Must Visit National Park – Plitvička Lakes, Croatia
I made it to Plitvička Jezera despite the circumstances surrounding the trip to get there. I mean nothing outrageous but I almost didn’t make it to the lakes because there wasn’t enough people signed up for the tour. It was such a struggle trying to find people to sign up – the hostel would only make the trip if at least 4 people signed up. I spent a day hoping that people would sign up for the tour but that didn’t work out. So when it seemed that no one else would sign up, I suggested to the girl at the hostel to call other hostels, to find out if other folks may be interested (whoops, there goes my problem solving consulting experience in practice). Luckily we got some folks from the other hostels and Plitvička was a reality. It was also the last day to enjoy the lakes before the weeks of torrential rain starting in a few days. The lakes gets flooded and most parts get closed. So I wanted to do everything to get out there – It happened and so I guess it was meant to be.
Where I visited
If you are in Zadar or Zagreb, be sure to make a day to visit the biggest national park in Croatia – Plitvička. I went on a day trip with 3 other people (an English guy, an Australian guy and a girl from Belgium) from the hostel. I paid 250kuna for the tour (I found out that its 200kuna from the hostel in Zagreb) and paid an entry fee of 110kuna – so in total it costs me 360kuna or $72. There is a cheaper way to get to Plitvička. You can take the bus at 8:30am or 2:30pm and return at 5pm to Zadar- I don’t know how much it costs though but its about a 2.5hr bus ride from Zadar to the park. Your best bet if you’re taking the bus is to get on the 8.30am, so you get enough time to explore the park and leave with the 5pm return. If you don’t do that you’d be stuck at the park (which I heard a couple of people saying they didn’t have a way to return back to the city( or you can secure an accommodation at one for the lodges there ( I heard they’re a little more expensive).
We drove about 1hr.40mins to the largest national park in Croatia. We drove past Velebit, the longest mountain in Croatia, which divides the northern and southern part of the country. On our way, our guide gave us a little history about Croatia and explained the reason why Croatia is so diverse in cuisine, language, geography, and generally the way of life. One thing I enjoy about traveling is hearing stories from the locals about their country, including the political issues facing the country. His explanation put so many things I had seen throughout my journey through the different cities in Croatia into perspective. I have finally come to the conclusion that truly we live and adapt to a certain way of life based on geographical location and the influence history has played – all subconsciously. The ride was very enjoyable, chatting with the other guys and learning about their various travel stories and experiences, bonding over places you’ve also visited and getting excited about visiting the places I hear them talk about that I haven’t been to. I mean some of these stories make your travel stories look like crap. I’m listening to this Australian guy tell me about how he designed something like a Hang Glider (don’t remember what he called it) and he flies it around in Australia. These stories make me feel like I need to do more stuff with my life and just go crazy with it but I’m not that wild HA. I will apply my lessons learned to living my passion the way I best enjoy it *hmmm*.
We spent about 6hrs walking around the park – it was the best combination of nature and bliss. 10% of the park was closed because it was flooded but overall we got to see the majority of the park. The park ticket as a walking outline, so that can be used as a guide to explore. We pretty much followed that and used the tips we got from our guide to navigate.
The water was so clear, you could see the bottom (even clearer than this without the rain and flood)
Someone spotted a Lizard, I bet you can guess it wasn’t me LOL
We got on the ferry boat from stations P2 to P3, then continued exploring the park. Don’t worry about getting lost, the park somehow loops around or just follow the signs. We tried to rent a boat so we could kayak around the lakes but the Croatian guys working there said it was closed (like who closes the boats on a sunny Monday in a national park, sigh). Anywhoos, you can easily spend longer walking around and sitting for drinks at the various cafes in the park. It was such a great day exploring the park, sharing experiences and learning from the guys I went with. I think I’m becoming more of an outdoor person. I’m even thinking of buying appropriate outdoor outfits, since I spent most times exploring nature when I travel. I think I may be all waterfalled (I used italics because I cant find the quotation marks on this keyboard lol) out for this trip haha.
Do you see the Rainbow?
When we got back to Zadar, I made Indomie noodles for dinner (I found indomie noodles at a store on our way to the park, that definitely made my day). After dinner, I packed my things, ready to head to my next and final city in Croatia, Zagreb. It was an awesome day overall.