Friday, April 29, 2016

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We arrived early into the land of "Pura Vida". Puerto Viejo via Boquete, Panama from our Hola shuttle  it's more expensive than the regular bus but it is faster, comfier & sometimes, just sometimes there is wifi onboard. We had to cross the border into Costa Rica from Panama which is literally a bridge & an immigration house on either side. I stopped in the middle of the bridge to get a quick snap. We Stayed at Casa Azul, The Wild Side from Airbnb. The town is about a 5km cycle away so we rented bikes which Farah isn't very keen on especially with the heat. It was about 33deg when we arrived. The town is small about 3 blocks and has some extremely tasty Caribbean food, it is very similar to the Panamanian food but it is definitely tastier. I had the chicken curry for lunch & it was epic. The chicken just fell off the bone, wow. In Panama they were known as Fonda's but here it's called a Soda. Across the street from us is a small beach, not really for swimming but it is covered in black sand. There are two black sand beaches nearby, the most fascinating part is the sand is magnetic. We actually took some home in a glass bottle and when you put a strong magnet to the glass, the sand just follows it around.

Some of the black sand
We cycled to Punta Uva beach to explore & chill. On the way we passed about a dozen howler monkeys freaking out in a tree, im guessing one of the fellas tried to steal a girl. Punta Uva beach is not that easy to find on a bike & don't expect to see any signs. By the time you get to the beach you are dripping in sweat & ready for the beautiful blue waters. The beach is to die for but be careful of the waves & rip currents which seems to be the case along the coast. I literally spent 3 hours on the beach, read a book, ate some lunch & was back in my Casa at 3pm for my afternoon siesta. That night we got a taxi into town instead of biking because drinking & driving is never a good idea. We bought some clothes, had some drinks & ate at another soda. They are cheap, about $8 for a full plate of food, meat or fish, rice and beans.

Howler monkeys in the tree

Last night I had nightmares about dogs & monkeys, it must have been something I drank. Our kitchen happens to be outside the cabin which is wonderful. Our host Eric was walking around & showed us some Iguana's high in the tree's just lounging in the sun & a sloth that was on a tree above us. Apparently he only comes down once a week to go to the toilet. I kept seeing this animal that looked like a giant rat, in fact one of them ran in front of the wheel of my bike & frightened the shit out of me. It's massive, like a hamster on steroids but very fast & I finally got a name for it, an Agouti. It mostly feeds on fruit & seeds so I'm safe for another day. I have yet to see a Toucan & that bothers me because I cannot leave Costa Rica without seeing a Toucan. We ate breakfast at Rocking J's, not that I would recommend it but it was the closest thing to the beach. We had breakfast burritos while surrounded by backpackers who have pitched tents everywhere. The place was cheap $6 a tent & lively, shared lockers for all your gear & definitely a hit with the backpackers. It's not my thing but I can see the budget appeal.

Can you spot the sloth?

Here is a close up image
We spent the day at Playa Cocles. It is a red flag beach which is just great, it means no swimming again & only going in only to your shins. It was laced with riptides & lifeguards watching over. I've never been to so many beaches that I could not swim in. Lunch couldn't come quick enough because I love my food & we got served some bbqed fish in coconut milk curry by the roadside. To be honest, it was only ok but the day took a high when we rewarded ourselves with massages. Since we had been cycling everywhere for days, we thought a nice massage of the calves was in order.
Side note , try to snap a photo of these feckin Agouti's if you are in Costa Rica.
Please follow us on our journey, tomorrow we head to San Jose, Costa Rica. For our past travels check out our trip to Bocas Del Toro

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tulum, Mexico!

Butcher selling his meats from the side of the road near Coba.

Tulum is broken into two parts, the town & the beach but both have their unique features & flavours. The beach is about a 5min drive or a 15min cycle from Tulum town. Town is where you get your cheap tacos, cheap drinks, tamales by the roadside, souvenirs, hats, t-shirts, crosses, hammocks. It is however better to wait and shop in Playa Del Carmen if you are going to be passing through because although Tulum gets a lot of tourists, their markets cannot compare to markets of Del Carmen where you can haggle on every cent. Tulum beach has a very different manicured feel to it. This is where we slept & arose to the sounds of the ocean but for cheap eats & tacos, the town is your best bet. If you are willing to drop some $$ then there is an amazing restaurant called Hartwood. Fresh fish is caught daily which is just what I wanted & the added bonus of a delicious drinks menu. I believe the chef is from New York & here the flavours will not disappoint. They do take reservations & they fill up very quickly. The staff are incredibly friendly & it was like home away from home vibe.

Going to the cenotes is a must and they are literally dotted all over the coastline from Cancun to Tulum. Another day trip is to bike to the Tulum Ruins. They are not as great nor are they as expansive as the ruins at Coba but you still get to walk around some ancient ruins with a beautiful ocean on one side.

To check out where we stayed, have a look at two of my other blog posts click on these links for The Papaya Playa Project & Azulik.

Mexican roadside chicken

Tulum Ruins

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kelly & Larae

Kelly & Larae got married in Guelph, Ontario, after 5 years together since they met at University of Michigan. They now live in Toronto & thought Guelp would be the perfect spot to host all their friends & family from across the US & Canada. The morning of their wedding we drove to a cottage they had rented in the country side. As we pulled up, the fog gave way to this little garden of paradise. The cottage was surrounded by fields & fog, I remember feeling like it was a film set. There was a beautiful turquoise lake in the middle of the garden with a bridge to one side, a weeping willow on the other & horses nearby.

While Larae nervously waited behind the giant weeping willow, we decided this was the perfect spot for The First Look. Once Kelly arrived all the jitters had worn off, leaving behind some tears & laughter. The wedding party soon joined them for some fun shots on the grounds. We even used some of the horses & the canoe, it was good times.

The ceremony took place Melville United Church in the small town of Fergus, Ontario & the party continued at Seederiou Estonian Camp in Elora, Guelph. It started with a massive BBQ, then there was some free time while the reception got ready. During this time people swam, played basketball, there was a serious game of volleyball going on.

That night Kelly & Larae shared stories, songs, poems and even dances for their guests. Guys, thank you so much for allowing us to be part of your big day.

Second Shooter - Farah Khan//