COSTA RICA

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DAY 485 RIVAS NICARAUGA – BOLANOS (COSTA RICA)

START 7:00 FINISH 14:30 (01/07/16)

DISTANCE 71KM RIDE TIME 4H49

It was a pleasant enough stay with the Bomberios. I had about zero interaction with them. They were rather cold. I got up this morning at 5:30am and left pretty much straight away. I went to the park to eat my breakfast and to use the free WiFi. I ended up staying till 7am while I waited for the rain to stop. I was hoping it would clear. It ended up raining on and off all day. There was no avoiding not getting wet.

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I headed off to the Border 38km away. Along the way cycling close to the edge of Lake Nicaragua and through a big wind farm. It was $3 to get out and the crossing went smoothly. Coming out the other side the place was a swarming with Africans from Nigeria and Ghana. Spoke to one guy who had flown to Brazil from Nigeria and was making his way to the United States. At present they are been blocked at the border with Nicaragua. I saw a big makeshift migrant camp for them all.

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First impressions of Costa Rica. The roads are better in Nicaragua. It is wet and dreary. It was dark all day and this place is expensive. Some things 30 – 50 % more then Nicaragua. Wished I had stocked up a bit more. When I got to La Cruz I could see the Pacific ocean again for the first time since Honduras. I cycled on for a few more km

after 70km the rain was really coming down. I sort refuge in a bus shelter. By this time completely drenched. A local came passed and said hello…………on his way back the second time.

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I stopped him and asked for somewhere to camp. He has very kindly taken me back to his house and I have put my tent up under the cover of his front porch. Carlos and his wife left after only 30mins of my arrival. They have gone to the hospital to see their daughter and new grand daughter who has just been born.

DAY 486 BOLANOS – LIBERIA

START 7:00 FINISH 09:40 (02/07/ 16)

DISTANCE 42KM RIDE TIME 2H12

I was thankfuly to have been able to camp on Carlos and his familys porch becouse it continued to rain in the night. It was still raining in the morning when I set off. I got drenched………at least it wasn’t cold.

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 It was all jungle for about 25km as I cycled pass the Santa Rosa National Park. Once the park ended I came down out of the mountains , the sun came out and it just became farmland. I stopped just short of Liberia at Rancho Curubande Lodge. My friend Danielle has come down from San Diego for the long weekend and we are going to use it as a base to explore the National Park and we are not far from the Coast either.

DAY 487- 489 LIBERIA REST DAYS.

The National park opens at 7am and closes at 3pm. So our 10:30am departure from the Ranch was a bit late for the NP today. So Instead we caught a bus into town From the big bus station we got another bus to take us the 1 hour to Playa Panama about 60km away. Surprising the bus was only $1.40 each way. It was a bit mountains to get down to the coast. Panama Beach was in a nice big protected bay. There were two small resorts and nothing else. In front of the resorts was a green park with lots of trees and shade and then the beach. There were more locals then tourists on the beach.

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Danielle Brought the snorkel gear down, so we went out for a look. Saw a small school of fish and that was about it.

Monday the NP was closed so we stayed on the ranch walking the whole 300 hectors which included a stop at the river. Was hoping to see some animals……had no luck.

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday We drove the 20km up to the Rincun De La Vieja National

park. $15 to get in. $2 for locals. From the entrance there is a 3km, 3 hour loop walk. There was so much to see we turned it into 5 hours. The park is popular for it native beauty. As we walked the loop we stopped at steam vents. Mud pools. Normal Hot pools. At 106 degrees……….to hot for bathing.

The wild life was just as good. We came across a 2,4 meter Bird Snake passing through the trees right next to the track.

And at one of the hot pools a Anteater came out. This is a pretty rare sight because they are normally nocturnal. We all so saw Howler Monkey’s, Coatis, Guauga’s and some birds. So it turned out to be a pretty successfully day.

 

It’s pretty hot and humid here with a temp in the high 30’s. I have been feeling a little under the weather after cycling through the rain for a couple of days. The last few days I have been making the most of the hot water by taking really hot showers to warm my self up. Believe it or not I have been feeling cold. Unfortunately the hot showers have trigged a major heat rash all over my body. Its not pretty to look at. Side effect is you itch all over. So its not real pleasant

DAY 490 LIBERIA-CANAS

START 11:25 FINISH 16:00 (06/07/16)

DISTANCE 50KM RIDE TIME 2H56

Had a late cheek out from the Ranch and didn’t get on the road till 11:30am. Right in the heat of the day. I am not 100 % and I struggled. I was cycling straight in to a heed wind and that was wearing us down. To make matters worse. The bike has developed a problem with a wobbly back wheal. So I am currently limping along. I need a bike shop to fix it. I don’t know how many hundreds of km it will be before I see the next bike shop. Liberia was a reasonable size and I never saw a bike shop.

My day didn’t get any better. Shortly after lunch I got a puncher. Stopped and fixed it and less then another 2km down the road the patch had failed. I was aiming for La Pumas, which was only 50km from Liberia and i

t was proving a struggle to reach. When I arrived I was exhausted. I have lost my apatite. Couldn’t eat my dinner. Las Pumas is a foundation running a rescue centre for Big Cats. They let cyclists camp for free next to the Restaurant.

 

DAY 491 CANAS – EL ROBLE

START 8:30 FINISH 17:00 (07/07/16)

DISTANCE 85KM RIDE TIME 5H58

We had a bit of a rain delay while I waited for a thunder Storm to clear. I set off in a light drizzle.

I have a saying………..It will always work its self out. Twice today that was true. Once in the Morning and again just before dark.

When I got to Canas I was happy to have been able to find a bike shop. Even happier when they were able to fix my back Wheal for only $5 It continued to drizzle up to lunch time. Wasn’t to good for my flu………I pushed on. In the afternoon the Police of the time they stopped me at a cheek point and demanded my documents………..caught me by surprise become 99 % of the time they just wave you through. Todays road is the worse road I have been on in Central America. For the main Highway in Costa Rica it is a joke. Two lanes with no shoulder and a lot of traffic

Finding place to sleep is a little more difficult in Costa Rica because the Bomberios are out. Unfortunately they have had a directive not to except any cyclist following an incident with a cyclist involving drugs. So thanks to some idiot he has stuffed it up for every body else. It was getting late and I was looking for a place to camp preferable under cover. I approached a local family who were sitting out side and who’s property ran on to the beach. I started by first asking if I could camp on the beach in front of there property and they said I could. But it was dangerous.

So I asked if I could camp in there back yard and they said no because the owner wasn’t there. So it wasn’t possible. It wasn’t looking good and I got moving. Just a few hounded meters down the road a local guy stopped me. He was out there. Very surfie and dope smoking looking. Spoke good English. He said he had a friend who’s yard I could came in. On the small road towards the beach An American guy said hello…………..I was very direct and said straight out. How about putting me up for the night. Our conversation went well and he said looks like I better host you then. I was very grateful to Craig from La who has been down here for 42 years. I didn’t even have to put up my tent. I was able to sleep in one of his Cobanas.

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Craig’s property backs on to the beach and sat out in the back yard cooking my dinner while watching the sunset.

DAY 492 EL ROBLE- HERMOSA

START 7:00 FINISH 16:00 (08/07/16)

DISTANCE 68KM RIDE TIME 4H50

I was again plagued with problems this morning with yet another flat tyre. The puncher was in the same place as Wednesdays puncher. Meaning there was something possible wrong with the Rim. So the aim is to find another bike shop and change the rim tape.

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I came up to a bridge and there were a lot of people looking over the edge. I stopped to look and what I saw was a lot of very big looking crocodile sunning on the edge of the river bank and a whole lot more swimming in the water.

Ran into another cyclist today Josph is from Brizal and on his way to Alaska. He had some helpful information

When I got to Jaco I found a bike shop and it only cost 1$ to have the tape changed

Was thinking to stay in Jaco……a real tourist town with a nice beach. I asked at the Red Cross. But was denied. So I cycled out of town while on the look out for a camping spot. I saw a zip line adventure park and stopped and asked if I could camp. After a call to the boss. I got permission to camp underneath the office

DAY 493 HERMOSA – UVITA

START 7:00 FINISH 15:00 (09/07/16)

DISTANCE 123KM RIDE TIME 6H24

5am a huge thunder storm erupted. It was nice to listen to it from my dry cover.

By 7am it had cleared. I am still having trouble eating. It’s a slower then normal process. Fearing a banana, a yogurt and some muesli is not enough to get me through the day. I stopped after 10km at a restaurant. Rice, chicken and fried Banna……..it was a struggle to eat that as well. Lucky the road was pretty flat today partly along the coast and a little in land. I raced along and by 3pm I had done 123km. I was knacked.

I arrived in Uvita. Place was full of tourists. I asked a guy if there was any where to camp. He said hang on I will ask my friend. He has lived here for 20 years. Patrice was from Germany. He was pretty out there with bare feet, no shirt, long hair and a beard and he talked about energy and some other funny stuff. He said it was to dangerous to camp on the beach with to many thief’s about. I asked about the hostel and then he said I could camp on his ranch opposite the waterfall and near the hostel.

So I said ok that would be great. It was only 1.5km away. First he was off to the beach and did I want to go and hang out there for a while. I left my bike out the front of the supermarket and Patrice asked the guys inside to keep an eye on it.

 

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It was 5km to the beach. It’s a national park so you normally have to pay $6 Been a local he just drove straight in. We went through the bush a little way before coming across a little tent village where some locals were living. Patrice said he was going to hang out with the old man and I could go and have a swim. The water was warm. I had a little swim and then a sleep under some mango trees. I was keen to rest as much as possible. I woke up when the tide was getting close and wounded back to the camp. Patrice had gone………I asked where and they said his Casa. So I started walking back to town. I got blimmin lost and it started to get dark. I wasn’t impressed. I had left my cycling shorts and shirt in Patrice 4×4 so I had to find him and I was wasting energy on a 5km walk. I just got back to the supermarket and my bike when Patrice turned up. He said he had told the old man to tell me to wait and he was going to come back and get me on his motor bike. Any way he had to do a few things and gave me directions to find his place.

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When I got there. It was a big property with plants growing everywhere. His ranch is two storeys, very modern. Tiled flours. completely open on the ground flour. I didn’t go in. started by cooking some dinner under the lean too. Patrice turned up soon after and soon after that he was running around naked………..oh boy he’s one of those back to nature people. I just carried on carmly doing what I was doing. Patrice’s bed was on the ground flour and he lay on that naked while surrounded by candles and his meditation music.

All a bit weird…….them to there own.

The only real shelter was under the Ranch. No room on the flour to camp so I took the hammock option.

DAY 494 UVITA – RIO CLARO

START 7:00 FINISH 16:15 (10/07/16)

DISTANCE 106KM RIDE TIME 6H12

For a change it didn’t rain in the night. It was very nice and cool in the Hamak. I had a Humming bird come and visit. The forest was alive with the awaking of chirping birds

I got up at 6am Patrice was up. We had a very quick conversation. He explained Sunday was his no talking day and he didn’t want to be disturb. He wished me good luck and that was about it. I packed up had some breakfast and I was off.

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By 12pm I had cycled 70km and it was getting very hot. I had come away from the coast. Then at 1pm the rain came. I waited it out at the gas station and then made the mistake of 1.5km down the road cycling straight into it. To avoid getting drenched I saw a restaurant so headed for that. When I got there were already some young guys waiting out the rain as well. The restaurant was closed. I lay down and had a sleep on a bench seat. When I woke up the guys had gone. I cycled on having to have one more rain stop. At 3pm it was very dark and I was keen to find somewhere safe for the night. I tried a bar with no luck, said the next town was 4km away. So I cycled on as quick as I could. Came across a bit of a Rodeo right on the side of the road. The competition was to race down the track and with a small dagger sque a small object hanging from a line.

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When I arrived in Rio Claro. I stopped at the first hotel thinking I better find out the cost just in case. I told them I was looking for somewhere to camp. They said I could came round the back under a tree. First time in a long time I have had to camp in the open. Only had some light rain so it was alright. They kindly opened up a room so I could have a shower and there was internet as a bonus as well.

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DAY 495 RIO CLARO COSTA RICA- DAVID PANAMA

START 06:15 FINISH 13:00 (11/07/16)

I had a good 35km run out to the border. Arrived nice and early. Then all the &%$££ starts. There are no signs. You just have to go with your instant. Got in the queue for exit. Get to the front and handed a piece of paper. Told to fill it out and go and pay the $7 Gringo tax in the yellow house. Went off and paid the Gringo tax plus an extra $1 for processing. What a crock of %££$. Then had to get back in a queue that was 10 times longer. Only one window open. Can’t get to upset………have to remember where I am. Needed a break so before going to the Panama side I went to a restaurant to spend my last $5 Its crazy I could have just gone straight into Panama and not even paid the gringo tax and no one would have said anything. The grief wouldn’t be worth it when I tried to leave Panama. Got to the Panama side and again no signs except in English Tourist office. I called in and asked the direction for customs and the lady said You need a photo copy of your bank statement showing $500 and a return flight. That certainly didn’t put a smile on my face and I walked out with out getting any other worth while tourist information. I had herd of the plane ticket……..so it wasn’t a complete surprise. I picked my customs office wisely. Turned up at the window very cherry. The young guy was great, we talked about my trip and he didn’t even mention a word about a ticket or money and I was happily on my way. Glad to be out of Costa Rica. It’s not one of the Central American countries I would recommend. It is over priced and you get the impression they think they are better that all the other Central American countries……..well there not. I did still meet some very kind and nice people. Over all it wasn’t enough to sway me.

I am now 530km away from Panama city and I am keen to get there as soon as possible. I have my boat to catch on the 23rd July. Would like a few days before hand to cheek out the city. I pushed on for another 50km in the heat of the day. I got to David at 1pm and that was enough. I got the run around. After finding the Bomberios, they turned me away sending me to Protection Civil. When I found them they said it wasn’t possible, but to try the Red Cross. 3rd time lucky they said I could camp. In the end they had by far the best fertilities. Just as well I was able to camp under cover because there was a huge storm around 6pm and it flooded all the streets. I worry for the time I am going to get caught out in it.

Made a trip to the supper99 supermarket. So much more cheaper then Costa Rica and so much more better variety. I was spolit. I did the Snickers test. 95 cents. 35 % cheaper then Costa Rica.

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