Bikes and Buses and Boats, Oh My!

There are many people wearing uniforms or nice clothing who are on their way to work. Once in San José, I exit the bus and take a look at my surroundings. The streets are packed with vehicles. Large buses and small cars line the narrow roads while motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic. Every so often, I see pedestrians scurry across the street. This is just what I expect from a crowded urban area.

For the weekend, I decided that I want to spend some time in Tortuguero on the Caribbean side of the country. To get there, I took an intercity bus from a station in San José. These types of buses go long distances to other parts of the country. After a few hours, the bus pulled into an open station where I could see lanchas, or small boats, floating on the river out in the distance. I rode in one with about 15 other people to get to the nearby town. In the town, there wasn't a car in sight but there were plenty of bikes and people walking around in sandals. It was very different from the city where everything is motorized and noisy.

How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?:

Learning how to use public buses has definitely been a challenge. The bus stops aren’t usually clearly marked, and sometimes the buses will stop just about anywhere. Also, there aren’t schedules that are readily available for the city buses, so I would sometimes have to just wait at the stop until one came along. Getting around requires asking a lot of questions and being very aware of my surroundings. I will say that the good thing that came from my attempts to use the bus is that my communication skills have gotten a lot better. I made an effort to learn common phrases to ask about directions and fares.