At the end of our last edition it was Saturday 7th June and we were in Monteverde in Costa Rica.
We had an interesting transfer to another tourist town called La Fortuna which involved a small well-used coach which had an engine that screamed as soon as we went near an incline. The planned route had to be altered as the dirt roads we were using had been badly effected by the heavy rain and were subject to rock falls.
We eventually arrived at a muddy bank by a lake edge and then a small boat turned up. We all transferred to the boat and it took us up the lake for about an hour, eventually arriving at a dam.
Here we had a bit of fun as we all had to carry our heavy baggage up a steep slope to a coach which was waiting up on the dam. This was the final short journey of the day and we arrived at a very nice hotel in La Fortuna.
In the evening the group booked tours for the following day, the most popular and our choice too was canyoneering.
On Sunday we were picked up from the hotel for the Canyoneering trip and taken by four wheel drive jeeps up the steep dirt road of a mountain where we were fitted with harnesses, helmets and gloves.
We then started our descent through the canyon. There were several obstacles for us to negotiate, the first was a short absail using a rope to descend down a waterfall, then a larger, higher absail down another waterfall before we all jumped into a plunge pool. There was a narrow gully next that they named "The Tsunami".
Several people entered the gully and took safe, stable positions before the guides released a dam of water that cascaded down into the gully. It felt like being inside a waterfall. There were then two further absail's with the last being the highest, a 200 foot descent over a waterfall. It was a great and very wet day!
On Monday we had the morning in La Fortuna and the group had initially decided to go to a nearby waterfall. This was quickly cancelled when we woke to torrential rain.
We set off on our last coach transfer this time to San Jose and on arrival had a short walk around the city centre.
Some of the group had opted for some whitewater rafting and met us later in San Jose.
We had a last group meal together and then said our goodbyes.
The younger members of the group went to a night club and we joined our Scottish cousins, Carol and Brian for a quiet drink at a local bar.
When the group split they went in various directions, some were heading back to Australia, others were going to the USA, Canada, Panama, Cuba and Ecuador.
We had an extra day in San Jose on Tuesday and so we visited the Gold Museum which was extremely good as they allowed you to take photographs and we had a wander around the city.
On Wednesday we had a quiet morning and an international flight in the afternoon out of Costa Rica that was packed with football supporters.
Given the fact that England will be playing Costa Rica in the World Cup in a few days we kept our heads down.
We arrived in Lima, Peru at about 8.30pm (advancing 1 hour in time zones on the way).
Given the time we were arriving we had arranged with the hotel for a taxi to pick us up at the airport (Lima has had its problems with bogus cab drivers and robberies). This worked very well and after a quick transfer we arrived at our hotel in the city centre. We had eaten on the plane so decided to go for a short stroll and find a beer. For those of you who know our history we first met in a "scuzzy" (good value for money and rustic) bar in South America. For our return we managed to find a similar open air bar a short distance from the hotel.
The hotel is where we will be staying until we meet our new traveling group on Friday evening.
On Thursday we had our first full day in Peru and had a few administrative problems to sort out. Our bank's computer didn't like the fact we had conducted so many ATM withdrawals at so many different countries and as we had already anticipated could happen, they put a freeze on all our accounts.
Trying to sort this problem out from Peru became a bit of an epic as we couldn't find a Peruvian landline that we could use to contact the bank and our mobile phone kept running out of credit and refused to be topped up.
Nigel was getting more and more frustrated as he would be going through the security procedure with the bank and either run out of credit or was cut off.
We managed to sort this out just in time for the opening game of the football World Cup and watched a very lucky Brazil team win with the help of a very sympathetic referee.
In the evening we took a stroll to 'The Magic Water Circuit'. This was located in the Parque de la Reserva and is a wonderful collection of 13 ornamental, cybernetic and interactive fountains. This park came highly recommended and had a 75 pence entry fee - which was amazing as the fountains were spectacular.
After the fountains we had our first Pisco sour. This is the Peruvian national cocktail, similar to a margarita, but stronger. We are trying to eat sensibly and both had very nice salads.
Today is Friday 13th June, we got up for breakfast and bumped into Nick who is one of the trip leaders, he confirmed we had a meeting with our initial group of seven travellers, in the evening.
We went for a wander around the central square which is called The Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Armas and is apparently the birthplace of the city of Lima, as well as the core of the city. There we saw a military band and lots of riot/public order police.
After our 6pm meeting we all went out for a meal. Our new group consists of seven people until we get to the high mountains and Cusco. We have two young Australian women who are not traveling together, a young German man and an older couple who are half American and half Dutch.
We have an early start in the morning.