Costa Rica Lives up to the hype!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by bingo43, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    So here goes with a report about Costa Rica. I'm a Spanish teacher in North Kansas City, MO and I've done a bit of riding and exploring in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. That trip was exactly four years ago and the world cup was in full swing. The motorcycle part of this excursion was from Costa Rica's first win until their second win in preliminary group play for the world cup. It was amazing to see this country. I've been teaching about CR for years and showing pictures that belong to other people. I felt like I knew the country already, because of it...I just had not had any boots on the ground as of yet. Now I've done that. I rode a DRZ for a week around the southern part of the country, I hiked Chirripo'...the highest peak in CR and I've explored the rich countryside offroad a bit. All in all...Costa Rica lives up to the dual sport hype. The first 10 days of my trip was with a group of 30 students and some wonderful teachers. They went home and I stuck around and rented a DRZ from Wild Rider in San Jose. Thor was awsome. He was extremely knowledgeable and easy to work with. It cost 65$ a day to rent the bike and they put a hold on my credit card for $1k in case of dammage. I let the bike lay down once on a steep incline and smashed my leg a bit. That was the night before the hike. I'm getting out in front of my self...Let me tell how this all began...
    #1
  2. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    My friend Calla

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    So I teach at a high school and Calla and Melissa, two teachers I teach with had a trip they were working on. They said if I got a few students together who wanted to go, I could go as well...free. So I worked on it and got it taken care of...Then I extended my trip a week. So I was in Costa Rica for 10 days with students...

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    The first 10 days were tourism related. Pretty rough stuff. Started in San Jose. Went to Arenal area. (la Fortuna) Baldi' Hot springs is highly reccomended. Very Cool. We went to Poas Volcano, then around the northern side of Lake Arenal through Tilaran and down to the Santa Elena area. Monteverde Cloud Forest is there. Zip-lining, horseback riding etc. Then down to Playa Jaco' and Manuel Antonio. Then back to San Jose for a night. Then white water rafting in a river to the north west...by Braulio Carrillo National Park. All that part was very exciting...but was only the pregame show leading up to the motorcycle rental and the rides.

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    This is the DRZ 400 I rented. The process took about 45 min. Very easy. The first day I rode was the 14th of June. The day CR made it's first win in the world cup. I heard Thor say to some other clients that CR had about 5% chance of winning. They won. It was amazing. The first day I rode out of the back to the hotel and through Cartago and up the Cerro de la Muerte towards San Isidro. It's only 140 km from San Jose to San Isidro. In a bus it took my daughter 4 hours. I could have made it in two...but getting there was not my goal. Exploration was the goal.
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  3. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    First of all...I see many of you putting maps on your ride reports where you show a path where you went. I have tried to figure out how to do it on my own...I can't. If any of you have a link to a tutorial telling me how to write on a map and draw arrows and show the path I took, I would be happy to put a map up. I personally love reports that show the locations of things...I just don't know how to do it. If you are going to CR and want to do some off road riding...it's heaven. I can tell you a few places where I just went nuts and had a blast...

    That being said...I started in San Jose the first day and ended up at a cool hotel with cabins called El Mirador de Los Quetzales. It was reccomended to me by our tour guide. It was a little pricey for me...$70...but that included a cabin looking out over the mountains, dinner, Breakfast and a one on one guided tour in the morning to go look for quetzales. We saw two. The real reason I stayed there is that it was at an elevation of almost 9k feet. I was hiking to 12k+ Monday morning, so I needed my body to be adjusted...

    This was the view from the cabin...In this same direction at night time...you could see the lights of the city of San Jose.

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    If you look on the map at the road between Cartago and San Isidro...1/2 way in between you might see a small town called la Cima. This is that area. Going towards San Isidro, you turn to the right to reach la Cima. You go down into a valley...funny because la Cima means the peak. I spen a few hours here and I'll show you some pics of it. This is one of my top three places to ride. From the turn off to la Cima you could turn right or left. The paths are almost unending. Small dirt and gravel roads that lead up the sides of mountains. I was riding up and workers were comming down with buckets of Mora...Blackberry. They were waiting for the delivery truck to come get the berries to take them to market. The small rock roads covered the mountainside and it seemed like they went on for ever. Most people that don't live in San Jose live in the countryside. There are so many roads to explore that go every which way. All felt very safe and calm...except for when they won those two world cup games...

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    Man, I love these old Toyota Land Cruiser pick ups they have everywhere down there...I saw some converted into tow trucks

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    There are many farms around this area with Trout ponds. They let you fish and eat what you catch...they will prepare it for you...

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    I asked if I could drive around their fence and ride up to an anntennae they had at the top of the mountain...they said...OK.

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    I came back to Enpalme to get some food and medicine for my leg. I had rented a 250 earlier in the trip at Playa Jaco' and had burned my leg when I dropped the bike in the wet mud. They had a cafeteria style diner. I sat and watched more world cup with some empanadas de chicharron.

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    Usually chicharron is the fatty part of the pork. (pork rinds) but in Costa Rica it seemed to me to be more like what the Mexicans call "Carnitas" Pork boiled in fat and very tender. Great in an empanada. I ate lots of these...With salsa lizano...a Costa Rican seasoning. I brought lots home to make my own gallo pinto.

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    Day one was in the books. I had traveled only 70km from San Jose to just past la Cima. It was a full day and I was tired. Had some fresh trout for dinner and called it a night. The next day was when I smashed my leg with the bike a bit. More to come...
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  4. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    This was one of the trout farms I found while exploring.

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    Dual Sport Heaven!
    #4
  5. nb11

    nb11 n00b

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    Hey I've been to that trout farm/restaurant a time or two!! Always wondered what was up the hill past the gate. Any more pics from the top? Also, Playa Jaco was a nice place. It seemed to be less touristy.

    If you ever go back, make a trip to Playa Coyote. It's a huge beach on the Southwest corner of the country that is absolutely vacant except for a little old guy who lives on the beach and surfs. It's a dual sport dream to get there. As I'm sure you found out, they're not too concerned with having a bridge for every river crossing. In fact, they're not concerned with much at all down there. It's such a beautiful country.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #5
  6. tjzondrz

    tjzondrz Non-Nefarious

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    I'd like to retire there.:evil
    Your thoughts.:deal
    Thank you.
    #6
  7. jerdog53

    jerdog53 Crop Dusting Everywhere

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    Love me some Costa Rica!
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  8. Wotsisname

    Wotsisname Banned

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  9. CostaRicaUnlimited

    CostaRicaUnlimited n00b

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    Great report, glad you had a blast riding in Costa Rica.
    Costa Rica Unlimited team.

    Attached Files:

    #9
  10. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    I rented from Wild Rider as well, and always enjoy a good Costa Rica ride report!

    Looking forward to more...


    :lurk:lurk:lurk

    Cheers,

    .
    #10
  11. emerson.biguns

    emerson.biguns All idiot, no savant

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    Jeff,

    Do you have GPS tracks? If you do I can make some maps for you.

    Another option is to use GoogleMaps with the directions option. Pick a starting and ending point and then drag the route so it matches what you rode. After that you can embed your daily maps in your posts. If you need help with that let me know as well.

    I'm all about maps too. I have to have a concrete idea in my head where people are going to go along with the story. It just adds so much.

    PM me if you need help.

    John
    #11
  12. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Hey! Watch this.

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    :clap:clap:clap

    I'm originally from southern Missouri (Ozarks) and love CR too!! Haven't rode there yet thou, just 4 wheels. Good stuff.
    #12
  13. DOUBLE-O G

    DOUBLE-O G Smooth Operator

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    You know you can't post pictures of students without permission. FYI.
    #13
  14. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    Thanks for the heads up. This is a trip that was not affiliated with any school. Also, they sign a waiver through the tour company so that we can make a promo video with photography for the next trip next year.
    #14
  15. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke █║▌│ █│║▌ ║││█║▌ │

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    :lurk

    Subscribed
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  16. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    Here is a map of the first day ride. I Left San Jose. Went through Cargago. There is a cool town at the top of the mountain called Empalme. Great kitchen where you choose what you want. Then to Mirador de los Quetzales. Special thanks to Emmerson.Biguns and Raoul Duke for help figuring out how to put a map in the report. With your help and the help of a teacher I teach with, I was able to get it going. More to follow now that I can visualize it. I was in Eureka, CA painting a victorian house built in 1890 that my mother bought recently. I'm ready to roll now.

    Attached Files:

    #16
  17. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    So on the second day...I know it's been a while...I went from the top of the mountain (close to Cerro de la Muerte) down into San Isidro del General then towards the small city of Rivas. San Gerardo del Rivas is the gateway to Chirripó. Chirripó is the highest peak in Costa Rica and one of the toughest hikes I've ever been on. The area around Rivas is a dual sport playgound. I dropped the bike on my leg and had a general amazing time.

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    So...I followed this map pretty closely. The only thing is that I had a huge backpack and needed to dump some things off at my friend Paul's house. [Inmate Pedese] His house was almost done and I was thinking about staying there for a day or two. It was sunday and my contact in San Isidro was busy with Father's day things...so I adventured on. Here is the story.

    Around La Cima is heaven for riding bikes. I've talked about this before. There were blackberries everywhere.

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    Because of this photo, I wanted to make blackberry jam with my mom while I was working in Eureka, CA this summer. We just got back and I made 30 pints of jam. It turned out amazingly.

    Here is an area just south of La Cima. Trails that come off the main highway and go everywhere. The clouds were pushed down below me.

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    Sunset at Mirador de los Quetzales...You can see San Jose off in the distance after it gets dark. Watched the first Costa Rica world cup win from my cabin. Got all excited...

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    That ended the first day, actually. I went back and forth from El Mirador de los Quetzales to the little city El Enpalme. I was having so much fun. The people were great except in a little Pharmacy. They sold me some ointment that was supposed to be anti-bacterial. After I got back I realized in the fine print it was for diaper rash. OOOOOh...they got me.
    #18
  19. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    The map of that second day was a little wong. I went from the mountain to San Isidro and then went to my friend Paul's house. Then from his house back to San Isidro and up to rivas. Here is a map of that road. Just a fun, fun road.

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. bingo43

    bingo43 ¡Que Viva!

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    This hotel was a little pricy. Like 80$. But it included dinner, breakfast, stay in a cabin and a one on one guided tour to see Quetzales. I had never gone on a Quetzal hunt...so I was game. You could see like 5 volcanoes from where we were...amazing stuff.

    Hummingbirds everywhere. 4 or 5 different kinds.

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    This is the view from the Mirador

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    Here is a shot of the hotel and a friend of the owner that had a cool Toyota Tacoma...Diesel.

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    I'm a horrible photographer...or this Quetzal was shy...You can see the feathers and the long tail. We saw a male and a female.

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    Strawberry Fields...
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    This was a sunday and it was father's day. There was some interesting stuff going on where they made a path of honor for all of the fathers.

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    If you are looking for this area...look for this sign. Get a hotel close and just explore.

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    Here is another cool sign. 300 km (180 miles) from Panama...not too far away.

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    This shot is comming down into San Isidro looking towards Chirripó. Great looking canyon and amazing asphault.

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    Very pretty church on the way to Paul's house near Platanillo.

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    The road to Paul's house...Riding through the Jungle on a rocky road. Smell of mango because of the looming mango trees that drop their fruit to rot all over the trail. Great memory. Great smell.

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    House in the middle of the jungle. Very Nice. This is the spot that some of you will come to in the future when you are traveling from the US to South America. Paul want's to have ADV'rs stop by to do maintenence some day when he lives here. Retirement can't come soon enough.

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    I did not end up staying here. Just not quite done. I tried to rush the builders saying...Paul will be here soon. I think they got it done. He was down there for a month with his family after I was there. The house is ready to go now. I think it's all broken in. I can't wait to get back. Looking forward to it. I'm working on another trip with students for this comming summer in coordination with an exchange with some Costa Rican students from San Isidro. I'd love for it to be an every year exchange. We will see if I can pull of a semi-regular trip to Costa Rica like Paul has and make someone else pay for it! It worked this summer.
    #20