Costa Rica 2014 PHASE 1 TREK

Monday, 3 March 2014


1st March 2014
End of phase 1!

Okay, here we go. 19 days of trek. A truly amazing experience that I will try and sum up in a few short paragraphs, honest!

Day 1 ( 11/02/14)

4am start! And off on a bus for the day to the start of ‘Corcovado Trek’. Great start, we found a campsite with a ‘swimming pool’ (or rather a large hole in the ground with water in it!) but still a good start.

Day 2 (12/02/14)

Now the real trek begins……our first real day of hiking and it started with a ‘nice’ 3km hill (mountain!) in the heat, followed by a nice gentle trek though our first of many national parks. First river crossing of the trek and lunch with hundreds of amazing butterflies before some challenging navigation through jungle and across a 2nd river crossing. Near the end of day2 a lovely wak through a bamboo plantation and across a ‘ log bridge’ ( which fortunately had been seriously upgraded since the route card was written last year.) Camping a ranch down by the river, quite amazing start to trek.

Day 3 (13/02/14)

Up and off by 6am. Start by going up another ‘hill’ really starting to get the theme of this now!

Trekked for over 4hours through jungle track and met by a large locked gate!! No problem, we just climb through the gaps and down the hill to the next village where we stopped for lunch and to hang out our washing to dry at the side of the track. More hills ( getting even steeper!) up and down but a luxury break for an hour at hot springs before trekking up another 1km hill in the heat of the day. Camping under most nets after dinner and fresh fruit ( pineapple/ bananas and melon).
Just as we were nodding off the local police decided to pop by and say hi, for over an hour! Very nice of them but we really needed to sleep!
Day 4 (14/02/14)

Up and off by 5.30! Quite amazing but we knew we had a long day ahead of us. A local sent us off through a short cut to the main road, unfortunately it did require us to cross a very dodgy log bridge,
but we made it! Another 3km hill, really starting to get the hang of this ( just think Costa Rica boot
camp!) great lunch stop today in the middle of a sugar plantation, great sugar cane boost to get us the hill. Tough day, but an amazing team. We arrived at the rangers station by 1pm and had a chance to chill and do some washing before fieldbase team arrived with a food drop. A very nice night staying at the rangers station with beds!
Day 5 (15/02/14)

Okay, another extreme trekking day, we should have had a 7km jungle walk but we were told the route hadn’t been cleared so we needed to go the longways round….. 20km and some serious up hills later we arrived at another ranger station (camping this time) but the view was worth it!
Day 6 (16/02/14)

Another challenging day, started with a jungle trek for 4hrs (including a climb up a jungle wall of
about 500m) followed by a detour or two due to the wrong info on the route card, we went 2hrs
further in the jungle than needed and then took another 2hr detour on the road later in the day, due to a helpful local sending us the wrong way! Eventually back on track but 6km extra covered we decided to stop off a town early and catch up in the morning. Seemed like the best plan as it was getting dark and everyone was exhausted.

Day 7 (17/02/14)

It took a mere 4hrs with no shade trekking through a ‘del monte’ pineapple plantation. Then on to the start of day 7 properly which made a total of 23km with some more amazing hills and extreme heat, but we did it. Just as it got dark (6 pm) we arrived at the end of day7. Met by a lovely lady who
opened the community centre for us to camp in and offered to do our washing and cooked chicken and rice for all of us! Perfect end to a very tough day.

Day 8 (18/02/14)

Guided jungle/mountain trek….half an hour to go down the mountain and 2hours to walk up the mountain on the other side! Wow, amazing view back across the last few days hiking. Followed by another 5km walk to the village we were staying in and collecting our food drop. We thought we might have to camp, but we had a very nice surprise…staying in the church classroom, with use of showers and kitchen area. Oh yes and I crossed a suspended bridge (the type of my nightmares) whilst going through the mountains.
Day 9 (19/02/14)
Second guided jungle trek day, really tough day start with a few km up an extremely steep hill and then jungle trekking for the rest…. Unfortunately our guide thought it would be better for us to go the non track way….ummm, I will recommend to the next team that they request the track route! We did arrive for a wild camp just before dark.

Day 10 (20/02/14)
After 8hours sleep that team were up by 5.30 and positive and ready to go. Amazingly the local farmer offered to guide us through the next part of jungle to the local town, just 4hrs trekking away! Much nicer day, although still extremely tough walking. From the town to our campsite area for the night was an extreme down hill, slower than walking up hill due to the heat and the slope! However another good nights location camping in a church grounds under mosi nets.

Day 11(21/02/14)
Not a great nights sleep as it was so hot. Another tough day, road, track, jungle, farm for lunch followed by more extreme hills finishing with a 5km road walk! But we did it. Night in a very basic community centre.

Day 12 (22/02/14)
23km road trek, we covered the first 16km in less than 4hrs, but slowed down quite drastically as the temperature heated up. Interesting campsite for the night, outside the local shop with an outside shower ( no walls!). But another day completed.

Day 13 23/02/14)
A day of road and rivers, 30+ river crossings in one day! stunning scenery today. We should have stayed at a community campsite, but it didn’t seem to exist! Fortunately a local ‘gold miner’ let us camp in his house (shack) on the hill! Amazing experience. I think the photos tell more than I can.

Day 14 (24/02/14)
Final trek day before a much needed rest day, just 24km through a jungle! I would like to say it was a walk in the park, which although true, not a physical reality. We saw some amazing wildlife but it was a very tough 13hour day. Amazing end though as we entered the runway of jurrasick park and ranger station for Corcovado park.
Day 15 (25/02/14)
A day off! Totally exhausted but very proud of what we achieved so far and I get wake up on the runway of jurrasick park! Most of the day spent chilling and reflecting on the past 14days.

Day 16 (26/02/14)
2 days left of trekking… Another longish jungle day to the next ranger station but amazing amount of wildlife…. Arrived in time to watch the sunset on the beach!
Day 17 (27/02/14)
Final day of trek… A mere 30km. The first 3km along a beach with a little bit of coasteering!! Amazingly we made it to the end of the trek by 5pm! WOW…. What an amazing feeling, we started with 14 and ended nearly 300km later with 14. Amazing memories and a lifetime achievement for all.

Day 18 28/02/14)
Chill out at the beach for the day with a family of monkeys in the tree above me and a pair of macaws! Again, photos to follow.

Day 19 (1/03/14)

End of phase 1 and an amazing experience