Sunday, 30 June 2013

Costa Rica : The Journey, The Do's & Dont's!

On the 30th May, I set off on a solo adventure to the place were sloth dreams are made of - Costa Rica!

More specifically; Aviarios del Caribe, Penshurt in Limón. The place where 40 degrees and 80%+ humidity is considered the norm in 'rainy season' and the bugs come in all different kinds of shapes & sizes; potentially outnumbering the population of humans... So. Many. Bugs. *shudder*

Anyway, in short, I had the best time; learning a lot of new things along the way, meeting new friends, experiencing new ways of life, and completely falling in love with the amazing animal that is the sloth. 

In long? Well. 
The journey there wasn't one of the easiest things. 1. I was travelling by myself. 2. I had a connecting flight. 3. I'd never caught a connecting flight before. 4. I was carrying a considerable amount of money (for the sanctuary). 5. My first flight was delayed, but I was still told to 'run' to see if I made the next one = which resulted in me being a bit of a paranoid, confused mess. 

I'd always considered myself a fairly confident traveller, having lived in Spain and jet-setted here, there & everywhere by myself, I didn't think much of all of the 12hrs flying ahead of me. But it turns out, I couldn't really handle it all that well. So here are a couple of things I would've changed/tips for any solo flyers out there...
♥ Pack a LIGHT amount of hand-luggage. Especially if it isn't on wheels. When you're running through the airport, sweating like an ox, blisters on your hand and a nice amount of chafing on your shoulder; you're going to really wish you didn't have all your chargers and a hefty book in there. 

♥ Having said that DO pack a change of clothes, or at least some underwear, a deodorant stick and a toothbrush. Getting caught out after missing my connecting flight and not getting to see my checked luggage until I got to Costa Rica resulted in a stinky, uncomfortable, dishevelled looking me overnight and on a flight for four hours the next day. I'd never appreciated shampoo and clean clothes as much as I did when I got there.
♥ Talk to people! Despite bumping into more than a handful of extremely rude people in Atlanta, there is always one saving grace, so keep looking for them. Mine came in the form of George on the Delta desk who swiftly sorted me out a hotel for the night, my bag to be re-checked onto the next flight, $50 to spend in the airport and a poor excuse for a toiletry bag; but beggars cant be choosers. I will always remember him fondly. Even though he couldn't understand what I was saying, and vice versa.
♥ Atlanta airport is like... the biggest place I may have ever seen with my eyeballs at one time. It's some kind of shopping centre/food court/airport/excessive walkway, all in one. I mean, it even has a TRAIN to get you from terminal to terminal. So if you have an hour or less to catch your flight, don't even waste your energy. You aren't going to make it.

♥ There are a whole load of confusing rules when it comes to Duty Free and even things bought in the airport - drinks included, when travelling out of Costa Rica to the States. My advice to you is, just don't bother.
♥ I stayed at the Marriott, it was wonderful and I would highly recommend it. I also used Interbus and they were similarly great, punctual and had the friendliest of friendly drivers! If you're in Costa Rica, I would definitely suggest booking them for getting around.

♥ Finally, if you're wondering what currency to use... You're best sticking with Costa Rican colones. It's a crazy weird currency, but if you're in smaller towns, taking the local bus or buying things in tiny shops you will get looked at like an idiot for using dollars. Trust me. I took both and used colones 90% of the time. It's also very purty and has sloths on it. What's not to love?

And there you have my tips. Weird or not, these are the things that came through my mind during the two weeks.
I promise my next post will have sloth snouts in it. And here's a bonus one for getting to the end of this post!

What are your tips for travelling?

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