Backpacking and Bus Trip: A Father and Son Experience by Charles Olson

My son and I recently took a trip to Costa Rica. This trip to Costa Rica took a lot of planning by my son. We visited three cities in one week, traveling by bus! Getting off the plane in San Jose was like being slapped in the face by all our senses. The traffic, sounds, and smells were all overpowering. We were able to meet up with two of our Tico friends very quickly. That was a miracle due to the crowd. They were able to secure us a place in a hostel in San Jose. The Pangea Hostel was a very pleasant experience. It had an internet café with a beautiful view of the mountains from the outside terrace. It was a perfect place for a delightful breakfast.

After a short visit with locals, Eduardo and Jose, we headed south to Rio Claro De Golfito which is close to Panama. This is a beautiful banana area, but not necessarily a tourist destination. The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy pass through there due to the deep gulf. While there we visited a pastor friend, Don Santiago. He showed us a wonderful time and he was able to find us a small cabin to stay in for a reasonable price.


Tamarindo was our next and main destination, so we hopped on a bus from Rio Claro De Golfito for a long crazy ride up north.  Tamarindo is known for the beach and surf. We met with friends from the church Capilla del Calvario en Villarreal, near Tamarindo. Tamarindo is a tourist town. When you shop in the stores, you will meet folks from around the world. It is truly a haven for world travelers.


The beach (playa) was our favorite place. Eddie and his friends added to the experience, when they put together a sunset bond-fire on the beach, where we sang worship songs and prayed. In Tamarindo we also took in the local bull riding festival. Later on, my son and a backpacker from Canada were able to play a soccer match with the local Ticos. This was a nice touch for the end of our journey.

A few things to know: You should have a knowledge of the language; Ticos use Colonials in place of the dollar. You can safely eat and drink in Costa Rica. The taxies and buses will run on time and will get you anywhere you wish to go. Close your eyes during the bus ride! Take your time and enjoy your stay because Costa Rica is a true paradise. Pura vida!