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Old 09-17-2012, 12:04 PM   #16
poolman OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post
can you throw in some idea pricing as you travel around, i'll be there in november...liking the look of your route so far
Hi rtwpaul,

I will try to throw in some of the costs as the ride report progresses, but feel free to send me a PM if you would like anything specific. Here are a few general observations from my trip (all prices in US $):

- Gas is expensive in Costa Rica relative to Mexico/Central America, approximately $1.25 per liter or $5.00 per gallon.

- Products such as oil, packaged foods, etc. are priced comparably to the USA. I've read that Costa Rica is the most exppensive country in Latin America.

- Hostels/Backpackers are available in most small towns and cost $8.00 to 15.00 per night.

- I stayed in nice hotels that would book online for $80 - $150 per night, but paid only $40- $50 on average by simply riding up without a reservation and asking if accommodation was available. Breakfast was usually included.

- The best food is found in the small roadside cafes called "sodas", and a great traditional meal costs only $3.00 - $5.00.


PS: You have authored some fantastic ride reports, especially enjoyed "off the grid for a while"!


Thanks,
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poolman screwed with this post 09-30-2012 at 05:17 PM
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:30 PM   #17
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Hi poolman,

I enjoy very much your Costa Rica report and photos. I've been there a couple of times myself, but mainly for diving and sadly not for riding .
Keep it coming...!!!

Cheers,
George

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- Gas is EXPENSIVE in Costa Rica, approximately $1.25 per liter or $5.00 per gallon.
I know that this price might be a little expensive for Latin America, and more so for the northern part of the Continent, but I laughed my heart out. Try coming to Europe... its double that amount!
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Reaver View Post

To sum it up, crappy bikes poorly maintained are the norm in that part of the world. Expect it. It's in how they deal with you that makes a good rental company.
Reaver,

Good point, it is not an insignificant task for a small independent outfitter in a small country to maintain inventory on hand to fulfill all of their reservations. Riders wreck, groups return late, parts scarcities occur, etc. The team at Wild Rider was extremely pleasant to deal with and did their best given the circumstances.

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Old 09-17-2012, 01:52 PM   #19
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Hi poolman,

I enjoy very much your Costa Rica report and photos. I've been there a couple of times myself, but mainly for diving and sadly not for riding .
Keep it coming...!!!

Cheers,
George



I know that this price might be a little expensive for Latin America, and more so for the northern part of the Continent, but I laughed my heart out. Try coming to Europe... its double that amount!

George,

I am glad you are enjoying the RR and pictures. Thank you for the positive comments.

You certainly have my sympathy with $8.00+ per gallon gasoline in Europe. I refueled my rental car in Madrid recently and thought $2.35 was a great price until I realized it was per liter, not gallon! For some reason I expected petrol prices to me more in line with Mexico at around $3.00 per gallon.

Best,
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post

I will try to throw in some of the costs as the ride report progresses

- Hostels/Backpackers are available in most small towns and cost $8.00 to 15.00 per night.

- I stayed in nice hotels that would book online for $80 - $150 per night, but paid only $40- $50

PS: You have authored some fantastic ride reports, especially enjoyed "off the grid for a while"!


Thanks,
thanks, thats the information i was looking for...upto date pricing, i'm on the road right now and another ride report in progress round the world on a thumper

thanks, Paul
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:37 AM   #21
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Enjoying the RR.

Great pics!

Thanks,

JM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:44 AM   #22
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Enjoying the RR.

Great pics!

Thanks,

JM.

J.M.,

Glad you are enjoying, thanks for the encouraging words.

Next installment to follow...


Ride Safe,
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:52 AM   #23
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thanks, thats the information i was looking for...upto date pricing, i'm on the road right now and another ride report in progress round the world on a thumper

thanks, Paul
Hi Paul,

You are welcome, good luck on your trip and thanks for the link!


Take Care,
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:36 AM   #24
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Seismic Issues - A Rude Awakening

I went to sleep again to the sound of driving rain, and when I awoke at 4:00 AM all hell was breaking loose. My room was shaking violently and there was a rumbling roar outside even between lightning strikes. Was the Arenal Volcano erupting? I grabbed the key and ran outside, but the fog was so dense that visibility was less than 1 meter. I could not find the bike.

By the time I finally managed to find the DRZ and insert the key, the ground had stopped shaking. I deduced that this was probably "just" an earthquake. Still, I was clearly not going back to sleep so I decided to do some bike maintenance, pack up, and get an early start to the Pacific coast.

I've been through earthquakes before and I've been through storms before, but this was the first time I had ever experienced an earthquake during a severe lightning storm while sleeping on the side of an active volcano.

Seismic issues:


I moved the DRZ into my "garage" for morning service:


Daily rear tire inflation routine:


I had a delicious early breakfast of fresh mangoes, passion fruit, papaya, and eggs scrambled with onion, ham, and local peppers. My route for the day:


It had finally stopped raining, but the cloud ceiling was still far below the Arenal Volcano:


The newly-trued front wheel was rolling smoothly, but the rear disk brake was developing that disconcerting scraping sound again. I was running at 80 KM per hour when the rear wheel locked up again, this time on pavement. There was an old Toyota pickup following me, so I skidded off to the side of the road next to a police outpost. Two angry locals got out of the truck and started shouting that I was trying to cause a wreck. I showed them the issue and the tone immediately changed; they even offered to load the bike in their truck and take me to a shop. I thanked them graciously but declined their offer.



I unpacked the bike, retrieved my tools, and removed the rear caliper. The problematic piston would extend freely but would not retract, even with the persuasion of a c-clamp. I suppose some sort of internal valve had failed or clogged, either in the caliper or master cylinder, but I did not have the tools or patience for further diagnosis & repair. Instead, I opened the bleeder valve again and let out a significant amount of brake fluid. I would continue on with just the front brake.

The scenery was amazing as I retraced my tracks around Lake Arenal and into the small village of Puerto Nueva. I then followed a small riverside dirt track through Libano to the Pan American Highway:








I followed the Pan American Highway for about 35 KM from Canas to Routa 18. The Pan American Highway certainly sounds legendary and I have always wanted to ride it, but in Costa Rica it is just another road (only with more trucks). We have plenty of paved roads at home in DC, so I was anxious to get back to the dirt.

The temperature had gone from 65 F in La Fortuna to 95 F in Canas:


The landscape was no longer rainforest, and the temperature continued to climb as I made my way to the recently constructed bridge that spans the northern part of the Gulf of Nacoya:






An hour later the temperature had reached 113 F and I pulled into a soda for lunch and drinks. Manuel (at the counter) and I exchanged stories about our nearly identical Yamaha XT225 bikes (I have one at home):


El perro watched me with curious distrust:


I decided to ride north to the Nicaraguan border and then follow the Pacific coast down until I found a nice beach.















A couple of locals I passed waved me down and wanted to have a look at the DRZ 400. They told me they seldom see such big bikes traveling through this area except when groups of Harleys pass through in guided tours. They directed me to a nice single track that would shave 20 KM off my route:


I came across a nice little soda/hospidaje for some more food and rest. Pretty cool little place and they had private rooms for $12 USD:









More to follow...
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:12 AM   #25
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Great report, stayed at that same hotel next to Arenal about eleven years ago. Hope you had the chance to check out the hot springs park just down the road, great flowing streams you can soak in.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:45 PM   #26
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Great report, stayed at that same hotel next to Arenal about eleven years ago. Hope you had the chance to check out the hot springs park just down the road, great flowing streams you can soak in.
Baja Ho,

Thank you for the kind remarks. I did soak in the hot springs (felt great after getting drenched in the cold rain) and also hiked to the La Fortuna waterfall. The Hotel Los Lagos has a nice series of pools fed by natural hot springs ranging up to 106 F. They even have two hot waterslides.

I hope you have the chance to return to Costa Rica soon.


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Old 09-18-2012, 01:48 PM   #27
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Enjoying your report.

BTW, poolman, your decision to go even after your friend bailed shows guts, balls and solid commitment. Most would have cancelled the trip, I suspect. I therefore nominate thee for a "True Adventure Rider" merit badge. Not losing your shit when presented with a) the wrong bike, and b) locked up rear brake in traffic, earns you a Cool Customer nomination as well. Keep it coming.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #28
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Enjoying your report.

BTW, poolman, your decision to go even after your friend bailed shows guts and solid commitment. Most would have cancelled the trip, I suspect. I therefore nominate thee for a "True Adventure Rider" merit badge.
SFKLR,

I appreciate that, getting outside of one's comfort zone is what really differentiates an adventure from a vacation.

This was my first solo bike trip and I thought it may be somewhat lonely, but just the opposite was true. I met more friendly people on this trip than I could have possibly imagined.


All the Best,
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:21 PM   #29
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Nicoya Penninsula

I rode north up the Nicoya Peninsula, rejoining the Pan American Highway in Liberia and traveling through Guanacaste National Park to La Cruz. I wanted to see the beachside border crossing at the Bahia De Salinas. The area around the Nicaraguan border seemed a little dodgy to me though, so I immediately turned south. In sharp contrast to the sketchy border area, the only accommodations I saw along Costa Rica's northern Pacific coast were ultra high-end luxury resorts. I probably would have needed a reservation.

I followed the beach and beach roads until I came to Samara, a laid-back surfer town with a nice vibe:


















I took a coconut break and continued on until I recognized a lodge that Thorsten from Wild Rider had told me about, The Flying Crocodile:




There was a fellow rider on a Trans Alp; I must have found a good place to stay:


I was greeted by a German pilot named Claus who lives on site and a German woman who had just arrived a few weeks prior to manage the lodge. The pilot told me Thorsten is a good friend of his, and they charged me only a fraction of the normal rate. The accommodations had a unique jungle theme that was a nice departure from a typical business hotel:




My gear was getting fairly ripe, so I washed it in the shower and hung it to dry:


The lodge's dining room was closed for renovation, so I took a rather NOGATT ride 20 KM into Samara for some local pizza and beers:

I guess I should have at least buckled my chin strap!

Bovine road block:


Interesting houses near the beach:




The howler monkeys squeal horribly as you ride under their trees. When I stopped to see who was making all the racket this guy was giving me the old "it wasn't me... must have been some other monkey" look:


I returned to the lodge after dinner in Samara, and one of the locals I had met earlier, Andres, invited me to ride down to the beach for a few beers with his friends, and to check out a lagoon known for its abundant crocodile population:











It was a fun evening, and I rode back to the Flying Crocodile Lodge after dark:




That night I sat outside on my verandah taking in the sounds and aromas of the warm jungle air, contemplating what an amazing experience it is to be traveling in Costa Rica. The native people I have met, affectionately referred to as Ticos, have been almost universally warm, friendly, curious, and helpful. They clearly enjoy life, feel blessed to be living in this little patch of paradise, and are proud to show foreigners the beauty of their country .

The diversity of the Costa Rican ecology and climate system is also amazing. In this one rather small country I hve already traveled through the typical tropical city of San Jose, into the high cloud forest of Monte Verde, through the arid near-desert heat of the central Nicoya Peninsula, and now into the lush jungle along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Each climatic region hosts unique terrain and has provided a great range of technical riding challenges.

My friend did well in selecting Costa Rica; it is unfortunate he couldn't be here to enjoy the ride...

More to follow...
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:06 AM   #30
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Samara to Tambor along the Pacific Coast

I awoke to the ruckus of Howler Monkeys playing and feeding in the trees directly over the lodge and set out to explore the grounds in daylight. Our host was serving fresh fruit along with an interesting baked casserole consisting of eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, and cheese. Fantastic!

Mantled Howler Monkeys were playing directly over the lodge:








Nice poolside bungalow:


Claus (the German pilot) showed me the airstrip and his fleet of gyro-copters:






I could have enjoyed several more days at the Flying Crocodile, but reluctantly packed my bag and loaded the DRZ for the trip down the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Penninsula:




My route for the morning:


There were several water crossings as my route took me inland and then back out to the coast:










The courteous truck gives the cyclist a wide berth:




I finally reach the coast and continue south directly on the beach:




Several streams and small rivers enter the ocean, so there are several water crossings directly on the beach. I finally reach one that is too deep to cross except possibly at low tide:


I follow a single track trail inland up river and the first bridge is not an option:


However, another KM up river I crossed on a nice swinging pedestrian bridge:


A monkey was heckling me, but became shy when I stopped to take his picture:


An Iguana hiding in his tree:


Back on the beach, I passed several small fishing villages...



... and several stretches of desolate beach with nothing but horse traffic:






A dog on a mission:


There were a few private air strips along the beach serving the Zen, Eco Lodge, and perhaps other business interests:








It was well over 105 F in the mid-day sun and I decided to cool off in the Pacific Ocean. The beaches are black due to the volcanic sand and it gives the illusion of black sea water.





I came to an area where the beach-front land appears to be private property, and diverted to a road which hugs the coast. These cows certainly enjoy a million dollar view:






And then I proceeded to hit the deck.

More to follow...
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