Despite getting to bed exceedingly late the night before, owing to some dodgy circuit breakers messing up our charging (we got it sorted in the end though!), we were up at 8am for our press event. So after a quick breakfast, we convened downstairs around the pool for an event with an exceptionally high press turnout, as well as appearances from the local KPMG office and the Minister for the Environment. Andy and Nik gave confident speeches to the press, and the project was exceptionally well received. If you consider that Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere (after Haiti) with many pressing issues facing its population, it is amazing that they were so interested in the project.
Anyway, after the event, we took the press through to the front of the hotel where the car was waiting. Somebody had obviously gone a little crazy with the cleaning as the car was all buffed up and shining, and given the late night, I can assure you that it wasn’t a member of the team! So there, in the early morning sun, the only sun we had seen for a while actually, we drove the car around for the press to film and photograph…needless to say, they were thoroughly impressed!
After this it was time to drive the 150 miles across into Costa Rica, the 8th country in our journey so far. Apart from the customary sharp showers here and there, it was a great drive to the border was great; the weather was generally on our side, and the scenery as we drove alongside the massive Lake Nicaragua was unforgettable. 2 huge tropically-vegetated volcanoes connected by a tiny isthmus of land rose from the tranquil waters, and it was among the most beautiful vistas we have yet had on this trip!
After a few hours drive, we made it to the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border where we were presented with the usual paperwork. Fortunately, the British Embassy had sent someone to meet us; a great guy called Eric, who really helped speed things up and get us to the front of the queues. Despite this however, we still ended up staying at the border for 3 hours, and by the time we were able to leave, it was dark again. It appears that no matter how hard we try, we always end up driving in the dark! Although I suppose this can’t really be helped given the fact that it gets dark at around 6pm in the tropics.
At the border, we had been warned of a very heavy rainstorm around 20km away, but we carried on nonetheless as we only had 30 miles still to cover. As promised, we were lashed by a torrential rainfall, but nothing we hadn’t seen already. And around 45 minutes later, and a little bit wetter for the journey, we arrived at our hotel in the small town of Liberia just inside the Costa Rican border. With the car on charge and some extremely mediocre food in our bellies (a late night Pizza Hut if you’re wondering) we headed for bed.
Interestingly, despite being in these small Latin American countries and out in the middle of nowhere, you are still greeted by Pizza Huts or MacDonalds and plenty of other American fast-food chains, at the first sight of a settlement with even a modest population. But at least we were able to get some food in us at this late hour to prepare us for another early start the following morning!