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Old 12-12-2009, 08:10 AM   #1
whizzerwheel OP
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Costa Rica, 7 Days, 2-up on a DR 650

Whadda ya know...it's my 25th wedding anniversary. I Don't know how or when that happened...but it did. At this stage of a marriage, a couple is supposed to do something to recognize this milemarker, I'm told.
So after considering the usual...a luv tub in the Pocono's...not, a cruise to the carribean...no, the Eiffel Tower in December...ahh..never.
My wife's a pretty good sport, and smart to boot...she suggests a motorcycle ride in Costa Rica...yah, I'm good with that.

So since we knew nothing about how to do this, I started a thread in the Latin America Regional Forum. Information flooded in...bike rental, places to stay, high points to see, general route...soon we were ready, prepared and on the way.
We decided to kind of plan our route as we went based on a general idea of what we knew we wanted to see. I really dislike an itinerary when I'm on vacation, and prefer ending up wherever I end up at the end of the day.
So here goes:

Whizzerwife (the brains of the operation) aka Carla, at the Manchester airport:



this is me, aka David (the braun of the operation)



As you can see we travel light. Since we'll be two-up on a DR650 as stated before....everything we would need for a week needed to fit into one dry bag and a small backpack that Carla would carry on her back. The extra dry bag held our motorcycle gear, which we would leave at the rental place. Wild-Rider, by the way, is the place we rented the motorcycle from and which was mostly recommended by others that had done this trip before. They proved to be extremely helpful in many ways...route recommendations, places to stay on the way to and from the airport and lots of other practical local advice.

We arrived late at night and went directly to the hotel... after an eye opening ride in a taxi from the airport to downtown San Jose more on that later.

Most hotels in Costa provide breakfast as part of the cost. Our first hotel was ok...adequate and clean. We were very tired so it didn't really matter too much anyways. If it's got a decent shower and a reasonably comfortable bed...I'm good with it usually. Camping is always a possibility for me, and Carla, but it just didn't seem practical for this trip, hotels were pretty reasonable and available at both ends of the price scale.

A couple of shots of our first hotel in the morning, and the San Jose skyline:





The rooftop breakfast



The goods



the actual room



So we had breakfast and then walked up to Wild-Rider where we would get the motorcycle...the trip begins



Thorsten...the proprietor and general good guy



Me packing up the DR and getting ready to face San Jose traffic. I actually took a dry run without the bags and wife, to get a feel for the bike before




Let me tell you about San Jose traffic....I don't have any pictures of the actual event since Carla (who was in charge of moving pics) was hanging on for dear life. No kidding...the traffic is four lanes of heavy truck, bus, car and motorcycle humanity condensed into half the space one would normally expect. There are no rules for motorcycles except you must pass on the right, left, lane split, up the breakdown lane, in the grass in the median, wherever and whenever you can pass...do it. I really don't think there is anything like it anywhere in North America.
I saw at least six accidents on the side of the road in ten miles.
As we got further away from the city, the traffic got less and less.

We went northwest out of San Jose to a town called Zarcero... this is where Thorsten told us we would take a right turn after the park and head up into the mountains

Here are a few Park and town photos




Park








Christmas is big here





The church at the center of town with the park in front of it

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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:36 AM   #2
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We had decided to head towards the Arenal Volcano for the first leg of our trip. Arenal is an active volcano that is known for its lava flows that are especially beautiful at night with the red and orange glows. Because of the high volcanic activity, the area is also known for hot springs or termales. We planned to try out the hot springs tonite.
There are two recommended routes to get there, one being a bit east of the other and more indirect and remote, we chose that one.
The traffic disappeared and we climbed and climbed.


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The road turned to dirt for awhile and at one point a lot of construction where a landslide had washed out the road




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This section was very remote and we didn't see another car for many miles




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Crossed many streams and saw lots of this




One of the bridges...you gotta pay attention





yah, we had to stop and stage a picture




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This was a more typical bridge...crossed many of these over the next few days.




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We had lunch at this place...We tried to eat at "sodas" local restaurants or cafe's




Contrary to the general consensus, I thought the food in Costa was great. Simple but tasty. And of course...the universal drink.

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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:40 AM   #3
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Nice!! Can't think of a better way to spend your anniversary vacation!!

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Old 12-12-2009, 11:07 AM   #4
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Nice work, Dave! Keep it coming!




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Old 12-12-2009, 11:50 AM   #5
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That's great, Arenal is awesome. The Tabacon Hot springs are something special. Enjoy that Dual Sport, Costa Rica has some serious jeep roads in teh jungle!
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:38 PM   #6
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We went through the towns of Toro Amarillo, Colonia del Toro and Aguas Zarcas. Some of these towns were little more than a small cluster of homes with a little general store nearby.
We knew of a hotel with hot springs on the premises just outside of Aguas Zarcas and even though it was a little early to stop for the day we were considering doing so, based on the condition of our butts. It's one thing to ride a DR650, but two up makes it so the riders are not in the normal riding position. I was too far forward on a skinny seat and Carla was squished up against the dry bag and me. Bottom line is...it limits the miles to something a bit less than your average adventure trip. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not complaining, just trying to give a little perspective.

Anyways we got to the place, I think it was called Termales de Bosque and it was full...no vacancy. I was actually a little relieved, since it had the air of a very expensive resort, and thats not what I came to Costa to experience. And neither did my wallet. On we went...La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano next stop. Well about mile 110 the bikes starts to buck a little... then die...hmmm I thought Thorsten said I'd get 150 miles out of a tank of gas. I pulled over and switched it onto reserve and restarted...good, fuel just getting low. We backtracked about 10 miles to find a gas station after a few false stops and misdirections. I think I was running on fumes at that point. Onward...We pass thru many little towns as the day ticks away and before I know it, it starts to sprinkle...then downright rain, and its getting dark.
Riding at night in Costa Rica is not a smart thing to do. Mainly because of the erratic road surface and potholes that will swallow your front tire up to the axle. Not to mention the various array of critters that are constantly in or crossing the road. We pull into La Fortuna in the dark and stop at a information office. They direct us up the road about 5 miles to a hotel that has what we're looking for.






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Hmmm where did she go...





Well you get the idea...




The next morning we walked around and it was still raining off and on. We hoped it would clear soon.




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I kept walking out front to see if I could get a view of the volcano




We continued onto the "Arenal Observatory" which I thought was some kind of...well, observatory. Oddly, it turned out to be a hotel and restaurant. But it had one heck of a view of the volcano....if it weren't in the clouds.



A coupla more random shots of the volcano that we never saw the top of



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On the way up to the "observatory" we saw this little contraption...I think it was a generator running this guys operation




There were quite a few hiking trails at the observatory, so we decided to hike down to a waterfall...maybe a mile round trip.



What we found





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OK back on up the trail





My steed waiting patiently





Since we left the hotel late due to the rain, we didn't get far that day and stayed just shy of the town of Arenal. We took the road around the north side of the lake.




Oh, I almost forgot...we saw a whole bunch of these in this area. Crossing the road at the observatory, et.
they're called coatamundi. I'm not positive on my spelling.




...

Local trivia:
Lake Arenal, is a lake created for hydro power and is located at the base of the Arenal volcano. The Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968 killing about 70 people in the neighborhood. The town of Arenal was moved to its present location at the Northeast end of the lake when the river was dammed and the lake created.



Not wanting to duplicate my night ride of last night, I was a little anxious to find accomodations today and ended up at this odd little Swiss oasis.



...





Even though the sign said hotel and restaurant...the restaurant was closed. Oh well, it turned out to be a good thing.

We checked in, and they told us there were places to eat down the road. We found this:



Inside:



The view




...





The owner lady and her daughter had some fun with us and our crappy spanish skills. They were quite amused by the stuff we said. But in the end we had a great meal. Tipical style




...




The girls




I like the graphics on the bike that was outside




So after dinner I went down the street to another little soda where I could buy a cerveza and brought it back to the hotel for a little nightcap on the balcony.

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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:19 PM   #7
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Subscribed!!! Thanks!!
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:27 PM   #8
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great report ...

looks like the hotel CACTS in San Jose?
I've been down there the past two winters and headed down for a month this February.
Have fun!
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2020
looks like the hotel CACTS in San Jose?
I've been down there the past two winters and headed down for a month this February.
Have fun!

It is...pretty convenient to Wild Rider and downtown San Jose. We stayed at a different place on the way out which was nice too.

Nice way to spend the winter....wish I was.
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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-13-2009, 04:18 PM   #10
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Loved the report so far! Great memory to celebrate your 25th!

Keep the pictures coming, I live for Costa Rica reports.

The hotel Cacts hasn't changed a bit.

Your report has me there right now and I love it.

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Old 12-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #11
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Nice pics, greetings from a TICO. Enjoy your time!!!
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:30 AM   #12
whizzerwheel OP
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Thanks for the compliments......I got a correction: It was Quakers not Mormons that settled in Monteverde. Those Mormons all went out to Utah

Continued... when I get this friggin snow cleaned up.
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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:21 AM   #13
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Great report. Sorry to be nosey, but about how much did this cost?


PM if you want.


Thanks
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:42 AM   #14
whizzerwheel OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scfrank
Great report. Sorry to be nosey, but about how much did this cost?


PM if you want.


Thanks
Not nosey at all....It cost roughly $2000 including airfare.

Airfare from NH- 575 (We had air miles for one, so X 2 if you have to pay)
9 hotel nights- 550
motorcycle 7 days- 550
Miscellaneous food, gas and tourist stuff-500 (prolly not really that much) Breakfasts are included, so we usually ate lunch late as a sort of early dinnner. But food is pretty cheap generally, and we didn't do a lot of touristy stuff, just riding. But even the touristy stuff isn't too bad.
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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
A Weekend Bagel Tour: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=568464
WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whizzerwheel


"Honest, Honey, I was taking your picture and this girl just walked right in front of the camera!"



Great trip and report - what a blast you must have had!
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