Writing on Monday, May 31st…I am currently at hostel Bruja in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Lonely Planet had a few listed. I spent a long time trying to find the first. Various attempts at asking for directions revealed that LP’s new hostel on the block may have already closed its doors. I found the Bottle of Milk hostel (English translation) and the attendant said that the bike had to be parked on the street!!! While the place wasn’t large, there would have been room inside of the fence — I felt that he didn’t want to give me the time of day — so adios. The next place didn’t answer the buzzer, and the next place, is where I am at. Admittedly, while initial curious by the name but slightly put off in its cottage-like appearance (lack of lock up, etc.) I passed it by the first couple times. Having settled in, I now see that the place has plenty of charm and the people, both guests, and owner and whomever the other people are, are nice and friendly and somewhat quirky. This is just fine with me. I arrived soaked in sweat wearing a white quick dry shirt stained nearly to beige. Surely passing as a trans-Americas ruffian (via moto) allows access into this eclectic zone. Given that the lady who runs the place says that I am already “family” — I guess I am correctomundo. Its interesting. The showers aren’t great but a luke warm shower was very much welcome. There seems to be a myriad of pets around. I was instructed not to pet the big dog as he will bite. I have my own little cabana — its a little musty and I will be using my sleeping bag liner — but its all mine and I can hear the buzz of the crickets and the alarm of my bike if it amounts to that.
Costa Rica so far is a strange place to me. I’m not sure what to make of it. Pretty much the rest of Central America seemed to make sense to me. I am not exactly sure what I am trying to say yet. Mostly the other countries came as no surprise. This is to say I was of in wonderment, but it all made sense. Even Mexico, with its many faces, was digestible. CR on the other hand — well, I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet.
The border sucked. And apparently somewhere between the Nicaraguan exit and Costa Rican entrance some little shit managed to steal my flip flops from under my steel net. I am not surprised that they got at them — but yummmm — very used flip flops. The border also took two sets of transitadors. It took a while to exit and even longer to enter. That said, there were literally several kilometers of parked tractor trailers which seemed to be waiting for the border — not sure what was up with that — but I am glad I wasn’t in that line. Interesting note if you are reading this and are a trucker driver. Need to have a nap??? Just sling an hammock under your trailer the Central Americans do and all is well.
Having cleared the border I noticed how lush CR is. This was welcome. Shortly into the ride I began to notice how commercial and built of CR is. I heard this about CR but I really didn’t know what to expect. This is coming from someone who has been to Cuba some 10 times or more. Cuba, for me, was my bench mark for Central America and the Caribbean rightly or wrongly. The paved roads in CR so far have been very good. Some of the hardpack dirt roads have been Ok butt corrugated. That said, when you get into some of the beach towns — like where I am staying — the dirt roads are terrible. They are pocked and pitted. My bike is happy enough riding around (preferably in standing position) but I would wasn’t to take a car through here.
Before I arrived where I am, I had looked at closer beach with a B&B but took a pass figuring I could follow the route on my high definition map. This didn’t work out so well and I found myself in some fairly back wood areas but it was not a loss at all. I had went from asphalt, to hard pack dirt, and later red earth dual track. It seemed that I was following the map but I question this. I rather large mud crossing inspired me to turn around but during this side trip I found my way to what I believe is some sort of eco-tour area. I would say that this was a little rain forest canopy above me and having pulled over to photograph a fantastic looking veinous tree with veins I found that some sort of simian was present in the tree branches. I couldn’t tell you what sort of monkey type thing they were but they were definitely visibly up there making some noise. Near by something else was grunting like a boar or something — I have not idea what that was.
While I don’t love riding around at night looking for place to stay, in this case it was quite worth it. My previous night was spent in a nice little hostel in Grenada, Nicaragua. The first place could but wouldn’t take bikes. The offer to store my bike at the local fire station wasn’t appealing. While being pointed all over the place I found another place across the street — which really wasn’t when you factor in that most of the streets are one way and I have to circumnavigate the block to go back several buildings. The Hostel Libertad took me in no problem. I had a massive room with a massive room with a big bed in the middle of the room. This was useful as it allowed me to do a re-pack. I also took care of replacing my badly work rear brake pads. This place must have been some colonial home based on the layout with a court yard and and kitchen and laundry area. It had a type concrete sink that had the washboard built in. I had to wash pretty much all of my active clothes by this point and that I did.
Grenada is a nice little town. I arrived in Granada having done a fairly straight forward Honduras to Nicaragua crossing. The Honduras side was, again, rough. The Nicaraguan had slightly more professions that the last couple of borders. I wish I could offer more to say about Nicaragua but for the most part it was pouring rain on the way in and rather foggy at times — as in I was running my HID lights and going some 30 – 40 kilometers and hour — max. The next day, having headed further towards CR, Nicaragua really started to shine. Upon direct exit of Grenada, I found myself under a highway canopy of tress that were very picturesque in the new found sun. Later on, having made a wrong turn, I turned around to find a volcano that was more than a little bit obvious. Shortly after two volcanoes revealed themselves on an island in the middle of Lago Nicaragua. Speaking of volcanoes, while it seems that I mostly dodges the volcano eruption in Guatemala City, I apparently also dodged a major hurricane that past through Guatemala and later Belize — the number of casualties is significant.
That’s it for now…and more to come soon.