it hit the beach. After a few hot, but flat hours of walking we heard waves, we then saw a few flashes of blue through the trees, then as the railway turned to follow the beach we were presented with the beautiful Carribean Sea. We’d done it! All that was left to do was to take our shoes off and stand in the sea that had been our target forthe last 10 days. As with all expeditions like this, rather than an ecstatic feeling, we felt that slow build up of achievement that lasts for a long time, every day had been challenging in some way or another and it feels great to have achieved what we set out to do especially as a husband and wife team.
This was a really fun expedition. Obviously it was quite tough, walking for 10 hrs a day with a heavy bag on your back will always be tough, however the good certainly outweighed the bad. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and for it’s size is very diverse. The people are incredibly friendly, we were made to feel very welcome in most of the towns / villages we ended up in. People invited us into their homes or helped us in other ways. When we initially looked at doing this, we went to a few trekking companies to see if they would provide a guide for the whole trip, but they wanted to put us into larger groups with arranged accommodation. Although we planned the route, the fact that we had no idea where we would end up each night really added something to the experience and I’m glad we did it bysafe water costa rica trekking ourselves and stayed with locals. We had a fair amount of luck on our side; being introduced to Billhillio who knew the shortcut through the jungle saved us time, and we met some really good people who helped us with places to stay and advice. But in some ways you can help to create your own luck, we trained hard in the UK which meant we could cover large distances each day, we planned the route quite well and we had good kit and in this respect we’d like to thank the guys at Water-to-Go for their support, we found their products to be incredibly useful, they worked well and we’d recommend them highly.