Sophie in our 'treehouse' cabina
After a very very long day, we finally arrived in Puerto Viejo
. We had got up at 5.20am to get our bus from Santa Elena
at 6.30am, made it back to the capital by about 11am, and were on our next 5 hour bus to Peurto Viejo within an hour. We were quite lucky, as we initially thought that we were going to be the only people on the bus, as we were issued seat numbers 1 and 2. It turned out that these were infact disabled seats, so had been given out last, which meant that we got the last two seats for the bus.
The journey to Puerto Viejo to San Jose was pretty horrendous. In terms of the roads anyway.
The stairs leading up to our room
They twisted and turned so much, and I was sure that I was going to be sick on multiple occasions. I had also been promised that were I to be sick, then Rusty would quickly follow suit as he couldn't stand the sight! So by the time we arrived in Puerto Viejo, we were very tired and weary. We got off the bus and set off for the hostels that we wanted to have a look at, and before long we had been joulined by Juan, a local. Juan, as he told us, was going to show us where to stay on the islanded us that (we were already wary by this point) but assur he didn't want money from us, but the hostel wod give him a bit for recommending it. We tried to shake him off, as he kept talking about somewhere lovely for $37 per night (way out of our budget), by saying that we were going to a hostel just down the road that was in our book, but as we looked at it (and he told us), it seemed to have shut down.
Rainy Puerto Viejo
And we were assured by him that we wouldn't like the 'Hotel Puerto Viejo' (our other option), we decided to follow him to what he described as the 'best place on the island' for our budget.
It was out of town a little bit, and when we got there it seemed perfectly nice, but the owner was slightly strange. There were some other girls staying there and they came out and asked the guy if he could empty their bins, as they hadn't been done, and he basically told them that it wasn't his problem, it was the cleaner's fault! By this point we'd seen enough, and decided to go an check 'Hotel Puerto Viejo' out for ourselves. Sure enough, by the time we'd made it back there, Juan was with us, to tell them there that he'd brought us, but we didn't really mind by this point.
The hotel was basic, but we got given a really cool room.
Trying to dry our macs as we had a lovely crepe for breakfast
As you opened the door, you were faced immediately with a small flight of stairs. From there you went up to the bedroom which was all wooden, and had all 4 sides with windows all the way along, which were just wooden diamonds with mosquito netting on, so it was like being outside but inside. It was really pretty cool, especially when it rained at night and you could hear it all around you! The other benefit of this room was that it was over $10 dollars cheaper than the other one, so we decided to stay there.
I don't think that Rusty and I can give an objective opinion of Puerto Viejo itself. Literally from the moment we got there, until two mornings later at 6am when we left, it rained. Probably mostly due to this, we just didn't get a great vibe from the place (it's pretty hard to when you're having to run from place to place in your anoraks and even then are soaked to the bone within seconds).
The locals seem to have got it right at least!
I think that the other problem is that, the main thing to do in Puerto Viejo is surf. And we couldn't even really see the sea for the rain, so we weren't able to do this.
So in the end we just spent a lot of time eating, reading and trying to have a look around in the brief respites from the torrential rain. I think this made us appreciate how lucky we've been, as travelling in Central America's 'rainy season', this is the first time that we've seen rain properly. And it got us down a bit, especially as we'd spent so long getting there. So it was really lovely to speak to all of you at home from the internet cafe, that cheered us up greatly!
So we decided to have a look around at how to get to our next destination, Bocas del Toro, Panama. This was easier said than done.
One for mummy and grandma!
There seemed to be all sorts of options - a private minibus which cost $55(!) per person and would leave at whatever time we wanted and then a series of other minibuses varying in price from $35 to $28 which all didn't leave until the afternoon so wouldn't get in until about 5pm in the evening. There was also the public bus which for $1 took you to the border town, but it was then all a little foggy in our book about how easy it was to proceed from then. In the end we decided to go for this option, as it was the cheapest, and left at 6.30am in the morning, so we'd get there a lot earlier.