We get it Northern Costa Rica, you’re beautiful.  You have lush green rainforest, white sand beaches, bright blue oceans, and deep red sunsets.

After crossing the border we headed straight for the Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge for a night of camping on the beach.  We arrived and were told it was $19 per person to camp.  WTF.  After we stared in disbelief at the cost for what seemed like forever.  Finally the park “ranger” told us $20 total would be okay.  Okay, deal… I guess.  Don’t get us wrong, this is a proper campsite like you would see back home with a stunning view, but the price was out of this world compared to the rest of Central America… especially since camping on the beach south of here costs anywhere between $0-$5 each.  I guess the $1.60/L gas price was another indicator that we’d have to be aware of what little was left in our wallets.  Good thing you can drink the water here because bottles are 3x the price.  We promise, no more complaining about COSTa Rica’s high prices 🙂

Junquilla Bay has monkeys, coatimundis, iguanas, weird looking birds (yup, we’re birders, you guessed it), and plenty of other wildlife running around the campground and through the walking trails.

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Now that we had our beach fix we continued up to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park.  We camped at El Sol Verde due to it’s close proximity to the park.  The owners, Gerard and Ingrid, were super friendly, gave us awesome maps of the area and the park, and hooked us up with a great little swimming hole down the road to cool down in.

Rincon de la Vieja has a few hiking trails to choose from.  We picked the main loop that would bring us past boiling mud pots, water pots, fumeroles, and other volcanic vents.  This is an IDEAL spot for Dr. Evil to build his lair.  Just attach some lasers to the heads of some monkeys, iguanas, (and sloths??), and call it a day.

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The boiling mud pots.  Yes, that’s mud… boiling.

The boiling water pots

Our campsite at El Sol Verde.  140510_D2G_CR-27