I arrived in my AirBnb in Puntarenas around 13:30, about 4 hours and 30 minutes after I left Tambor. The buses in Puntarenas were around 300 and 350 colones. After some things I had to do I was finally relieved and could enjoy again. I have met Jorge, Wilson and Jose, some awesome guys. Unfortunately I could not party hard with them, I was still taking care of my stomach. Anyway we had fun. Share some Swiss chocolate together, had an awesome Churchill (fruit salad with condensed milk and even more ingredients.
On an evening we enjoyed a football match Puntarenas vs Curridabat (azul from San Jose).
On my second last day I lost my glasses, shame on me. Right now I am running on my emergency lenses until my new glasses arrive.
On the 5th February I took a bus to Liberia fro crossing the boarder next day. I waited at the famous bus station (see google map link) a little bit outside of Puntarenas. You can take a local bus from Puntarenas to Barranca and tell the bus driver you want to go to El Cruce (https://goo.gl/maps/4M2j8ECWrUt) for taking a bus to Liberia. The bus arrived around 13:00 or 13:30 and finally I boarded the bus and paid 2875 colones. After a bus ride of 2h and 30 minutes or a little more, I finally arrived in Liberia.
After a long journey from San José (bus, ferry and bus again), I arrived in Tambor. It is a really small lovely town. That day I met my Mother (jippy) in her Hotel like 45 minutes walk from my hotel. The walk was mostly along the beach. The tides were really strong there. Here are some pictures for comparison.
The time flew by at this wonderful beach.
Another day we did a day trip to Montezuma, where we enjoyed the waterfall and some lovely dishes. We tried to take the autobus during the time we waited no bus crossed our view. But in the mean time I tried to hitch hike and it worked after 30-40 minutes. A lovely woman from USA, who lives now in Santa Teresa, gave us a lift to Cobano. In Cobano we took a bus another to Montezuma (350 colones). The woman gave us also really awesome information about a nice walk to the waterfalls.
Arrived in Montezuma we enjoyed some drinks in the beach bar & restaurant (https://goo.gl/maps/zN3TfavPReC2) and finally we headed to the waterfalls. But before that, we needed some energy and therefore we went to El Mariposario Montezuma Gardens for some food. Food was amazing but quite expensive and small portions!
The woman from the car also explained that there would be a suspension bridge to the waterfall for the ones that are not able to “climb” and hike. Anyway we tried our best. Our way, which we took was quite tough. Also there were some passages where you had to climb and use some ropes as a help. So the waterfall hike is no for fearful or immovable people. Our path started from this hotel and is not the official path J https://goo.gl/maps/CKcLcYzg3P72 on maps me you can see the path to the waterfall (disclaimer). The hike was awesome but unfortunately my mother could not do the hard part so she had to walk the same way back.
Anyway the secret past is at the end of the street. See picture below:
Anyway the waterfall and the hike was awesome, also the small “climbing” passages were awesome.
Around 16:15 we had to take the last bus back to Cobano and then to Tambor (900 colones).
Here some other impressions of Tambor. Airport and night time:
Due to some reasons I left Tambor earlier and went to Puntarenas. The bus from Tambor until the ferry station was around 2900 colones and the ferry was an additionally 810 the whole journey took like from 9:00 to 13:00.
Anyway thank you Mom for everything!!! It was fun to see you!
To be honest I did not do a lot of sightseeing in San Jose. I had a small walk around in the centre but that was it. But I tell you what I know. Thursday, Friday and Saturday there are open bar on Calle 21 (near Caccio’s bar or Area City). So if you want a cold beer and party with locals go there on the indicated days.
My absolutely favorite restaurant was near my hostel (TripOn Open House) and is called Mantras Café. It is a vegetarian and also some vegan place. The dishes I ate there were amazing and worth the money! https://goo.gl/maps/8gp7HHzvRbm
I left San Jose by Bus to Tambor (15.90$). I think you can have it cheaper but I booked it like 2 months in advance due to an important date. (https://www.laterminalcostarica.com/)
On the 24th I took the boat from San Pedro to San Marco (10Q). When I arrived in San Marcos I went to Villa Tzankujil (100Q a private room) due to a recommendation of a friend. Unfortunately when I arrived the villa was fully booked but I have been lucky. Right next to it (left) there was Casa Azul which had some available rooms for 90Q. Booked!!!
It was time for lunch, but before I tell you where I ate, I have to describe the awesome breakfast I had in the morning. I had a brownie and pan de chocolate from Circles Café, was so amazing!!!!
Anyway for lunch I went to Comedor Konojel, a non profit project that sell amazing food. Menu costs around 30 Q and is pretty good. Even good for breakfast and dinner.
Later that day I went to the mirador and the “trampoline” where you can jump into the water. They are located in the natural reserve Cerro Tzankujil (15Q, open from 9 to 5). There is also a small hike around the hill and the view is breathtaking. Look at the photos!!!
Thanks Reini for the recommendations.
25th early in the morning (8 am in San Pedro) it was time to take the shuttle to Antigua and then to Guatemala City (125 Q).
It was already the last day in Guatemala, bye bye!!!
I arrived at San Pedro early in the morning by boat (15Q from Santiago). My breakfast was pita bread with falafel at the falafel place (ad humus) for 20Q. The bread was awesome and gave me enough energy to walk to my hostel Zoola, where I slept one night. Zoola had a bar, private rooms, dorm and even a swimming pool. But my night there was strange because there were no other people in the dorm. For dinner I went to Shanti Shanti (near to Zoola) and again I ate falafel, sorry they were just really addictive. It was a calm day for me and used it for recharging my battery.
Next day I took all my energy and started to walk towards San Juan and then the feeling caught me and I walked to San Pablo until San Marcos, where I had my lunch (guess what? falafel). I ate lunch at moonfish and again it was pretty delicious. Relaxed in San Marcos until I took a boat back to San Pedro (10Q).
I could feel my legs and therefore back in San Pedro I went to Sublime. Sublime is a really nice bar / restaurant to hang next to the lake. I had an awesome banana smoothie with milk.
Later that day I arranged my shuttle back to Guatemala City (125Q from San Pedro via Antigua, left at 8 am).
I forgot to mention that I changed hostel (a friend recommended me Mr. Mullets). In that hostel I have met two travellers, whom I knew from Puerto Escondido (the world is small). We played some darts and yazzi. Thanks for the good time.
For dinner I went to a street stand to have some awesome chicken with tortillas, rise and vegetables. The street stand was located near the Spanish school (https://goo.gl/maps/4juzH1VgdYz). It should be the last stand when you walk down the street from Mr. Mullets. 30Q was the whole menu, chignon!!!!
If you are in Mexico at least you have to try once the famous drink, Pulque is originally without any flavour but for weak people, like the tourists and me, they add some flavour to the drink. Give it a try. Ask for some tester you can try any flavour you want.
Pepe, that was an awesome Oaxaca night. And I still cannot believe that the marimba player can handle four sticks….
What to do
Recommended with groups, if you go alone it could be really boring. You should go with some friends at least four. As I remember we paid 900 pesos for 3 hours (my Mexican friends were a big help). If you have a Mexican in your group she/he should do the haggling. I recommend also, rent your own boat, if you take the tourist tour could be boring and there is no real party going on.
If you are really good with haggling you can get 4 hours fewer than 1000 pesos, challenge accepted!!!
Pachona and all the others, it was big fun. Let’s do it again!!! Thanks for the invitation!
Zocalo, main plaza
Enjoy the awesome buildings around the place
El Castillo de Chapultepec
Nice castle up the hill in “west” Mexico City. 51 MXN entry fee, free from 9 to 17
I think you can have it way cheaper, some I have met went there by metro and then took another public bus to the north and in the end they paid a fraction of the 48 USD, but for sure with the tour you have all the service and even there is tequila tasting included, do you math and watch your budget 😀
Try to play marimba (Thanks pepe for that awesome night and for all you recommendations)
No recommendation: experience one or two earthquakes in CDMX
That was a crazy time. The first earthquake is felt in CDMX was around midnight and Sean, Marc and I were out eating pasta. We just left the restaurant when the earthquake started. My every first earthquake was kind of interesting and amazing because I have never experienced one. But soon the fascination and amazement changed.
The second one literally scared the shit out of me, and I could feel that my body was still under shock three or four days later, fortunately on the fifth day I left CDMX and my body could regenerate and relax better. The whole city was big chaos. A lot of buildings were damaged or even felt down. We tried to help where we could. We transported big rocks from the fallen building to a place where big trucks and jeeps could reach. Big human queues were made to make the transportation of the stones more efficient. https://goo.gl/81ebsr
Also that day I saw a big ass fireball, could feel the heat. I stayed around 30 to 40 meters away from the explosion centre, goose bump time!!! https://goo.gl/CzbNHz
Another thing which I also will never forget is that some government officials posted or told wrong information, like building X is damaged in street Y, they need help but in the end there was nothing. The reason behind was, as a Mexican told me, that the officials could send a truck full of medicine to that place but of course the truck never reached that destination and was leaded to somewhere else… no comment
After a short boat ride from Panajachel to Santiago and 30Q I arrived at the docks of Santiago.
Spend here one night two nights at most. There is not a lot to do. I had still a lot of writing to do and therefore I stayed an additional night in Santiago. The private room at Santiaguito (Hostelworld) is okay and for 60Q perfect for me to do my writing.
I met Reini, super guy from Austria. We spent the day together and explored the town.
We went to Parque Xechivoy for sun bathing and you could even take a bath there, some nice docks to jump from.
Enjoy also the many markets around the lake. Buy some Guatemalan hoddie for around 50Q. Eat a cheap and good breakfast around parquet central.
For dinner I went twice to Quila’s (quesadillas or good paninis). For breakfast I found a cool Panini shop at the main street 14.
Quila’s for cheaper dinner or good banana milk shake
Parque Xechivoy for relaxing and a bath
Markets for some souvenirs or Guatemalan hoodies or clothes
After a short flight from cuidad de mexico I arrived in Guatemala city. The taxi from the airport was waaaay too much as far as I remember 120Q. So my recommendation is to buy for the same amount of money a SIM card and use Uber (would have cost 60Q). I was staying in Tequila Sunrise the beds were okay (8 bed room). But there were just 8 lockers for the whole hostal so I had to store my most important belongings in the safe of the hostal. But the breakfast was included (pancakes with fruits and maple syrup) and the cost of 7.5$ was fair.
I had a full day for seeing the city there were not many things to do. So two nights were enough to see the “whole” city.
The night I arrived I met with Kevin and Lex and we went out to 1001 noches for dinner and a 3 liters dispenser (100Q). I ate a pizza on a stone which was quite good but a little small for my appetite. The 1001 noches is kind of a mall with different food stands and also different bars. From pizza to Guatemalan to dessert you can have everything there. When you enter you have to “buy” a card and top it up with some quetzales. With that card you can pay everywhere but keep in mind the rest on the card cannot be returned so you have to use it.
The next day we walked around the city centre, palace and other important buildings. The local Mercado Central nearby was also interesting but after 15 minutes you have seen it.
For food I recommend following:
La Esquina: awesome place different offers and nice swinging chairs
Sabe rico: organic restaurant
Santo Pan: awesome food (Kevin)
Gas brothers: sushi place (Kevin liked the sushi, for me it was mediocre)
That was everything from Guatemala City.
1001 Noches for dinner and beer or even fancy gin cocktails
La Esquina: awesome place different offers and nice swinging chairs
Sabe rico: organic restaurant
Santo Pan: awesome food (Kevin)
Palace and big square
Get a SIM card and use Uber for saving money and for safety reason
I was really lucky. My friends Kevin and Lexa left also the same day for Panajachel. The good thing was that they are travelling by car so they gave me a lift to Panajachel. The view from the steep street from Solola to Panajachel was amazing. Arrived in Panajachel we had to pay 10Q fee for entering Pana. First night in Pana was not that spectacular.
Next day we went to the Reserva Natural Atitlán (2.5 km from the centre to the west). It was amazing. The price of 70Q was worth it. The have a butterfly house, a nice walk to the lake with some “self-made” looking bridges.
The monkey and the coatis were funny to feed. One banana cost 1Q for feeding them. Also do not forget to walk to the waterfall. It was a lovely day there and for sure worth it to go when you are staying in Pana.
Also the same day we needed to find out when the first ferry to Santa Cruz leaves. So we walked to the ferry station in the west. And we found out that the first leaves around 6:30 am and every ca. 20 min others and the cost 15Q (one way).
That night we ate at Pupuseria Cheros, the served awesome cheap pupusas (from Salvador). They were really delicious. Also the have a nice deal for beer!
Diving Day in Santa Cruz
On Friday we woke up early to catch an early boat to Santa Cruz for our high altitude diving course. Took a boat around 7:00 am to Santa Cruz, where our course started around 8:00. The two dives were not that spectacular but the skills and theory I learnt were interesting. Highlights of the dives: there were some hot spots in the lake where the volcano warms up the water; you can even cook an egg there. The hotel which is partially underwater is also really nice to see and do not forget to look for the crabs in the lake that are hunting some fishes. Get some impression on my youtube channel.
The dive with atidivers.com was 100$ (70 for the dives and 30 for the certificate) including all gear and there would have been even one night for free in the dormitory included.
In the evening I went to the market in Pana (main street) to buy a leather belt and some post cards. Haggling and bargain hard!
Next day I was ready to leave and went to the ferry station to take an early boat to Panajachel. Watch out, ask where the ferry will leave, there are two ferry stations. Don’t make the same mistake and walk with all bags to the wrong station.
The boat trip was 25Q + 5 Q (due to many bags…) and the duration was around 30 minutes. So around 9:00 am I arrived in Santiago.
If you want to dive: atidivers.com, the spots in the lake are not that spectacular but I did it because was my first lake dive and high altitude dive
Reserva Natural Atitlán, butterflies, monkey and cuaties (70Q)
Boat to Santa Cruz (15Q), first around 6:30 am and last around 16:30
Arrived in Antigua after a long ride due to traffic jam in Guatemala City, I checked in in Hostal Matox. The private shuttle from my hostel ind Guatemala City to my new hostal was 80Q.
Matox, an awesome hotel everything what a traveler needs. Good beds, stable wifi, books for reading, big kitchen and even a whirlpool!!! They even had bike for free rent! Unfortunately I had to change hostel because I just booked one night and the hostel was full for the other days. So therefore I change to three monkey also a great hostel, just the whirlpool was missing. 🙂
Anyway during my stay I visited the different sites. Different churches, Chocolate museum, central park and the best was the mirador de la cruz. Next destination Panajachel.
Highlights and Recommendations:
Mirador del Cerro de la Cruz (go there between 8:00 and 15:00, tourist police is there for security)
Eat at the farm Caoba (see the picture, Pizza)
for a good salad go to Luna del Miel
Chocolate museum (there are two)
Fridas, mexican restaurant, monday and thursday 2×1 cocktail