Welcome To The Jungle

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Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn to live like an animal
In the jungle where we play

Once we had crossed the Costa Rican border, we decided to skip San Jose and to stop at a big town a few hours before the capital: San Isidro Del General. From there, we were planning to take another bus to go to Quepos, on the Pacific coast.

It took us a good three hours to reach San Isidro, and we feared we had missed our bus to Quepos. But the schedule had changed we had just had time to make it.

When we saw the bus pulling in the station, Feng turned to me and asked: “where do we store our bags?“. Indeed, the bus was very old and it did not seem to have any room underneath. The driver told us to carry our bakpacks on board and we just left them at the back of the bus. The seats and the windows were covered by a thick layer of dust and dirt, and I guess we should have asked ourselves why…

Nonetheless, we jumped on the bus, already tired and sweaty. The first part of the trip was really nice, although the bus was packed. We climbed in the mountains, crossed rivers on tiny suspension bridges and hold our breath every time, went down the mountain again and plunged to a sea of green.

At sunset, we arrived to the small coast town of Dominical. Most people got off there and the bus was almost empty. We were the only foreigners there, for sure. From there, the road isn´t paved and our bus just reversed and started the difficult drive in the jungle.

It was crazy. The road was bumpy and extremely narrow, we were surrounded by the rain forest. We passed other trucks and there were barely enough room for both the bus and them, one of us had to stop each time and we were inches apart.

All the windows were open in the bus and we were soon covered in dust, our backpacks, our clothes, our faces… we put on our sunglasses in a desperate attempt to block it… didn´t really work. There were signs here and there, “despacio” (slow down) with pictures of animals, such as monkeys and jaguars. Didn´t see any, but we were deep in the wood.

All in all, it took us about two hours to make the 47 kilometers to Quepos. It was pitch black when we arrived and all we could think of was to take a shower to wash the dirt and the dust.

Crazy ride… and many more to come, I´m sure. Meanwhile, we checked in a hospedaje and fell asleep watching the tiny TV in our room.

Waiting For The Bus In San Isidro

Waiting For The Bus In San Isidro

San Isidro Del General, In Between Buses

San Isidro Del General, In Between Buses

In The Bus

In The Bus

In The Jungle

In The Jungle


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hey Zhu,
    My God; you are both surviors 🙂
    You will remember such bus trips even a long,long time after.It sounds like a scene out of a movie but no, it’s for real !

    You look happy in that one photo in the bus station.
    Take care amigos

  2. @RennyBA – For once, nothing in common with Norway, for sure!

    @Agnes – Backpacking has ups and downs but yeah, mostly great time, except for our little border problem… which I will post about in a few days (yes, I´m making you wait! Cheap trick ;-))

    @Seraphine – Oh, I guess I have just understood why we keep on bumping into Canadian backpackers then! 😆

    @Bluefish – There is always a McDonalds! We actually ate a snack there waiting for the bus, and I´m not proud of it…

    @shionge – It is quite an expedition indeed, but a great one.

    @barbara – Oh, I have so much experience in bus trip – no bragging, seriously. Central America is weird because it is so small but buses can take ages to travel 20 km, because of the – lack of -roads. South America and Australia are more about long bus trips because of the distance… the lonbest was three days non-stop between Sydney and Perth I believe. Oh, and Chile… over 30 hours in the desert I think.

  3. Your bus trip reminds me of the Jitney buses here in Miami. The drivers are INSANE!

    The “In the bus” photo looks like you’re about to fall off a cliff. Seriously.

    With all the craziness, it sounds like you had a wonderful experience. Those are the kinds of trips you love when you look back on them…after you make it out alive! 🙂

    Btw, if you ever need a traveling partner, call me. I’ll join you wherever you go! You sure know how to have a good time.

  4. Wow…the jungle is dense, isn’t it?
    You really look good :)!

    I must laud you for your stamina: I am not sure if I could handle the dust!
    Once I went on a trip, in Zambia, and there was so much dust that I could hardly open the jeep windows *nodding*! Then when I got out in the middle of the jungle (on a windy day…just my luck), the dust entered my nostrils! Never again!


  5. Okay, we are going through the exact same situation trying to cross the border. We spent all day yesterday trying to drive across but they would not allow us to pass. So day 2, we are attempting the bus route. We got a ride to the border, so we don’t have to start in David. How difficult are they with inspections?

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