I only had planned to write one post about Monteverde, Costa Rica but given the event that occurred I will now be writing two. I am not going to keep y’all waiting about what happened so I will post about the incident first. I will then post about the actual town and the things I did (along with video of me screaming like crazy while zip-lining).
During my zip-lining tour in Monteverde I had the pleasure of meeting Sherrie & Sallie they are sisters traveling from California. We hit it off right away and after the whole tour we both had already planned to do some hiking around town so thought we should stick together and go together. After gathering our swimsuits we met up in the city center and waited for the bus. The bus was to come by at 3pm and a bus did show up at 3pm so we got on it. Once we were on it I asked if it was the right one and well nope it wasn’t. We were supposed to get on one that had just left. So we had a choice to make… pay a taxi $10 to get us where we wanted to go or walk. So ummm yes we started walking.
So off we went walking and as we were walking we had a choice of two hikes we could do that were listed in the Lonely Planet. We picked the further one because it had a waterfall. On our way we tried to get a ride but no-one would stop. Finally a family stopped and asked us where we were going. We let them know and come to find out the one we wanted to do was way to far to walk too & would be a difficult hike. So we mentioned to them that we passed a small post with pictures of a waterfall and asked them if that would be a nice hike. The family said yes it is a nice hike and nice waterfall. We thought SCORE lets do that.
We made it to the entrance of the trail. We saw a small booth was there and looked like we were supposed to pay an entrance fee. We looked around to see if anyone was there and nothing. So we thought okay lets just go, no harm done. We made our way down and along the way we saw monkeys and just beautiful natural scenery everywhere. We finally made it to the waterfall & were in awe. It was so pretty and just amazing. We spent a while just sitting there watching it. It was time to make our way up, because we did not want to be caught in the dark. On our way up we mentioned how awesome it was that we found this trail and waterfall along with other small talk. I was walking ahead and a bit faster then them two.
Then out of nowhere as we are about to reach the top (exit) I see a guy in a black hoody pointing a gun at my face. He had his entire face covered and the only things visible were his eyes and nose. My heart dropped to the floor and I tell my self to stay calm. He then crossed his arms and all I could see now was the point of the gun & his eyes. The entire conversation occurred in Spanish.
He says “what are y’all doing down here?” I tell him “we just came to see the waterfall and are now heading back” He said “Why are y’all trespassing?” I told him “We did not know we were trespassing. We did see a both at the entrance and wanted to pay, but no one was there.”. He said “I want a $100 from each of you right now” I said “I am sorry I don’t have $100 on me right now.” He said “ask the girls.” (they just caught up to me one of them had no clue he had a gun because of where she was standing and the other hid behind a dirt wall I had just turned from and encountered the man). I ask the girls if they have any money on them. They ask what’s going on I tell them don’t ask questions just answer me. One pulls $1000 Colones ($2) out of her swimsuit bottom says “this is all I have” (in a joking manner and laughing) and then the other one hands me a $20 bill. I tell him this is all they have and all I have is $15,000 Colones ($30). He said “I want a $100”, I tell him again we don’t have it. I offer him my camera and a pair of sunglasses. He said no he wants the money. I am scared even more and apologize for trespassing and then tell him “look I can go to my hotel and get you the money if that is what you really want”. He says “okay lets do this I am going to let you go but if by 6pm $100 from each of you is not at the entrance desk I am going to come and get you along with the police because I know were y’all are staying and y’all are trespassing.” I said okay sounds good and at 6pm the money will be dropped off for sure”. He said, “Okay give me all the money you have now and go along”. I hand him the money and the three of us run off to the main street. I am still scared shitless the girls start asking a million questions I tell them to shut up until we get back to the paved road and are away from here.
We have a long walk to go and as I see people pass us by on bikes and cars I cant help but think it may be him. We make sure no one is following us and just keep going. Finally we make it to the paved road. I am still in shock and can’t believe what happened. I explain to the girls what just happen. I asked them “were we just held at gunpoint?” They answered “yes”. I tell them I want to cry they both hug me and tell me not to cry. I hold the tears in and we keep walking back to town.
We make it to their hotel we sit there talking for a little bit and discuss about telling the police. In the end we decide not too. They invited me in for a drink, but I declined (I know it is very rare that I would decline a drink) I just wanted to get to my hostel and lock the door and be safe. So we say our good byes and I make it back to my hostel. As soon as I get there I ask the receptionist if they have a guard watching the premises at night. He told me yes and then asked why. I explained to him what happened and he was shocked because stuff like that never happens in Monteverde.
I went to my room and locked my self in. I then called my friend Jessica through Skype and start crying. She asked what was going on I explained and she just listened to me and let me cry. After I got myself together she gave me some encouraging words and reminded me that that could have happened anywhere. Then while talking with her I here my name it’s the girls they came to my hostel with the cops, they said they couldn’t let it go.
I go out there and the cop asks me to explain to him in detail what happen. So I explained and he apologized for what happened and promised me he was going to make sure that it never happens again. The receptionist talks with the cops and tells him its strange the suspect said, “why are you trespassing?” It means he must be someone who owns or lives on the property. The receptionist then tells the cop that the son of the owner fits the description we gave and that everyone in town knows he is a druggie and crazy in the head. The cop then knows exactly who he is talking about and tells me he is going to go interrogate him. He asked me if I too was leaving tomorrow and I tell him I was. He wanted me to stay a day and file a report. I told him I couldn’t. I know I had no rush in being anywhere, but I did not want to get caught up in paperwork and drama I just wanted to move on. I said good bye to the girls again and that was the end of that.
Now a few days later I must admit I am still very shaken up by what happened. My nerves are now a fucking mess when I am walking around and especially on transportation days. I cannot help it. I know it’s going to take time for my nerves to calm down again and in the mean time I can only just be extra alert of my surroundings. I have never had a gun pointed to my face and I sure as hell have never been held at gunpoint. All I keep doing is thanking God for being with me and protecting me. I am glad everything happened the way it happened because in the end the guy was happy with the little money we gave him. Loosing $30 is nothing compared to loosing my life. I hope something like this never happens to me again or anyone of you. It is such a horrible feeling, that makes you see things completely differently.
P.S. No we did not go back and drop off the $100 (we aren’t stupid). Sherrie & Sallie I kept calling y’all girls because y’all are both young at heart.