Entering the country
From my last stop in Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur, the Costa Rican border was only a stone's throw away. To get there I first took a chicken bus.
At the border a long queue formed, because the Ticos, as the inhabitants of Costa Rica are called, do take it exactly at the entry. Often travellers even have to show a ticket to the next country and thus prove their willingness to return to their country in order to be let into the country. But they did not ask me for it. I crossed the border and took a bus to Liberia, the next bigger city. The bus was much more comfortable than the Nicaraguan one. On the way I noticed a large camp of refugees, mainly from Africa, who were stuck here on the border to Nicaragua. Certainly they are thinking of emigrating to the USA. They still have a lot more ahead of them!
In general, Costa Rica is much more advanced than most other Central American countries. For example, almost the entire electrical energy demand is covered by renewable energies. Also the people are not as poor as and the crime rates not as high as in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala.
Meeting a young local metalhead in San José
Liberia, my first stop in Costa Rica, is a rather unremarkable city where I enjoyed my first Gallo Pinto, the national dish consisting of rice and beans. Only 1 night I stayed here - then I moved on to the capital San José further inland. I reached San José on a Saturday morning. Like many other Central American capitals, the city is situated on a plateau and surrounded by mountains. And it does not have a lot of sights either. Among the most important are some museums, parks and the National Bank. In the evening I visited a local metal show and met a very young local who was happy that a foreign metalhead had come here.
On Sunday I explored the city and moved to a newer and more modern hostel. In the evening I met a Salvadoran woman for pizza. She didn't seem to be very happy in Costa Rica.
A beautiful basilica in Cartago
One day later I drove to Cartago, a small town near the capital which is known for its beautiful basilica.
I returned to San José the same day and left the city the next morning to go to Monteverde in the north of the country.