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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Up a Hill and Down a Hill

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

So over the duration of the past two days… I managed to do something incredible.

What?… you may ask.

Well, if you really want to know… I went up a hill… and came back down a hill. All by myself.

Now this may seem like not much for the average person… but to me, it was no small feat… and no small hill.

I do not own a 4WD, all terrain vehicle... nor have I ever. When it was recommended that I rent one for my time in Costa Rica, I envisioned bumpy roads and potholes and crossing small creeks… but not much more

I spent a lot of time surfing the net, for months & months, leading up to my departure, looking for interesting and picturesque things to do while I was on vacation. My searches led me to a place called Bri Bri Waterfalls.

Once Caplain Green Planet and I had agreed to go our separate ways in regards to my murderous crabbing spree enjoyment, I asked about a tour that might take me to one of the Chocolate plantations in the area. She mentioned that there was a local company that did both the waterfall AND the chocolate … bonus… and she would inquire as to how much it would cost for me.


Has everyone lost it?

That’s almost $95 Canadian… and for $93 less, I could grab a Snickers and stand in the shower!

Beat it! $95… as if…

I realized I was more than capable of doing all of this on my own… and set out to find a local chocolate plantation. And find, I did. About 15 minutes down the road, there it was. For approximately $14 Canadian + tip, I was given a tour of the entire plantation and botanical gardens… and given a full demonstration on how to make chocolate.

It was fascinating.

Not $75US fascinating, but fascinating, nonetheless.

They had us heat up the seeds, separate the shells, finely grind the cocoa and then add water, cane sugar and vanilla. The lady kept enthusiastically announcing, “You can all do this at home!” … but no… no, thank you.

Once our chocolate was prepared, we tried little bits with banana, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, jalapeño… etc.

Next stop…

Bri Bri Waterfalls.

I had read that I had to go up a little bit of a hill… park at the top… and walk down the path for about three minutes. Sounds reasonable… and do-able.

Wow… Hill?

It was like the upwards climb on the rollercoaster, just before the fall. Straight UP.

Did I mention I’d never really done 4WD by myself before????

*Perhaps I’d heard it in a movie, or overheard a conversation… or perhaps it was from years of growing up in the backroads of Mission… who knows??? … but for some, odd & unknown reason, I knew the vehicle had to be in ‘park’ before I could change it into four-wheel-drive. Saving grace. I did it. I think that’s what set me off on the right foot and saved my life… metaphorically.

Back to the hill.

I was doing ok… climbing up, up, up… and then my confidence got the better of me and I decided to change gears.

Nope. Major fail.

I had to put Bird into reverse and back down, quite a ways, until I could turn around and make another run for it. A group of kids witnessed the entire thing and were concerned as to why I was turning around. In my best, broken Spanish… I basically threw my hands into the air and yelled out, “I don’t know how to drive!”

Not one to normally give up so easily, unless there are crocodiles, I did eventually make it to the top. The kids I’d encountered earlier gave me a huge round of applause, as I pulled up to park!

I made it!!!!

There was definitely a certain degree of relief… accompanied by a serious sense of accomplishment… but… there was also a little bit of panic, if I’m being honest. Without even one single, solitary thought about how lovely a swim under an idyllic waterfall might be, my thoughts were consumed with… “how the hell am I going to get back down??”

Maybe $95 wasn’t looking so bad anymore…

I envisioned myself and the Bird, rolling down the steep hill, completely out of control, like we had just slipped on a large banana peel, in the mud.

None of that happened, of course.

Everyone survived.

Me... The Bird… Shows how stupid it is to worry, sometimes.

And yes, I did enjoy the waterfall.

I loved it.

I even worked up the courage to bare my big, roley-poley, stark white, marshmellowy bumpy lumpy stomach to the world, as I dogpaddled around.

This beat any tour I could’ve taken.


Back at the math motel…

*I never did figure out why it was called Algebra… scared to ask, actually…

I had, originally, been under the impression that I had the room all to myself … and once I arrived, I realized, this was not, in fact, the case.

I was sharing my digs with a pesky, disease ridden, prehistoric vermin… otherwise known as the cockroach.

Or should I say, cucaracha.

So far, I stay out of his way… and he stays far out of my way, but we both know we’re there.

The German couple and their little boy, Liam, are here too, and I’ve met up with them a couple nights in a row, for drinks or ice cream. They are heading to Uvita on Saturday, and journeying north from there, whereas I am starting up north and heading south.

We plan to meet somewhere in the middle and compare notes and travel tips.

Hopefully, that is my plan. It is all dependant on my computer…

Fingers crossed.


In my three days here, I have;

~ hiked the whole of Punta Cahuita.

~ hiked around Punta Manzanillo.

~ visited the towns of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bri Bri, Punta Uva and Manzanilla.

~ went up a hill.

~ swam under the Bri Bri waterfall.

~ came down a hill.

~ toured a cocoa plantation.

~ learned to make chocolate.

~ been degraded for my apparent approval and support of the declining crab population, my disregard for animal rights and my obvious contempt for fresh food.

~ had my laundry done so I don’t Costa REEK anymore.

~ dodged crocodiles.

~ had my car pulled over and searched for drugs and guns.

*yes… you read that right.

Yes… perhaps it’s time for another adventure and after a quick jaunt in the city… I will be off to the Pacific.

Bye! Bye! Caribbean ☀️

Oh… and in case you’re curious… the police didn’t find any guns or drugs on me…

Not THIS time, anyway…

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Escobar


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