1. May: The bus to 'Volcan Poas' leaves once a day at 8:30 from San Jose, and since we need to get to the Terminal a bit earlier, we start off early from Hannelore. After having a good breakfast at her place, we catch the local bus to San Jose, and walk several blocks to the terminal. There's no 'Poas' bus to be seen, so we ask and we're told that it will be there in due course, which it does. There are quite a few tourists on the bus, perhaps 50% but also locals. There's music on the bus and we have three stops on the way. It costs 600ñ and leaves nearly on time. Among the tourists are two nasty old Swiss men who are behaving terribly and making fun of the locals. The bus driver's son and wife also join our trip for some distance.
The bus drives nearly to the top of the crater! It is a national park and we need to pay the entrance fee of 6$. It's a nice walk to the crater along a neat road with plants having really huge leaves on both sides. There's a sign at the entrance saying this is an active volcano and you walk to it at your own risk.
We see a steady stream of people coming down and I still believe that the crater will be in clouds. I am wrong! The crater is free and it is an awesome first sight! The crater is over one kilometre in diameter and deep down at the centre is a poisonous green lake. There are clouds of fumes slowly coming out fissures from the crater. There is a nice walk to the Laguna, which is an huge old crater of the volcano now filled with water. The walk is on a path through a quite densely forested area.
Afterwards we have coffee and a muffin at 'Brit's cafñ', which was not too clean but ok and expensive enough. We start back to San Jose with the same bus at 14:30, the driver's very fast. We're back at 16:00 and we do some sight-seeing using our German Costa Rica guide, it's a walking tour and we see some nice churches, buildings and parks. In a church a guy sees my camera lying on the bench and warns us that we should be very careful and never leave anything away from us!
We buy some coke and a T-shirt, eat at KFC's, post our postcards and return to Hannelore's by bus. We ready our backpacks for our Tortuguero trip next morning and start of for 'El Pueblo', where we heard that it's possible to dance Salsa. We take a taxi there for 800ñ. I had expected it to be a normal neighbourhood of San Jose, but it's quite a strange place, actually a large artificial commercial centre with lots of pubs and discos. We don't hear any Salsa so we ask and we're told that there is one place 'Disco Infinito' just on the outside. We try it out, and just try it since they want an entrance fee, then decide to stay. They have a number of dance floors, the loudest has disco music booming out and on the right there are two floors with Salsa. A few locals are there doing uninspiring dancing and after awhile we join in. The people don't stay long, two young local call girls come in with their foreign non-dancing customers and try to dance with them, an interesting sight. We're not really in a good dancing mood so we leave after two beers.
The first taxi we ask back wants 2000ñ 'at this time of the night', another beckons us over and her drives us back for 800ñ by the meter. Hannelore opens the door at about 1:00 and we fall asleep easily. We need to get up very early the next morning, and she will prepare breakfast for us at 5:40(!). Good soul! We'd also paid her, she wanted 25$ per night, which was the same price as last time, very reasonable and a great value.