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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Costa Rica Part 15

    Saturday, August 12, 2017
    San Jose to Liberia, Costa Rica

    The Pulmitan bus terminal in San Jose, Costa Rica.
    The Pulmitan bus terminal in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    The incredibly plush chairs at the Pulmitan bus terminal in San Jose, Costa Rica.
    The incredibly plush chairs at the Pulmitan bus terminal in San Jose, Costa Rica.

    When I woke up this morning, I was faced with quite a quandary. I spent an hour or two trying to decide if I should: 1. Travel to La Fortuna, which is a four-hour bus ride north in Costa Rica, to see the volcano, and then visit the cloud forest at Monteverde to the west of that, or: 2. Proceed onward to Nicaragua, where I could also see a volcano and many other things. (Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to do both.) Ultimately, Nicaragua won. So, at 11:00 am, I checked out of Costa Rica Backpackers and rode in a taxi cab through the gridlocked streets of downtown San Jose a couple of miles over to the Pulmitan bus terminal.

    My bed at the Hotel Liberia in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    My bed at the Hotel Liberia in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    There, I bought a ticket to Liberia, a small, pleasant town in northwest Costa Rica, where I could spend the night before heading on northward to the Nicaragua border. At the soda inside the Pulmitan terminal, I ordered a plate of rice, beans and potatoes that cost only $3.00. I wish all of the other places in San Jose–and Costa Rica in general–were that cheap. They usually charge almost twice as much! When I went to sit down to wait for the bus, I was astonished to encounter super thick cushioned seats, the likes of which I’ve never seen in any bus terminal anywhere, ever. They were so comfortable! I could have sat in those seats for hours, but, of course, the bus departed 20 minutes later, just after 12:00 noon.

    Some lively op art on the front of Ranas Surf shop in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Some lively op art on the front of Ranas Surf shop in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    Town square in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Town square in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    I was assigned to seat number 14 on the upper level of a double decker bus. Sitting next to me was a nice, middle-aged Costa Rican lady who is now an apparel designer living in San Jose, but was going home to her native Liberia to visit her mom. We talked on and off, via broken English and Spanish, about each of our lives, as well as interesting national parks and other sites in Guanacaste, the province Liberia is located in.

    Some psychedelic map-inspired art on a van at town square in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Some psychedelic map-inspired art on a van at town square in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    After making a couple of stops, the bus finally pulled into Liberia around 4:00 pm. Instead of continuing to the main terminal a few blocks further north, I jumped up, struggled to free my big backpack from the vice-like grip of the overhead bin, and hopped off at a bus stop in front of the main drag in town. I made my way up the street, past numerous restaurants, small shops, and two or three larger appliance stores that were, as usual, blasting super loud music.

    Flyer wars on a pole in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Flyer wars on a pole in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    Parroquia de La Inmaculada Concepción at sunset in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Parroquia de La Inmaculada Concepción at sunset in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    After making a wrong turn or two, I stepped into the Hotel Liberia, which boasts a rather stately interior with a wooden entry hall and restaurant, with private rooms on each side and shared rooms in a three-story building in the back. I was happy to get a spot in a four-bed room for just $10.

    Intersecting planes in Liberia, Costa Rica.
    Intersecting planes in Liberia, Costa Rica.

    Since it was less than two hours before sunset, I went out for a walk to shoot some photos. There was a surplus of activity down at town square. As scores of birds chirped in the trees and church bells chimed, people sat on benches in the park, where young dudes rode their BMX bikes and skateboards on a wide sidewalk that separates the park from a large Catholic church, the Parroquia de La Inmaculada Concepción. After scoring some food, I headed back to my room, where I was super stoked I had the room to myself for the whole night!

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

    One response to “Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Costa Rica Part 15”

    1. Larry Balma says:

      Thanks for the stories. Awesome church. We had our Mercato at our house on saturday. Goodrich Lance Billy Ruff Brian Logan and many other friends that you have met were there. Billy purchased a bunch of my old toys and was so stoked. Sounds like you are having quite an adventure. Have fun. Not much mail yet. Enjoy!

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