Costa Rica advice

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by whizzerwheel, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,073
    Location:
    Palmer Station, Antarctica
    Just in my recent experience of driving through CR for ten days or so, I found it quite surprising that so many people wanted to speak English with me.

    I was still in my Mexico and Guatemala mode of all-Spanish, all the time. ASATT? Sounds like asshat. Nonetheless, I digress.

    Some Spanish will definitely help, wherever you are. But, in CR it seems especially easy to get by with English.
    #21
  2. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Sandy Beaches in Alabama!
    PunkinHead: Tienen un gran viaje. Fotos, necesita fotos.

    To all riders wanting to visit Costa Rica. This is most probalby the best country to visit with limited spanish skills. The country has done a great job of leanrning basic English and everywhere you go somebody (mostly the under 30 age group) will be able to converse with you. Don't worry about it. GO! RIDE! ENJOY!

    BeachGuy
    #22
  3. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,659
    Location:
    Land of Walmart Shoppers
    Tico from Advrider met up with us today while we were picking up the bike. We had a nice ride to Volcano Irazú. Tomorrow we plan to get an early start and head for Arenal. Hopefully the bike will cooperate - the starter made some nasty noises when we left the restaurant tonight. Hopefully we´ll be at the top of a hill if it gives up the ghost. :D

    Bruce: You don´t need to know Spanish to enjoy Costa Rica and get around. Of course, it´s always a good idea to know the polite phrases in any language (hello, please, thank you, etc) but you´ll always find someone in a hotel or restaurant who speaks English. There are other threads here on Advrider about learning Spanish and it definately improves a trip to know some of the local language.
    #23
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    37,048
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    our family is heading to CR for 18 days over christmas. we're renting a suv from wild rider. our itin is
    -monteverde >
    -arenal >
    -puerto viejo (caribean, think jamaica) >
    -central valley s. of san jose >
    -manuel antonio area>
    #24
  5. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,811
    Location:
    Off the map,
    Just got back from here, nice place but WAY TOO MUCH FOREIGN (read AMERICAN) INFLUENCE. Quepos is building a new marina and all the locals I spoke to were concerned with the rise of crime it'll bring. It seems that much of the culture and cheaper prices are being lost by the influx of gringo money.

    Other than that, the people were great, In Quepos, just prior to it actually, go down the road to Puerto Real on the backside of Isle Madame, there is a restaurant that opens in the afternoon called Restaurente Cayuga. Make sure you go there, get the shrimp fried rice and a coca-batido.....oh god I miss that place.

    Manual Antonio is nice, be sure to get a guide, I'm a naturalist, and I did not see half of the things they saw. Also stay away from the poison apples and watch out for the damn raccoons who will steal ANYTHING.

    PM for more info!!!


    Also, if you want to treat yourself, check out Rafiki wilderness lodge. http://www.rafikisafari.com/ Constant, the owner is a great and VERY interesting guy.
    #25
  6. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Sandy Beaches in Alabama!
    UnitedLoyalist “WAY TOO MUCH FOREIGN (read AMERICAN) INFLUENCE”
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    We the dual citizens of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> appreciate your money.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    After 20 years of Tourist from all over the world enjoying our beautiful country and Tico’s bowing to all the complaining tourist from North America (that’s <st1:country-region w:st="on">Canada</st1:country-region> and the <st1:country-region w:st="on">US</st1:country-region>) and <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place> we are greatly appreciative of your money and figure that one or two more complaining tourist is not enough to worry over. The non complaining tourists are always welcome.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    From your post is seems that you don’t know which one you are! What great influence did you bring that we are lacking, other than your gringo dollars.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Enquiring minds want to know.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    BeachGuy<o:p></o:p>
    #26
  7. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    Well I am dual-national US/CR also. I think there is too much Gringo influence, so money be damned. The tourists don't drive me nuts as much as the expat communities. Look at what's happened to Paseo Colon. The place has been ruined. Only a few old houses left. My aunt's old house had its facade ripped down and is now a Sherwin-Williams paint store. I guess I like the good old days when the plane would land at La Sabana and we would walk from there down to my aunt's house on Paseo Colon. The luggage would follow later - one time even by oxcart!

    Well at least some places like Grecia still have the old charm. Se la vie.
    #27
  8. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,811
    Location:
    Off the map,
    Well sir,
    I had no influence, just listened and saw the problems that CR has and should correct before they lose what little culture they currently have. CR is a beautiful country with many proud warm people. It is a shame the expats and what is happening.....

    BTW, I kicked your font down to a more humble size....perhaps you should think about whats going on instead of getting all defensive

    #28
  9. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    Indeed. Take Alajuela for instance. Once one of the most beautiful towns in CR. Now in the late morning these asqueroso Gringo trash expat old fart men gather in the park. They talk about the wives they have abandoned, the cost of Viagra, and their young chica, puta girlfriends. Some of them are still drunk from last night's drinking binge. Many CR citizens have complained about them and similar in other parts of the country. There has been somewhat of a backlash and I welcome it.

    Other Gringo crap has floated into the country as well, like abolishing Catholicism as the official religion of the country, gay marriage, etc. Most of this creeps its way in from the politics of the Gringo expat crowd. No wonder the US is in trouble diplomatically, too much of trying to export its culture under the disguise of "enlightenment" to the rest of the world.
    #29
  10. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Sandy Beaches in Alabama!
    Not wanting to Highjack &#8220;whizzerwheel&#8221; tread on taking a vacation to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:place></st1:country-region>, I will let this one this go.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Sorry if I vented on somebody&#8217;s earlier post. Not the place for politics, religion or the best or perfect bike to ride.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Large fonts are for people with difficulty reading minuscule type. Some folks see larger type much easier. Comes with age.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    BeachGuy<o:p></o:p>
    #30
  11. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,811
    Location:
    Off the map,
    No worries man, just figured I would mention that if we do tread in these countries, be it CR or Bolivia, we should not just view it as a vacationland, but also as an opportunity to help someone out and be a decent person. Just don't party and screw while tossing some gringo dollars around and expect people to embrace you.
    I will be back in CR, probably flying in to learn some spanish and volunteer at the Manual Antonio park or something.


    #31
  12. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    :thumb


    Now I am confused. You said you were a dual-citizen, so why do you need Spanish lessons? Unless your duality is from Limon. Are you a dual-citizen by jus soli or jus sanguinis? :huh
    #32
  13. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,811
    Location:
    Off the map,
    Um??? No I didn't, check back though my original posts....beach guy is, perhaps you mistook his post for me?
    #33
  14. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    Yep, my bad :huh Anyways good post on the behavior stuff :thumb and good luck with the Spanish and the volunteer work.
    #34
  15. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,073
    Location:
    Palmer Station, Antarctica
    I crossed out of CR and into Nicaragua today.

    Only took 2.5 hours instead of the 5 that it took going down. Didn't lose power to the "Technobus" at Penas Blancas, this time.

    CR was fun. Don't get caught at a sloth crossing.

    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Nanaimo, B.C.
    I'm ready to book a bike.

    Just wondering how your experience was? We will be two up, so looking at the KTM's, the seat doesn't look as comfortable as the Aprila 650, but I've never ridden either.

    Also, what was the company like you dealt with?

    Any other info you think might be helpful, please pass along. Were doing a trip much like yours.

    Thanks
    #36
  17. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,659
    Location:
    Land of Walmart Shoppers
    We just got back last night. I'll post a full ride report in the next couple days.

    Last year a friend and I used KTM 640s through Costa Rican Trails. One of the bikes broke down (I think it lost a coil) and we lost a day waiting for a replacement. Can't really blame them for that since a dead coil isn't a sign of poor maintenance - it's just one of those things. The one I was riding and my friend's replacement both used a lot of oil, but otherwise ran fine. When I say a lot, I mean 1/2 quart per 100-150 miles. The soft luggage had two saddle bags, a huge tail bag, and a huge tank bag so there was lots of room. The straps ran across the passenger seat and I think both the bags and straps would interfere with a passenger's comfort. They booked all our rooms and laid out the route. I have to say that both the route and rooms were excellent but as I mentioned above, I don't like traveling with an itinerary. The hotels were very nice, but were touristy places full of loud, fat, whiney American tourists, which is something I really try to avoid when traveling. Our e-mail conversations leading up to the trip were in English, but once we got to the office nobody spoke English. When the bike died we couldn't get anyone on the phone who spoke English. I speak enough Spanish to get by so I didn't mind, but that might be stressful for someone with no Spanish language experience.

    This trip my wife and I rented a DR650 from Wild Rider and rode 2-up. Dealing with them was a pleasure. When we picked up the bike Thorsten spent an hour with a map and a highlighter giving us route suggestions, telling us which roads were closed, and suggesting hotels. The bike ran fine and didn't use a drop of oil. I had to replace a tail light bulb, which is easily found at any gas station. Also, the clutch interlock switch was intermittent and sometimes I'd have to pump the clutch a few times before the starter would engage. I had to push start it once. If I'd have had to push it again I would have jumpered around the switch. Personally, I've jumpered around the clutch interlock on every dual sport I've ever owned and I think it's something Wild Rider should do - it's an unecessary point of failure. The bike had a huge home made tail rack that you could bungee a large duffle bag to. A large WATERPROOF duffle bag.

    If I were doing it again I'd go with Wild Rider. They're easy to work with and very helpful. Also, I've never owned a KTM but have owned several Suzukis, so I was in my comfort zone with the DR650. I knew there was very little on the bike I couldn't fix if necessary and that knowledge helps lower the stress level. Whatever bike you rent, consider taking some kind of seat pad if you'll be carrying a passenger. Solo is no problem for 200-250 miles/day, but anything over 100 miles on the stock seat with a passenger is torture because you've got no room to move around.
    #37
  18. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    #38
  19. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Unimaginative Lab Rat Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,597
    Location:
    Settled In
    We haven't gone yet. Leaving on Dec 1-9. We have booked a DR650 for two up through wild-rider. So far Thorsten has been very helpful with hotel and route suggestions. We will get more serious about actual route when we get there. Just trying to figure out the high points to hit. I usually try to do too much in too little time. Really gonna try not to do that this time. I'll try to be a good guy and do a ride report when I get back...been a chicken and never done one up to this point. My bad again.
    #39
  20. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Nanaimo, B.C.
    Thanks guys, guess I was a little confused, who was coming whose going, but the info was great PunkinHead, and I'll look forward to any info you care to share Whizzerwheel.

    I think I'll book this week with wild rider since that seems to be the place of choice.

    Now I just need to plan a couple routes, and I have a map on the way.

    thanks again
    #40