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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.




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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.



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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




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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




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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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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, 02:35 PM   #10
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So your wife suggested this for the 25th...she suggested it. My Costa Rican wife won't walk near my motorcycle! But she doesn't mind me disappearing for a couple of weeks from time to time, so I'll not complain.

Very nice photos. You're doing well by trying the different sodas.

My inlaws live up in the mountains about 30 miles from Arenal, high up enough where you look down on on the volcano, though it is from a distance. On clear days--there are some--it's spectacular. Really neat to see familiar areas through someone else's eyes.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdedse
So your wife suggested this for the 25th...she suggested it. My Costa Rican wife won't walk near my motorcycle! But she doesn't mind me disappearing for a couple of weeks from time to time, so I'll not complain.

Very nice photos. You're doing well by trying the different sodas.

My inlaws live up in the mountains about 30 miles from Arenal, high up enough where you look down on on the volcano, though it is from a distance. On clear days--there are some--it's spectacular. Really neat to see familiar areas through someone else's eyes.
Well, your wife probably knows the statistics....ignorance is bliss in our case
Thanks for the compliment. I think the mountains were my favorite part of the trip after all is said and done.
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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, 09:07 AM   #12
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Day three begins to a hard rain. It rained so hard in the night that I actually got up a couple of times to see what the heck was happening, it was so loud.
Here's a view from our balcony




We went down for breakfast







Jimmy Carter had dinner here once as the pictures indicate...I guess if its good enough for Jimmy...it's way to good for me. When was he president....Hmmm...? Kinda miss that Billy Beer though...hiccup..




We continued on....Along the northeast shore of Lake Arenal

Don't know what this contraption is or was



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We went through the town of Arenal (no pics) and continued towards Tilaran on the northwest corner of the lake...along the way its typical to see people in roadside stands selling stuff. It could be fruit or vegetables, jewelry, trinkets, wooden carvings, bathroom fixtures...you never know.





Mother and daughter operation





We are trying to find our way to Monteverde, and somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn. By the way, there aren't road signs like you would see in the U.S., you kind of have to dead reckon which way to go...sometimes you'll see a hand painted sign of no particular uniformity or color, with the name of a town on it, and an arrow...we followed those. Fortunately there really aren't too many road options, so you can't go wrong for too long. Well I had taken a wrong turn in some little town, maybe Dos de Tilaran...not sure, but I kept getting to dead ends. I was turning around....again... and these little girls appeared from their home so we asked them how to get to Monteverde. They pointed the way.



Yah, it started raining again....




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Then it cleared for awhile




I may be odd...but I find cemetary and burial customs kinda interesting.





Then it started to rain again...we had seen a sign for a "eco" coffee tour...we wanted to do that.





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Then it started to clear again...there's a pattern here.





We traveled down into a little valley and arrived at the coffee co-op.





We waited a little while for a small group to finish their tour, then we got a private tour.
This was a group of college kids from the U.S. midwest that had toured a half dozen coffee cooperatives, they were studying entrepreneurism in Costa Rica. This was a little taste testing drill that they had at the end of the tour.




Our tour begins

Very basically, this is a cooperative of about 500 local farmers. The coffee beans are picked and delivered each night into a hopper where they are weighed. They are then shelled and pre-sorted for quality.



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The good stuff goes to the roaster





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Then to packaging





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Here's some stuff that didn't make the export market





The spoils at the end





We did this too...sorta like a wine tasting thing I guess...you take this big exzaggerated sip with lots of air and a little coffee, swish it around in your mouth...than spit it out.
I'm really not a coffee drinker at home but...damn...this stuff is good and I drank coffeed the whole trip...never had a bad cup.





Sorry to bore you with this but this was for you coffee addicts...

We continued on and the day was really nice.




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So we arrive in Monteverde...It's kinda touristy surprisingly, considering the roads that you have to take to get there. It reminds me a tiny bit like some Colorado rocky mountain town on the other side of some mountain pass like Telluride, but without the air of snobs and money. I kinda like it.





We have lunch at this place





This is how you get up there...





It seemed kind of neat but it turned out to be too windy and cold, so we moved inside.




We shared this which turned out to be way too much, so we took a doggie bag for later. Carla went down the street to a bakery, and got bread and cheese which we later combined with the remnants of this lunch.





After lunch we went looking for a hotel and came up with this nice little cabin




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Oh yeah, got these guys to pose for a pic as we were loading up. They were running a road block as we were coming into town, but didn't wave us over. Must be my clean cut look...or my bright flourescent yellow jacket which screams...tourist, tourist, tourist.


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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, 09:33 AM   #13
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With the rain, those roads, and 2-up on a DR it sounds like Carla's a keeper.

You on the otherhand...



...if you don't start using the saucer or at least a coaster will be out on your ear.

Just sayin'.




Great RR! Keep it coming!


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Old 12-13-2009, 11:17 AM   #14
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:05 PM   #15
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Ok...so we're in Monteverde, It's pretty touristy...jungle walks, ziplining, canopy tours, hanging bridges tours...too late for the daytime stuff, so we decide on a night time jungle walk. We're in whats known as a cloud forest as opposed to a rain forest. I had it explained to me and I think its the elevation and precipitation that differentiates the two. Anyways, seems like I could use some schooling...so onward.
They pick us up at dark and take us to the preserve. It's called the Bosque Eterno Los Ninos or the Childrens Eternal Rain Forest. There are lots of public and private preserves here. Oh, an interesting piece of trivia...this area was originally settled by a bunch of Quakers from Alabama in the mid 1950's...I think. They were runnng from the U.S. because they didn't want to be involved in the Korean War. They bought several thousand acres to farm, and still own land here, but in smaller quantities. I didn't happen to notice any Quakers with a southern drawl hanging around when I was in town though...

We get our flashlights and head out into the jungle. (this is going to be very anti-climactic)




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Aaaargh! Watch where you stick your hands





Allright...enough of this stuff...I never was too good at school anyways.
If I can't see Jaguars, bushmasters, vipers and Ocelots then I lose interest quickly.

We head for Puntarenas and the Nicoyan Peninsula...the way out of Montezuma and Sta Elena






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Everywhere we went...there were dogs.





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Standard equipment for a Mountain Tico...rubber boots and a machete




So it was getting hot...and we were getting parched...In the little town of Sardinal we stopped for a drink and a chat.





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This was where that doggie bag from yesterdays lunch came in handy...

This gentleman saw us sitting in the gutter having lunch, and came out and started chatting with us. He was amused by our crappy spanish.




The local girlgang walked past a couple of times...fully accessorized...





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The roads got better...well, good actually.


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Costa Rica, Two Up: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=532923
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WR's in NH and Maine: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=733821

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