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  • Writer's pictureJuan Antonio Chavarria

EL PRIMER CAMINO DE COSTA RICA PARTE 1

Hello everyone! This is my story of an unforgettable adventure in Costa Rica, hiking from the Caribbean to the Pacific.At the end of 2017, I was in a moment of confusion in my life, having left my job as an accountant in the mall after many years as financial manager of five companies. I had just returned from Mexico, where I had experienced transformative hiking.


For over two years, I had turned hiking into my hobby and weekend job. I had read about the Camino on social media and the idea drove me crazy, but money and time did not allow it. However, when the owner of the agency I worked for on weekends offered me the opportunity to hike the 280 km in 7 days at a reasonable price, I thought little of it and accepted the challenge.


We met at the Balmoral hotel restaurant to get details of the logistics and the project. There were five brave individuals and a guide, Orlando, who would help us in some parts.


On the first day, we headed to Caño Blanco and from there were transported by boat to Barra de Parismina. Don Marco would be our logistical support throughout the journey.


The adventure began with the excitement of seeing dolphins near the bar and the first 5 km crossing the town, airport and the rest on the beach. Julio, the boatman from Barra del Pacuare, transported us from the last stretch of beach to Goshen pier.


Then we walked 20 km to the town of Cimarrones, almost running under the scorching sun of the Caribbean plains. At the end of the day, we reached the Pueblo de las Brisas, tired and breathless after climbing an endless hill.


Our place to spend the night was one of the classrooms of the local school, where we spent a cold night that tempted me to wrap myself in the Costa Rican flag from the school. This was only the first night, but the adventure would continue day after day, reaching more remote areas of the country and pushing ourselves to our limits with every step of the way.


On the second day of our hiking adventure, we got up early to have breakfast and prepare to cross the Nairi Awari indigenous reserve. Although our bodies had recovered somewhat from the previous day's exertion, we still felt the more than 30 km we had traveled. To back us up, we had Orlando, who knew the route perfectly after many years working on similar projects. In addition, we carried the GPS with the route saved, which would be our salvation later on.


This day was completely different from the previous one: instead of stone paths and trails, we were faced with jungle and mud. From the first kilometer within the reserve, we struggled not to get stuck in the mud or break a foot on the rocks. In addition, we tried to maintain a high speed as we had the goal of crossing the reserve in one day, although it is normally done in two.


In this hostile environment, velvet worms appeared from time to time, fleeing from our almost running hike. One of the companions fell behind with the guide, so the remaining four of us decided to continue with the GPS after crossing several rivers and streams. The mud and constant need to climb and descend posed a physical and mental challenge, but we all gave it our all to be able to get out of the jungle before nightfall.


We arrived at the town of Valle Escondido and began to cross several rivers, about four or five. On one occasion, a branch got tangled in my shoe and I fell to the ground, hanging by my hands. My companions decided to capture the moment with some photos before helping me back up. Given the warning that I was too big to be lifted from the ground, I knew I would have to fend for myself if anything else happened to me.


Finally, we reached the Pacuare River where Don Marco was waiting for us with some locals to take us to dinner and rest in Pacayitas. I remember waking up at night and seeing one of my companions arriving very late, around 10 pm. He was covered in mud and had lost some toenails, but we admired him for having survived under such conditions.


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lcstuckinparadise
04. Apr. 2023

So inspirational! Keep it coming!! Laurie Turns

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