Day 21/23

Morning

This morning it is finally dry. Around 05:00 hours I hear some screams in the trees, but it is very difficult to wake up. I feel the walking and climbing of the past few days through the rain, in my legs. At 07:00 I kick myself out of the bed for breakfast. Hereafter I start looking again for that little road to the beach. The first road I find seems to be private, so most probably it will be the third? I descend the first part, but this is also a difficult road to negotiate, full with boulders and holes. Driving has go slowly here. A couple of times I doubt whether or not to continue and scout the terrain walking before driving. I have to be very careful here, because the car gets stuck before you know it. The road splits a couple of times and every time both forks seem to end up in a private road. A bit frustrated I turn around and return to the lodge.

There I ask again and it seems that I was right after all. Straight ahead and keep driving. Yeah, for them it most probably is like going straight ahead because they go there every day, but for me it’s left or right. I get all my stuff and check out. It makes not a lot of sense to stay here. Maybe Manuel Antonio National Park might offer some nice possibilities.

At the first river, the road is blocked by a truck in the middle of the water, that has lost a tire. This can take a while. After waiting for some time I decide to give the beach another try. I drive back and descend, but a whole lot further down than before. ‘Go between two concrete pillars’ he told me, and these I see. ‘Cross a river’, yep found it. ‘Then it becomes a lot worse’, damn right it does. It seems like I am driving through a river bed. There is no road anymore. Again I leave the car to check things out before driving.

Strange is that things look quite ok when walking, but this changes when I step into the car. After a while I encounter a couple of surfers and they confirm that this is the road to the beach and that it is very close by.

I continue for a while up to a point where I do not want to continue. Too much risk to get into trouble. Sometimes I drive with one wheel over a big boulder to stay clear of the ground and the car slides away from it sideways. It’s fine. I can hear the sea but no Macaws, what it was all about. I can leave the car here and continue on foot, because I don’t think it will be very far, but now I do have all the luggage in the car and it is strongly advised against leaving it there.

Here it stops and I will leave without photographs of Scarlet Macaws. When so many barriers are thrown in front of you for a photograph, it’s better to let it go. I keep this for the next time. Then I will walk to the beach. Something I am not in for, after those heavy last days (couple of 100 meters down and back up again).

All in one piece we (the car and I) arrive back at the turnoff. These last days I got quite a lot experience with driving on rough terrain. Finding the best routes has become much easier. What I do not know yet is where the boundary is for driving through water concerning depth, riverbed and waterspeed.

The truck has left the river in the mean time, so now I can proceed. After a while I am back at the main road. Here I fill up the tank and head of north. It has started raining again.

Afternoon

The road along the coast is quite boring. Driving for hours with 80 kilometers per hour. The ocean is almost never visible. Once I notice a sign of a well known motel chain and take the turnoff. Within a couple of minutes I find my self in a hilly landscape full with ragged sheds: corrugated iron and wood. Back at home this wouldn’t even be sheds, but I think that these are supposed to be houses overhere. In the middle of the landscape there is a colorless motel surrounded by a fence. Ok, nice try, but I am not going to stay here.

The next opportunity will be the Best Western in Quepos to get to Manuel Antonio National Park tomorrow morning at 07:00. Quepos is described as hazardous for visitors and so it seems when I enter the city. People are poor here and especially in Quepos they like to steel things. It feels like I am driving through a ghetto. Lots of weird people on the street, just like in that other town a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it’s because of the weekend, but it doesn’t feel right. Not unsafe, but just not nice. I definitely do not feel like walking around here. I don’t see the motel, so I continue.

After a while I am becoming a bit fed up with it. I am already 6 hours confined to my car. The next town is Jaco, another ‘nice’ place according to Lonely Planet. The atmosphere is different here: super touristic. Lots of shops selling junk (-; I drive through town for a while, but this also doesn’t feel good. Better to go on. There is still a couple of hours daylight left. If nothing else I continue to the airport and find myself a large motel overthere.

A couple of kilometers further I suddenly see a sign for a Marriott motel. This could be it. Maybe a bit to expensive but definitely worth a try. The motel is situated in a large area surrounded by a fence. Most definitely there will be a good reason for that. I have to pass two gates and at the second one I am being registered. They have enough rooms available and everything looks very nice. A bit distinguished even. A couple of those dressed up peacocks are parading and a woman is playing a violin. Here I am entering with my fungy clothes, dirty photo backpack and a sourish smell around me (-; The only thing missing is a cloud of flies and muddy food prints behind me. A bit funny actually, nice contrast. They say nothing about it. Passport and credit card do wonders.

There is really fungy on my clothes. Visiting the south of Costa Rica should be reserved for the last part of a trip. Nothing dries here anymore, everything stays wet and smells. Even my photo backpack is completely wet on the outside and smells sourishly. I had the worst set of clothes cleaned a couple of days ago. They look allright now and I keep those clean for the flight back, but the wet set I wore the last few days smells badly. The other dry set I am wearing currently is full with grey spots. Leaves rot here completely away within two days. A whole tree only takes 2 months leaving close to nothing. Clothes they like as well apparently.

So far for they fungy intermezzo. Prices are firm here but not over the top. This one will have to do. I will be able to take it easy tomorrow, with only 100 kilometers remaining. The only thing left to see is the Tarcoles river. There are the crocodiles. That hint I got in Palo Verde National Park and I had read about it before in the Lonely Planet. It seems you can see them from the bridge.

I will return the car tomorrow instead of on monday morning. They can arrange a cab to the airport for me in the motel. The parks in this neighborhood are all a bit more risky. In Carara National Park (Scarlet Macaws) and Braulio Carrillo National Park (Jungle) there have been armed robberies on the trails because they are so close to San José. Poas Volcano National Park that I have visited on the first day, could be a possibility but if I have a look at the sky here I know what things will be like overthere.

It is fine. I reserved a day for the case that the rivers would be too high to cross and now I have it available. In hindside I had beter gone to Wilson Botanical Garden today, beautiful gardens with a lodge somewhere in the south. But I forgot to think about it. Advantage now is that I do not have much to do tomorrow. So, an easy day, that will be good for a change.

Evening

Just now someone knocks on the door. When I open it I see a roomlady with a big handcart that gives me a hand full of chocolatitas. These are very welcome. And whether I do need some more towels. More? I already have three. Now I do think about it. Have to check the drainage before opening the taps. Wouldn’t be the first time I overflow the hallway.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Costa Rica Dry Season 2011, Day 21

Download the original gpx file here.

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