Hi everyone! Welcome to the first big post to the travel page! Overall the trip to Costa Rica has been amazing; I have learned and experienced many new things. Today I am going to tell you all about a lesser known place called “Bajos del Toro.” Before I get into the specifics of this trip, I 100% recommend getting a guide because it is a difficult place to get to and navigate if you do not know the area well. Also, I am going to be listing how we traveled (with prices) so that you have an idea of ways to travel for the best price.
Here we go: Our group of 6 left Thursday afternoon because there were no classes on Friday. We took a bus from Puntarenas to San Ramón (about $2), then transferred from San Ramón to Zarcero (less than $2). We then called our guide who picked us up in his car and drove us about another hour to his farm in Bajos del Toro. Once we reached a certain point the ground became too muddy for the car, so we hiked about an hour to get to the actual barn. At this point it was dark so we had to use flashlights to continue. This night hike was actually really cool as we crossed some hanging bridges over rivers and saw some cool trees.
Once we arrived at the barn, our guide set out seats for us right in the middle of the stables and started to cook dinner. Here we ate lots of food, drank some coffee, and sat around and had conversations for a few hours. It was so cool talking to someone who comes from such a different background than me. Once we all decided to call it a night we cleaned up and walked upstairs to our bedroom. Here we found a wooden box of a room with some sleeping pads set up around the room. There were lots of bugs and even a small frog, but we all got ready for bed and went to sleep. Even though many might see this as a gross experience, it was so unique and different than anything else that I have done, that I really appreciated and enjoyed it.
Friday morning we set an alarm for about 5 am to see the sunrise over the mountains, but this was unnecessary as the roosters woke us up at about 4:45 am anyway. We then got ready for the day and went outside to experience an amazing sunrise and breathe in the fresh mountain air. As we waited on our guide and his friend to finish milking the cows and making breakfast, we did a bit of exploring and saw many cows, chickens, dogs, cats, and more!
After breakfast, we set out with our guide to go hiking. We ended up being out for about 6 hours and saw 4 beautiful waterfalls along the way. Each waterfall had its own beauty and was absolutely breath-taking. We were able to swim at a few of them, and even though the water was frigid (since we were in the mountains with lower temperatures), it was so refreshing. Speaking of the water, the rivers there were some of the clearest, more pure water I have ever seen, it was spectacular. Even the trails we hiked themselves were beautiful, going through different terrains with many different flora y fauna.
Once we finished our hike we returned to our guides actual house where his family prepared lunch for us. After some time of eating, drinking coffee, and chatting, we decided it was time to head back. We ended up missing the bus we wanted to catch out of Zarcero because we got stopped at a police checkpoint for a few minutes, but with the extra hour and a half before the next bus, we got to explore the city of Zarcero, and even though small, it is beautiful. The final price of this branch of the trip ended up being about $55 per person, but this included 3 meals, transportation, a place to sleep, the entrance fee to the park, and a guide on our long hike. It was well worth the price.
After the bus ride back to San Ramón ($2), we went to a hostel called “Villa Hostel.” We paid $20 per person for the night which I know is a bit pricey for a hostel, but this place was super nice, one lady made us dinner and breakfast, and she cleaned all of our dirty clothes and shoes. I definitely recommend this place to anyone going to San Ramón. Staying the night here gave us a good chance to do some exploring of the city, which I really liked overall. I then split off from the group to return to Puntarenas by bus ($2).
In the end, I really recommend this trip to anyone. It is an absolutely beautiful place and a bit off the normal path of tourists.