Cyclists and tourists in Costa Rica

Bicycling along the coast to south, unexpected stop at Jim, 3-day hike in Corcovado and surprising meeting with Argentinians

We get up in dark, but after looking at the phone we realize we fell asleep and it’s almost 9am … only our room doesn’t have windows and we thought it’s 5am! Outside is raining and we don’t hurry. Then we make a stop in a shop to buy a present for name’s day :). We have again GPS!

We leave Jaco after 12, weather is perfect and stable and the pedaling is great. The road at the coast is sometimes hilly, but the views and surrounding is beautiful… and we are moving again! :) Last 10km to a warmshower finca is on a dirt road but we cannot really enjoy it because it’s getting dark and we are tired after the whole day.

Geoff welcomes us on the farm – he is in charge here while the owner is sailing around the world. He found it through house sitting. It’s a good deal for both sides – the owners have somebody who takes care of the house and the the house sitters have living for cheap (just paying the energies) in some interesting part of the world. There is one more person here – Adam from UK who found it through WOOF (work on organic farms) – but he’ll need to do also some work here. Till late night we discuss alternative currencies – Geoff has experiences with them and using them in community. Adam guides us in the morning on the farm which is becoming a jungle.

The way back to the civilization is better because we have time now. After 5km we stop in a shop and during this milk-pause one Canadian starts to talk with us. After we tell him that we bicycle from Mexico he offers us to have a rest in his garden with swimming pool and invites us for a grill party. Jan is against it, I want to go and we go to “have a look”. We meet Jim who came here to enjoy his retirement, in the pool are two local girls but he only knows the name of one… this is crazy! Around 12 I’m already dizzy from the amount of beer we’ve drunk, we bath and ride the motorized inflatable chair, we go to a car trip to the jungle to see waterfalls (we take a 6-pack of beer and have two additional stops in a pub), we visit another guy from Germany who lives on the other side of the river than the finca where we slept, we chew great home-made beef jerkey and have a big grilled steak for dinner… unexpected day of rest :).

I put down grapefruits from the tree in the garden and squeeze fresh juice for breakfast, then we try a potato gun which doesn’t work with costarican hair sprays and we talk a little more with Jim – we don’t imagine our retirement like this but he’s great and we are happy we accepted his invitation.

It’s a hot day today and the road goes through large forest of oil palms. After 50km we finally find some shop and I fulfill my need of something sweet by buying a big nutella – Jan just laughts :D. We pedal maybe half an hour more and then take a dirt road to Pinueala beach to find somebody and ask for place to stay. But there are no houses there, just a beautiful nature with toilets and showers – great place, we’ll stay! We go to the water but the waves are too strong and the big stones uncomfortable for a longer stay in the ocean. We cook on a fire from wood on the beach looking at the sunset over the water. The only disadvantage of this place is the lack of potable water. This is solved with a strong rain during the night when we collect more than 2 liters :).

It’s difficult to leave but we are moving further to Palmar Sur. There is a park with many stone spheres of different sizes. They were created by pre-Colombian civilizations and they don’t know what they were used for. We add to our collection of unusual places to sleep a grass field in the front of a petrol station and on the next day a tough ride to Corcovado is waiting for us.

After first kilometers I need to lay down in a shadow next to the road and I suffer menstruation pains for next 1.5hours. I hope that he drugs will work soon and that some good man with pick-up will give us a ride. My wishes are half fulfilled. I’m much better and we can continue bicycling up-and-down … up-and-down … up-and-down! 40km of hills and then 30km flat. We come to Puerto Jimenez destroyed and find accommodation in Perezozo hotel (it means “lazy”). The owner is a guy from Italy and we talk with him the whole evening in Spanish. He tells us that 15 years ago it was possible to get a big property in exchange for a motorcycle, the whole peninsula Osa is full of gold and the locals still look for it in rivers and also about the biodiversity of the national park. We are lazy the next morning – but that is given by the name of the hostel :), we watch caimans in the river in the village and in the last minutes we decide to pay the expensive entrance to the park and we’ll go for a 3-day trip to jungle.

The alarm wakes us up at 5am. In one hour we are packed, squeezed in colectivo (a cow-truck transporting people in the back) and we eat the sweat bread which was touched a little in the morning (it was the cat probably who bit it) and then occupied by hundreds of small ants – but we couldn’t throw away our breakfast! 2 hours of shaking, once getting stuck in mud, coffee break and breaking the axle 1km before the end – we are really happy we didn’t try to get here by bikes (that was the original plan to safe the money for the transportation).

Before entering the park we do beach hiking – 3.5km on the sand to the entrance. Our feet are not prepared for this type of activity! Follow 7 hours of hiking to the Sirena station. We cross 2 rivers, walk on beach again and run away from waves during the high tide, crawl on stones, through different types of jungle… we see many crabs running around, two types of monkeys trying to throw something down on us from the trees, lots of lizards, black frog with shiny green pattern, amounts of big red parrots with colorful tail and at the end also a tapir in the river. We are almost dead when we arrive and happy that we’ll not go back tomorrow.

We build the tent and realize that 3 nights ago was raining and we packed it wet … yummy, we sleep in strong smell! We wake up soon because of frightening screaming of howling monkeys – something between the Alien and monsters from horrors :D. First time we heard them in Mexico and I was really scared, now it’s only a funny and a little different alarm. During a 4-hour walk we don’t see almost anything (just some chicken-like birds), we are like a candy floss from all the spider nets, we walk through and we get totally wet. Fortunately none of us really cares and we quite enjoy this walking in the rain. We don’t see the sharks in the river, neither crocodiles and we conclude that even animals don’t like to be out in this weather.

Water is ploping in our boots when we return back to the station and the rest of the day we play ship-wars on paper, around us are clouds of flying termites which lose their wings after landing and at the end we are covered with them :) In the second round we realize that we have almost the same position of ships (we don’t even need to be married for 20 years to think the same). We talk with group of Americans and a perfect couple from France – Paulina and Gil – who saved my jacket on the way here which I lost on the beach (that would be a pity).

We wake up in the darkness, pack the tent and while we eat dry bread and tuna from can, we can smell the pancakes which are being prepared by the guide of the second group – jealous. We see a lot of foot prints on the beach, but not the tapir – we hoped to see it for second time. We wade the river and after one hour the French catch onto us. We have a lot of time so we rest a lot and enjoy the nature. We see many monkeys, big group of nice animals climbing trees, running on the ground with the tail up in the air while looking for crabs. Also three snakes – small and big brown ones and one 2 meter long green perfectly hidden in his surrounding… lizards, birds and various insects. The day ends with the uncomfortable ride in the colectivo and a great dinner and beer with the French.

In the morning we take the boat to the other side of the bay and after 40km of small hills we ask for staying at the fire-station in Neily – we can and surprised we meet there Sebastian (on of the three Argentinians we met in Guatemala). Mica and Nick come a little later. After a big dinner, doing laundry, and exchanging the experiences we fall to the bed – yes, we got a bed here! We sleep well.

Around 10am we are at the boarder and after fast procedures without any problems we enter the neutral zone with a big market and a lot of shops where we buy new gloves (mine was lost at the petrol station), spare chain, cheap bathing suite and sandals for both of us (our were more like a chemical weapon and at the end of their lives).

One stamp to the passport and with the noon we pedal into the last country in central America – Panama.


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