We left Costa Rica yesterday for Panama. We had a lot of fun in Costa Rica but since we have been there multiple times we felt good about our decision to move south to Panama. Something we observed rolling into the city of David, Panama is how much cleaner and more planned the city is than anything we saw in Costa Rica. This includes divided highways, street lights, proper bus stops etc. Also worth mentioning is how much cheaper things are here. For example, a six pack of beer is $3.90 ($5 cheaper per six pack than C.R.) gas is $3.20 a gallon ($2 cheaper a gallon than C.R.) and the list goes on. We pondered some of our experiences to date and have formed an opinion that Nicaragua is underrated and Costa Rica overrated.
We have bumped into a few travelers on the road and most were under the assumption that Costa Rica was safer than Nicaragua. Well, by judging the amounts of razor wire around housing compounds in both countries I recon they are about equal. We never ran into a problem in either country so don't stop a trip to Nicaragua because of safety concerns and don't assume only good things happen to you in C.R.
Costa Rica does a much better job at managing their natural resources than Nica and as a whole has the tourist experience dialed in. You pay for it though as several times we felt like we were just a number with an endless stream of tourists behind us. The beaches in both countries are to die for, empty, serene, natural beauties to say the least. Many a time we envisioned ourselves throwing in the towel and not getting out of the hammock, ever. We do, however, have a game plan to see some cool spots still, so the motivation to move on always returned.
Elise spent some time on the Osa peninsula 20 years ago so for her to return to this area was interesting. While driving toward Panama we stopped at the town of Palmar Sur and Finca 6 where large monolithic pre-columbian balls are located. There are only a handful of places in Costa Rica where these balls can be found and are very rare. There have never been unfinished balls found, only perfectly spherical orbs found. The spheres are about 2000 to 3000 years old and most of these rocks were moved from quarries up to 50 miles away. This is an amazing feat when you see the jungle and mountain slopes these up to 16 ton rocks were moved through. I thought the smoothness and exactitude of the spheres was so telling about the artisans who made them, a real sense of amazement. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site so it should be here for all to enjoy for years to come.
|This 5 plus foot sphere at a park in Palmar Sur is among 10 or so spheres that are there.|
|This sphere was buried over millennia and will one day be excavated after sonar imagery of the ground is completed. From just looking at the crown it is a big ball.|
|Why and how were they created and why aren't there any partially finished balls anywhere?|
|There are about 300 known balls in all of Costa Rica, some up to 8 feet high and 16 tons.|
|Some of the balls and other monolithic items were moved by the banana plantation in the 1930s to make way for the crops. Today, greater care is given to these wonders.|