On Costa Rican time

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by booger1, May 15, 2011.

  1. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

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    Colorado Springs
    We make our way up the mountain for the zip line tour. I'm not fond of heights, but an opportunity exists and there for you take it.
    We're given a short video on how to control yourself while on the cable and then it is reiterated when meeting the crew that is going to take us on this adventure. They put our harnesses on us as to make sure it is done correctly and with the most comfort.

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    I'm not all that comfortable when they tighten up my harness around the family package.

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    Our saftey gear consists of a helmet, harness, and gloves, the right one has a large leather patch sewn on to it for dragging along the cable.

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    Cables are tied up to platforms built high in the trees.

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    Also, each platform was placed in order to gain a magnificent view of the area.

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    We are given the opportunity to go swimming at a small waterfall, after a short hike down.

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    The swimming hole.

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    Cheryl taking the plunge.

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    And all is alright.

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    Climbing up the waterfall.

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    After a half hour cooldown we have to climb back up the mountain, a cruel joke.

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    But an awesome view.

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    All hooked up and ready to go.

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    One more climb and then a catwalk to the last line.

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    Making things work around nature.

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    The crew. Thanks for a good time, these guys know how to have fun.

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    I had carried my camera with me hoping to take pictures of this little journey, but when you get all hooked up, there's no way your going to be able to do the filming yourself. After all was said and done, the charge for the CD with pics and video was only $20. That to me is cheap, if I would have tried to do the pics myself and dropped my camera, the cost would have been much greater and would not have the pictures either.

    On the way back down the mountain another trail was revealed, you could not see this on the way up.

    Providing a photo opportunity.

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    We pass the hotel and head into town, we're still on an adrenaline rush, to get something eat & drink. I find out that I like rum. We tried another restaurant in town and it was equally as good, but we didn't get any pictures of the food, I think the rum had something to do with it.

    Downtown Montezuma

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    This has been an exciting day, but we know we have to carry on to see more of what Costa Rica has to offer. We go to bed with the sounds of the surf out our screened in window.
    You'll find that most hotels here provide a security person at night. Tonight I got a chance to talk with the one here. He didn't know any english and like I said before, my spanish is very poor. We had a very pleasant conversation for 30 min using our hands to describe what we wanted to talk about. He would like to see Texas, as that is where the cowboys are.


    I tried putting some video clips up, but am having a hard time getting them to come up without auto playing. While doing this I deleted a whole post. I'm going to try and figure this out and post them at the end of this RR.
    #21
  2. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

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    I believe we paid $35 for the room. I really don't like posting the prices. I feel if someone where to go to that same place they might expect that price.
    We could have easily stayed here awhile as well, but each town seems to have a draw of it's own. It's very hard to move on because you want to see more in that town, but each time we left we found ourselves enjoying the next place.
    Thanks for reading along.
    #22
  3. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    In the morning, we start making are way toward Paquera in order to catch the ferry acoss the Gulfo de Nicoya to Puntarena.
    This morning we don't feel like we're in any kinda of rush, we're enjoying the scenery and before you know it we're in Paquera. The 2 day rest did us good. The ferry had just docked and was getting ready to unload the passengers and vehicles when we pulled up. I walked into the office to buy the tickets, roughly $9 for two people and a bike, wandered back to the bike and cars are unloading; we wait a few minutes and Cheryl jumps on the back of the bike and start to head up to board when we get stopped. The man checking tickets tells her she has to board and walk on with the other passengers.
    We don't really understand this as we see cars full of people boarding, but oh well.
    Gives Cheryl a chance to get a picture of me boarding.

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    I get parked and go to the upper deck to see if she got on. As soon as I get to the top she's there waiting for me.

    And a quick look back at our trusty steed.

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    Isla Jesusita

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    The ferry is not very full.

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    Made us wonder how they make their money. It was actually fairly cheap to board and then they didn't even fill up.
    We walk by the concession stand to see what was available. Being the ice cream connoisseurs that we are (and my new profound fondness for rum), we spot homemade rum raisin ice cream.
    In a situation like this it is very important to remain calm and to act like you know what your doing. The guy asks cup or cone. Cheryl and I split alot of our stuff, she doesn't eat much, and I really should stop eating. We both have a different answer, no problem honey, we can have the cone. He scoops out 2 very nice scoops and hands it to Cheryl. My wallet comes out and he gets a phone call. He holds his finger up to me as if to tell me, give me a minute. I wait patiently, I turn around to see where Cheryl has taken my ice cream, when I turn around there's a cup of ice cream in front of me. Like I said, I like ice cream and this works out very well for me. I know I'll finish mine and with luck, I'll also get some of Cheryl's. Win-win.

    Rum Raisin is good, she eat's her top half and mine awaits at the bottom.

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    Sorry no pics of mine.

    This is what we would look like going the other way. (Except we were waving.)

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    Some more islands.

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    Here's our get off.

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    Cheryl walks off while I go and get the bike. I seem to have lost her in the crowd. There's vendors everywhere, selling cigarettes, food, gifts, and live chickens. Cab are parked as far as you can see. She finds me in this chaos.
    Lets roll.

    Our goal after discussing the maps aboard the ferry is Jaco. It's not that far as to break up the ride from here on out, shorter days that will allow us to spend more time in each town.
    As we approach our goal from the top of the hill we can see that there's alot of burning going on. A thick blanket of smoke hangs over the town. We ride into it and decide that this doesn't make for a good resting area and continue through town and up the hill to have a look back.
    We stop at the cliffs which provides a decent view of the town of Jaco, but with all that smoke we doubt we would be enjoying it.

    The surf just past Jaco.

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    Pulling the maps out to discuss the next avenue we will be taking. We decide on Quepos, there's a park just outside of town that we would like to visit.
    A car pulls up and 2 guys get out, conversation starts. They're from California and come down here to surf, he has a place here.
    And then as if from the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds". Without the attack.

    Wild Macaws

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    We're all standing there, just staring at the sky and tree's. The older gentleman says he's been here for 13 years and you just don't see them like this, He then looks at us and says "today is your lucky day".
    we find it hard to move on, but with the change of plans we have a bit of a ride to make.

    We pull into Quepos and start looking for a room. Maybe it was just me, but my spidey censors are tingling, I don't get a good vibe here, maybe the prostitute walking down the side walk across the street yelling is doing it.
    The Best Western has a casino with no secured parking. We find another place further into town, $85 the rooms aren't that nice. There's got to be something. We start to make our way toward the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio hoping to find a clean secured hotel near there.
    At the corner leaving town we find it.
    Hotel Romantica.
    The rooms are clean and have an honor fridge. Just write down what you take and they'll charge the room later. A young German fellow is running the desk and gives us great ideas as to what else to see. He is also trying to give us advice on the cheapest way of going to the park. Take a bus will only cost $3, leave your bike and stuff here, we'll watch and when you come back we want charge you for another night if you leave.
    Very accomodating gentleman.

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    Nice pool, however it was late and we wanted to get something to eat.

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    The property

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    The Geico Gecko

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    And the terradactyle size moth that attacked me when we were getting walking directions to a place to eat. (it must have been funny because everyone was laughing but me)

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    Food was good. I'm glad we stayed at the other end of town, it was cleaner, then on the way back we were asked if we wanted to buy some weed. We're happy at our decision to stay further out of town.
    #23
  4. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

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    In the morning we head down to get breakfast, at first we're the only ones there but shortly later a German couple arrives. We had the whole place to ourselves last night. Conversation starts, they have lived here for 20 years. Before coming to live here, they had come here on vacation. After going back to Germany, he started doing some research on how to grow coffee beans. It was a done deal for them. They bought 20 acres and started growing coffee. 19 years later, the American economy had big impact on the coffee industry, and he wasn't making enough money to keep it going. So he sold it off, and now helps other farmers with their crops while being mostly retired. I think 'good for him'.
    He tells us about Volcano Poas, it's not too far from his old plantation, so he knows it very well. He also informs us on other highlights in the area, but we're really interested in Poas. He googles us a map and shows where to take the turnoffs and now we're racing with anticipation, we have to go NOW.
    So our plans were to leave the bike at the hotel and catch the bus, but Poas is a long way away.
    We figure we can find some place to park, or maybe pay someone to watch our stuff while we hike through the park.

    Main drag in Quepos

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    We do in fact find someone willing to watch the bike and our stuff while we go on a guided tour of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Alot of vendors are opening up for the morning, a lady selling blankets says she'll watch the bike for 3000 colones all day. I tell her we are just here to walk through the park, it will only take 2 hours and I will give her 2000 colones and when I get back, if everything is here I'll give her the other 1000. She agrees and Cheryl and I head up to the guys selling guided tours. To enter the park was around $6 a person, but to get a guide would cost us a total of $35, that's for both of us.
    We decided that this would be best, these guys know where everything is and will tell us all about it.
    So we're set, we meet with our guide Edgar and another couple and start the walk to the park entrance. The guide has already paid for itself, we would not have gone down vendor row to find the park entrance (Edgar will be getting a workout on this tour).

    Edgar points out an Iguana that blends in very well.

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    Huge leaves

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    This ant has a strong scent when broke apart.

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    Edgar tells us these are real bananas in the wild (as opposed to the fake ones).

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    Edgar spots this guy. If we had not gotten the guide, we would have never seen this. He tells us that if an animal where to eat 5 of these colorful grass hoppers they will die.

    It's only a half inch long. Pretty powerful toxins.

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    This 2 toed Sloth didn't move to get a better picture, so this will have to do.

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    This green snake with red eyes was moving around too much to get a good picture.

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    A Toucan.

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    Edgar takes great pride in getting the most basic camera to get a close up. He puts the camera into the eye piece of his Carl Zeiss telescope and does a very good job.
    This is with Cheryl's camera.

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    Of that grasshopper through the Zeiss lens.

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    A very good shot through the Zeiss lens

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    This is a 3 toed Sloth. Ther metabolism is so slow that they only mate once every 14 months, and the job gets done so fast that he wears himself out and has to sleep for another 14 months.

    Here's the ladies man.

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    Edgar tells us we can survive on the plants and insects down here. He points out a termite nest and pokes it with his tripod and pulls out some termites. Offers one to us but we are reluctant, but after he takes one, the guys must try. Think of brown rice texture and peanut oil, wasn't bad at all.
    He offers to the ladies and Cheryl claims she's full from breakfast. We make our way to the beach.

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    Edgar taking a discreet view of the wildlife on the beach.

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    Watcha looking at Edgar?

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    I'm only doing this cause he got me into trouble. :lol3
    This is where the tour ends, we have an option to stay and swim or follow him back into the vendor row. We had nice conversation on the way back out and he was still showing us stuff. He's very knowledgable, has 4 kids, and has a passion for structural engineering.
    He plopped this guy into Cheryl's hand.

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    She didn't scream, but just tried not to drop him (she didn't know what he was going to put into her hand) & then caved and let him go.

    I was able to get close enough to this guy, you can see he's measuring me up.

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    I forget the name of this guy, Jesus something, but he can walk on water.

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    We make it back to the bike and all is still there, except the lady who said she would watch it. So we left without giving her the rest of the money.

    Heading back out we find this interesting restaurant.
    Relic from the Iran Contra scandal.

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    Some of you guys can probably fill in the blanks here.

    But during the Reagan years an agreement was made to exchange weapons for hostages. 2 planes left full of arms, one was shot down over Nicaragua and this one landed. But this never really happened. The plane sat all these years until this resturant owner saw potential and bought it for $3000, had it tore down and hauled up the tight windy road to this location overlooking the Ocean, reassembled and made into a bar. If you go to this place, the story is in their menu.

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    We eat and change into riding gear and head out, crossing a bridge with many people standing on it. We had to stop.

    Crocodiles, roughly 650-700 lbs.

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    We make our way back up toward San Mateo and then over to Atenas. We're looking for a recommended road from our neighbors at the hotel, but seem to have gotten lost again. We weren't told about a toll road so our assumption is right. We stand at the intersection debating on whether or not to just take this toll road.
    We watch this guy come up and around the round about and turn left, he backs up then goes right. Then he comes back toward us and stops. He seems to want to offer us some help and we show him on the map where we're trying to go. He takes the whole map inside his car and opens it all the way up, it appears he is lost himself but points us in the direction he thinks we should be going, hands us back the map and leaves.
    Cheryl and I are looking at each other and agree we should go in the other direction and start to pack back up. And then the car comes back toward us and passes, then the car goes into reverse and pulls up next to us and a hand appears with a huge mango which we decide to eat later.

    We make up our minds that we will not be finding the road that was suggested to us earlier, (that means there will be no turn off of the main highway after the big barrel by the side of the road that will lead us into the mountains and through some water crossings). We're a little bummed about this, we just head toward Poas.

    Entering the town of Cinco Esqumas about the time the sun falls behind the mountains. The first place we see on the route is a huge resort, security at the gate informs us of the price, but we only want to sleep tonight. He does tell us about a place further up the road called Hotel Americana.
    We find it quite easily and make our way to the room. The desk lady speaks excellent english for having never left Costa Rica, we had great conversation. She explains to us that Ticos take pride in education but the schools don't teach them how to use maps, and then tells us where we can get something to eat.

    Our room with towel pigs.

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    We find dinner and head back to get some sleep, tomorrow is Volcano Poas.
    #24
  5. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Colorado Springs
    In the morning, I take a walk around the grounds to take some pictures before breakfast.

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    If you look closly, you can see a bee.

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    So now I'm challenged, capture more bees.

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    A creative way to serve breakfast.

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    Most breakfasts are served with native fruits, cheese, and eggs, and if your lucky you will also get the black beans with rice.
    The day started out sunny, but as we climbed up into the mountains the clouds engulfed us.

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    The road became wet and our thoughts of not being able to see the volcano became a reality when we approached the ranger station.
    "It is impossible to see today, maybe tomorrow, come early".
    Bike turned around, trying to figure out how we would spend the rest of the day, as hiking this volcano was what are plans were.
    On the way out, we took the opportunity to get some pictures of giant leaves. Thinking this would make a great umbrella.

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    The leaves are very thick, almost like a thin tarp.

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    Stopped at a look-out area, by a house that never got finished to take a look at the maps and find a direction for the rest of the day.

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    Cheryl doing what she does best, trying to make sense of a map in a country with almost no road signs.

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    We find a roadside waterfall. It's nice not to have a direction, just meander around and find something cool.

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    This spider found the view so nice he made his home across the street.

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    We rolled into town and see a corner market that sells pastries.
    Today is very relaxing and thought we would just hang out here and sample some food and watch this town live for a little.
    We made our selection and proceeded to the sidewalk to enjoy.

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    Nobody pays much attention to us, and live their lives as they do everyday.
    No questions of where we're from, where we're going, what we've seen. They're just living, it's nice and relaxing to see the simple life do it's thing.

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    We could have spent the rest of the day sitting there people watching, but had decided to try another volcano. Volcano Barva isn't too far from here and make our way up the road which turned to a rutted up hill climb, making you wonder if your heading in the right direction. It also made us wonder how many people come up this way because of the condition of the road.
    The ranger station is built right on the hillside. The ranger comes running down out of the building when we went around the baracade. I jokingly told him that I'm sure the bike can make it up to the top, but that was a no go. But he did smile. We were the only ones there.
    He gives us a map and offers to watch our gear and takes the jackets and helmets into the ranger station to keep them from getting any further wet.

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    The trail leading to the top is thick with vegetation, which makes the humidity very thick, added with some rain and a hike going up hill made for a long but exciting day.

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    Have you hugged a huge mammoth tree today? Thanks for the oxygen!

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    It's weird to see the roots of many of the trees above ground holding the tree up.

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    We're in the clouds now.

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    We made it to the mouth of the volcano.

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    We continue to the top to see if there might be a better view.

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    There isn't, can't see a thing.

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    So we head back down.

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    Getting hungry, we figure now's a good time to eat that mango the lost driver had given us. Peel the outer skin off with your teeth to unveil the goodness.

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    Look at the size of the hunger pain in her eyes. This thing is huge and tasty.

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    She's much happier now.

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    We make it back to the bike before it gets too dark and head out looking for a place to stay. The road leads us to the outskirts of San Jose in the Coca Cola district. We had read that you don't want to be here, as this is where some get the training to be well-skilled pick-pockets. We try to find our way out, as it's dark and raining. We ended up in the town of San Jose and try to find the Best Western that we had seen on the road. This proved to be a problem for us. Every road we took seemed to be the wrong one leading us away from safety. It's Friday night and the youth are out in full force. We saw a guy almost get run over on his motorcycle, their argument didn't last long though. At this point I'm nervous, there's no lines on the roads to show the lanes. It's wet, slippery, no signs, and dirty, I can't see where I want to be, and it's raining harder.

    If you wanted to test your relationship skills with your wife or significant other, this is the place to go. (incidentally, we're still together).

    On the 3rd attempt at getting directions, it is important to use the right words.
    Landmarks are very important in finding places, especially in San Jose. We found the magic word. "Denny's". Tico's love fast food and were fortunate enough that we spotted the Denny's right next to the Best Western.
    4 1/2 hours of being lost, from the mountains outside of town to our beds next to Denny's, we decide to call this place home for the next 2 days before flying out. It worked out well to relax and do some much needed souvenir shopping, getting off the hard narrow seat of the DR will help the healing of our sore butts before flying out.

    The bike gets returned.

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    And we relax, knowing that on Monday the alarm clocks will go off at 4:30 and have to be to work by 6. The short lived transformation will be missed.

    A parting shot of the mountains overlooking San Jose.

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    #25
  6. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    159
    Location:
    Costa Rica -
    What a great review, awesome pics ! I think you guys went to the right places.. great choice ! you even went visiting places I haven't met yet ..

    Thanks for sharing ! :freaky
    #26
  7. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for your input. Your a lucky man to be able to live there, can't wait to go back.
    #27