Do you know the way to San Jose?

very pink bandstand with green stepsOur last morning in Rivas was spent shopping for food, and briefly exploring the town.  Negative first impressions of Rivas when we had passed through on our way to Ometepe, admittedly formed purely on an experience in the crowded and noisy bus station, were cast aside as the girls had a chance to look around.  It is a friendly, busy place with a very quirky and very pink Parque Central.  Market stalls line the streets where it is possible to buy anything and everything. The Lonely Planet suggested that with only two hours to visit Rivas, the museum was the place to go.  Unfortunately, we got there to find it was closed and was seemingly in a very bad state of repair; one whole wall was being reconstructed! Peeping through the windows it did look like there were some interesting exhibits but they will have to wait for another time!

large white church on the corner of the main square. tuktuks in the foreground

A few of us took advantage of tuktuk transport to get back to the hostel, made all the more exciting as the two drivers raced each other down the streets, cutting corners to overtake each other!

street in Rivas with men cleaning shoes sitting on the side of the road.  One man having his shoes cleaned, a bicycle propped against the kerb.I am always fascinated by the everyday lives of people and although I sometimes feel uncomfortable taking photographs of people I just can’t resist snapping scenes in the streets that capture what real life is like.  It is wonderful when sometimes the people spot me and wave and smile.  Rivas, just like Granada and Moyogalpa is multifaceted.  Initially you see the veneer, the commercial streets but if you head away from the main streets you find the little lanes that tell you so much more about how people live.  I loved the “shoe shine boys” sitting along the road as their clients sat on stools, the “auto motorbike and car wash” – a space where someone supplied water and sponges so you could wash your own motorcycle, and the men and women sitting in entrances of rooms repairing and creating garments on old treadle sewing machines.

Street in Rivas, bicycles propped against the kerb, woman, child and man in the foreground talking, two men sitting in the doorway to a house one sewing on a treadle sewing machine

Penas Blancas - the border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  A white and green building to the left, bare earth and phone towers. The rest of our day was spent travelling – another long wait for a bus that didn’t come at the appointed time but did eventually arrive and our first rain in ten days.  It came out of nowhere, bucketed down for about 15 minutes and then cleared away leaving us wet and steamy!  Crossing the border at Penas Blancas was uneventful. Off the bus on the Nicaragua side, hand over passports, back on the bus, drive through the 1km corridor of no man’s land, back off the bus with all bags to go through passport control and baggage scans to enter Costa Rica. Done!  Hola Costa Rica!

By now it was dark and scenery gazing was impossible so I slept!  Awoke to see the lights of a big city spread out as far as the eye could see.  Costa Rica only has a population of about 4.5 million, but the metropolitan area of San Jose accounts for more than a third of that.

Our hostel was basic but comfortable and we had an early start the next day so straight to bed!

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