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Old 12-04-2012, 04:39 PM   #136
RexBuck OP
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Joined: May 2010
Location: Interior BC, Canada
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Nov 29 Into Costa Rica

Headed for the dreaded border with Costa Rica. Stories of mass confusion and complete disorganization reign and, for the most part are true. Sorry, no pics of the border - I'm actually trying to think (not always successfully) as I'm going through this process and completely forget about the camera.

Knew I was getting close to the border when I hit the inevitable line of parked trucks on the highway. About 5 KM worth, just sitting there. A number of the truckers have obviously run low on fuel as you see some of them dumping barrel fuel into their trucks and refer units. I think some of these guys must wait days to get through some of these borders. Motos just go around.

Arrive at the border reasonably early (I think this really helps the process go better) and immediately hit a barrage of money changers and helpers. They are handing me pieces of paper and I’m not sure who is legit – turns out none of them are.

Get to the barrier and the Nica Guard takes the import document (for the bike) I received when I came into the country and signs it. Then ride over to the madhouse of Nica Migracion and Aduana - on your left just before the toll booth looking things.


I was going to try to figure out this morass myself but a huge bunch of Harleys from Costa Rica pull in and I’m thinking I do not want to get caught in line behind this bunch. There was a helper bugging me, seemed like a decent guy so I decided to get this thing expedited.

First step is to find the exit Migración window which is on the opposite side of the building from where you park. Look for “Salida” or just ask someone.

Pay a buck, get a little piece of paper. Helper fills out a form for me. Hustle up to a window, get passport stamped and pay a couple more bucks.

So, I’m out, now have to get my bike out.

Back to the other side of the building. Take the paper you had when you entered and the guy at the gate signed and go find a guy . . . when I was there he had a blue shirt on and is just wandering around. He will sign the paper. Then go find the cop (transito) – was hanging around the same area. Hard to miss him, he was a fat guy pigging out on deep fried plantains and wasn’t about to be interrupted. I just stood there and stared at him and eventually in kind of a huff he takes me inside and stamps my paper.

Great. Now stand in line inside for a lady to make sure you have all your stamps and she stamps more and tells you to go. Done!

Now go over to the Costa Rica side. They will let you through the barrier or, just drive around it. Find a parking place in front of the big Migración building on the left.

Now there are two places you need to find. The first is right inside the barrier and is the Migracion office on the left and a little Aduana office on the right. The second place you will need to find is a group of offices at the end of the truck warehouse. From the Migración office continue along the road following the high fence and then coming to a large opening, go in and follow the large warehouse building with tons of trucks backed in around to the far end. It will be about 250 or 300 yards from the Migración office to these offices.

First step – go in the Migración office and get your passport stamped.

Second step – walk/ride over to the other area and find the insurance office which will say “Seguro . . . something” and is up the big ramp. Buy your insurance. Then go to the copy shop in the same area and get a copy of your insurance and the Costa Rica stamp in your passport. (If you don’t already have copies of your passport/drivers license and bike registration, get those also.)

Third step – Go back to the little Aduana building across from the migración office, the guy will give you an application form of sorts to fill out. Give that back to him with all your originals and the copies. He will type stuff, stamp stuff, staple it all together and hand it back to you.

Fourth step – Hop on your bike and ride back over to the other offices, go up the big ramp and the other Aduana is at the end of the building. Hand the bundle of papers to them, they will type on the computer, stamp stuff and hand you a little tiny slip of paper. No costo! You are done.

Fifth step – Ride away. You will then come to booth on the highway – this guy is like the Maytag Repairman – he’s so bored he’s sitting on the step. His job is to take your little piece of paper and say have a good trip.

Took me a total of 2 hours which I’m sure having the helper on the Nica side sped things up and kept me from having to stand in line behind all those nasty bikers. I've of some people getting stuck in this process for over 4 hours.

I’m in. Had a nice ride down Hwy 1 (Pan American Hwy) and there was a certain familiarity I couldn’t put my finger on. Finally figured it out. Nice roads, pretty nice houses and shops –seemed like I was riding through rural America. Quite a contrast having just traveled in the three poorest countries in Central America to one of the wealthier ones.

Heading towards either Playa Avellanas or Tamiando. Get off on one road that I thought the sign said Playa Avellanas and after my first water crossing then having to ride up a creek for a hundred feet or so, I figured this wasn’t right way to a surf beach so, turned around.
Found Playa Avellanas – few places could have been ok but kept going. Finally got to Playa Negro, found the Playa Negro Café –said they had rooms and wifi. Good enough. Not locked parking but looks fine. Got food right there in the Cafe

Wanted $45 for a room with AC and $35 without. It isn’t particularly hot (low 20s to high 20s) so took the without. Gave it to me for $30 which included breakfast.





Walk down a side road about a km to the Playa Negro Resort. Nice beach – surfing and stuff but not much in the way of waves.





These guys were chasing each other from tree to tree. Kinda interesting colors.





Good dinner at the café.






Woke up to the distinctive sound of Howler Monkeys in the distance. That brought back memories of Palanque.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #137
RexBuck OP
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Nov 30 More Costa Rica

Hoping to make it to DiAndrew further down the coast, supposed to be a cool place in the jungle to hang out for a few days.

Decided to go via the ferry to Puntarenas since I won’t be able to ride a boat to Colombia. Nice quiet ride to the ferry.

Since BC has the largest ferry fleet in the world (It’s even bigger than the Canadian Navy – well I guess a lot of things are), I’m used to traveling on ferries. As usual, the process down here was a bit “different”.

We are all parked in a nice line and eventually an official looking guy, lets call him Card Guy comes around and gives you a card indicating whether you are car, moto or truck. I knew what I was to begin with, but I humor him and take the card clearly marked MOTO. Thanks for the heads up Card Guy. You then walk down to the terminal and give Cashier Guy the card and he sells you the correct ticket. Then Gate Guy appears and opens the gates to let us slowly move in. Gate Guy takes one part of the ticket that allows you to move 25 feet. Then Ramp Guy at the top of the ramp punches the remaining ticket and tells you to hold up. Ramp Guy tells you when you can board. Boat Guy is on the boat and telling people where to park. He radios up to the Ramp Guy and tells him to let another car down – completely parks that car which can take a few minutes before asking for another. They eventually ponderously get everyone on and we are underway. Whew!


Here we are loading.




Not to be outdone by Card Guy, Cashier Guy, Gate Guy, Ramp Guy and Boat Guy, Captain Guy drives the boat. Now, this is not a cruise ship or a container ship but, swear to God, he took 15 minutes to park the frickin boat in it’s slip




All loaded



People are expected to have enough sense not to walk off the front of the boat . . . so we don't need no stinkin chain across there.




Needless to say, I had miscalculated how long the ferry process would be and there was no way I would make it to DiAndrew by nightfall so, decided to stop in Jacó which was a continuation of the very resorty Costa Rica coast.

First road I went down had some spectacular looking resorts – I’m sure the gates alone were worth more than my house so I moved on. Finally went down another street and stopped at the Hotel Jardin, she had a pretty decent room for $40.

The manager recommended a nice seafood restaurant about a kilometer away but it was raining pretty good and I didn't feel like getting soaked so I just went around the corner to the beach bar and ate there. Two things about this bar. When the DJ started singing Karaoke in Spanish . . . badly, I started to eat faster. Then when the drunk Costa Rican girls started singing Karaoke in Spanish . . . even worse, I was inhaling my dinner.

Ya know, I don’t get karaoke – you have to be exceptionally drunk to try to sing it (rarely can anybody actually sing) and the people who aren’t that drunk yet just want to run away. You would think Karaoke people and Bongo people would hang out together and make . . . sounds. I must admit I sang Karaoke once . . . but I was really good!

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:13 AM   #138
Jick Magger
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Rexbuck

I know what you mean about those Bongo people... How about this on your way to work....
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:23 AM   #139
Jick Magger
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Rexbuck

Sounds like you might like this idea ....this is "shocking" karaoke..

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:18 AM   #140
RexBuck OP
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Hey Jick

LOL - That's the way some Karaoke people look by the time they get up to the microphone without the shock therapy

The other people in that subway car don't seem to be enjoying the performance as much as Rasta Guys are. Wonder why?
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:24 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBuck View Post
Hoping to make it to DiAndrew further down the coast, supposed to be a cool place in the jungle to hang out for a few days.

Hey RexBuck,

I've been living in CR for 4 years now, but had never heard about Rancho DiAndrew in Uvita - looks like a cool place. I'll definitely check it out one of those weekends.

I just came a across your RR - I'll definitely sit down with a cold beverage on the patio and catch up shortly. Always interesting to read good RRs, especially from fellow Canadians.

Funny description about the ferry adventure!! Nothing to compare with BC ships of course! Though sometimes you get some wicked storms over the water while going across. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Card Guy gives you a card to make sure you get a spot on the boat, even before you buy your ticket.

There are several other guys riding South as well, you must have met a few I guess. I was hoping to get a chance to meet up with some of you guys while coming this way to hear about your adventures over a few cold ones, but it seems that I keep missing everyone... It seems that everyone blasts thru CR to get to Panama for a boat/flight. Little bit of a shame to skip CR as it has some very nice rides and places to see to offer, but I also understand the timelines/deadlines. I'm hoping to be in your tracks maybe next year for a CA-SA-CA-NA "long way home" trip!

Look forward to catching up with your RR and reading more of what's coming ahead. Subscribed!
Ride Safe!
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:13 PM   #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QCRider View Post
Hey RexBuck,

I've been living in CR for 4 years now, but had never heard about Rancho DiAndrew in Uvita - looks like a cool place. I'll definitely check it out one of those weekends.

I just came a across your RR - I'll definitely sit down with a cold beverage on the patio and catch up shortly. Always interesting to read good RRs, especially from fellow Canadians.

Funny description about the ferry adventure!! Nothing to compare with BC ships of course! Though sometimes you get some wicked storms over the water while going across. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Card Guy gives you a card to make sure you get a spot on the boat, even before you buy your ticket.

There are several other guys riding South as well, you must have met a few I guess. I was hoping to get a chance to meet up with some of you guys while coming this way to hear about your adventures over a few cold ones, but it seems that I keep missing everyone... It seems that everyone blasts thru CR to get to Panama for a boat/flight. Little bit of a shame to skip CR as it has some very nice rides and places to see to offer, but I also understand the timelines/deadlines. I'm hoping to be in your tracks maybe next year for a CA-SA-CA-NA "long way home" trip!

Look forward to catching up with your RR and reading more of what's coming ahead. Subscribed!
Ride Safe!
Thanks for coming along for the ride. It is indeed too bad we many times miss locals like yourself - a lot of times we are shooting blind figuring out where to go and what to see and local knowledge would be a great assist.

Keep watching for folks coming down (or going up) - you'll hook up.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:51 PM   #143
h35064
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1st ever post from H35064

Hi, it's Henry from Coldstream. Just a bit of snow but temps are a lot colder this week in the Okanagan, they're up over a 100 cms of the white stuff up at Silverstar. I bet it's a lot warmer where you are!! Have been following your trip with interest ( now that I've figured out this site). It's am amazing adventure. Ride Safe!!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:58 PM   #144
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Rex, I think you might have to take a break from all of that riding and catch up with the RR! You're already in Colombia, but your RR is still in Costa Rica!
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:19 AM   #145
RexBuck OP
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Dec 1 Across Costa Rica

Found out I couldn’t get into Diandrew which would have been a cool place to hang around for a few days. I'm not quite ready to leave Costa Rica yet and feel there is more to see. The Costa Rica coast has been beautiful but,










I’m feeling a bit put off with the fairly high level of tourist development and the glitzy resorts.So, decided to do a loop through the interior of Costa Rica to the Caribbean coast and back through northern Panama. Found some roads that went east from just south of Jacó that looked like some nice mountains and skirted around San Jose - chalk up another big city missed.



Well, what a terrific day. Rained quite a bit last night and was still a little drizzly this morning. As soon as I turned off the highway I was presented with an unpaved road. Mostly hard packed gravel which was fairly easy riding. A few places where there was no gravel – just dirt and when mixed with last night’s rain . . . a little mud. That was good practice sliding around on that stuff with my somewhat worn Heidenau rear.

Climb up past different types of agriculture depending on the altitude. Vegetables lower down and coffee, papaya and bananas higher up. What spectacular scenery. Very steep mountains and I was presented with a steady stream of valleys and spectacular views.








Still quite a ways from the next town and was getting hungry. Came around a corner and here is a full blown restaurant and bar.





Cooked up some Pinto (What they call rice and beans) and eggs and coffee for me. One thing about the coffee growing countries is that they make and drink really good coffee. Hmmmm.




Spectacular view from the restaurant.




Higher elevations presented coffee plantations, most of which are grown on pretty steep terrain











Coming through one town and I'm supposed to turn onto this road but there is a chain across it. Road looks ok, seems weird. Maybe the present road will bend around and join it – nope, going the other way. Hmm, there is a car turning off on what looks like a side street towards the road I want. Yessir! It’s heading in the right direction but is going straight down. I’m sliding all over the place and finally make it down. End up behind some buses . . . how'd they get here? There was either an easier detour down or that chain was put up by some kids wanting to make a couple of bucks.


Pretty slow day today with the gravel road and the twisted paved stuff so, I’m not going to make it to the coast without having to push it which I don’t need to do. Decided to knock off early in Cartago and went all out and spent $80 on a room at the Hotel El Guarco. Pretty nice joint. I had to rewire my GPS power and had some other maintenance to do on the bike so their covered parking would be great with rain clouds building.






Didn’t go far but had a great day.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:25 AM   #146
RexBuck OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h35064 View Post
Hi, it's Henry from Coldstream. Just a bit of snow but temps are a lot colder this week in the Okanagan, they're up over a 100 cms of the white stuff up at Silverstar. I bet it's a lot warmer where you are!! Have been following your trip with interest ( now that I've figured out this site). It's am amazing adventure. Ride Safe!!
Thanks for following along Henry and, welcome to the forum. I have to admit I'm not missing the snow. However, it does get chilly at the higher elevations down here.

Glad you are enjoying it and thanks for the well wishes.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:30 AM   #147
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Rex, I think you might have to take a break from all of that riding and catch up with the RR! You're already in Colombia, but your RR is still in Costa Rica!
LOL - I stay put for a few days and almost get caught up then the next few days other things seem to take precidence and the RR falls behind. And being 2 countries behind is really weak isn't it? Oh well, maybe tonight . . .
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #148
Pedro Navaja
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Cooked up some Pinto (What they call rice and beans) and eggs and coffee for me. One thing about the coffee growing countries is that they make and drink really good coffee. Hmmmm.

It's called "Gallo Pinto." They served it to you wrong. You are supposed have an over-easy egg on top of the rice & beans. Then you break the yoke and mix it all up.

It's gross. We used to eat that stuff 3 times a day, forever. My dad hated our cuisine because we don't have any. Standard Costa Rican cuisine is to throw an egg on top of anything.

Quote:
Decided to knock off early in Cartago and went all out and spent $80 on a room at the Hotel El Guarco.



LMAO! Now you are in my old neighborhood. So Cartago has a hotel now? And of all the names to give it they call it El Guarco? This is hilarious. We lived in Cartago in El Tejar del Guarco right up from the El Quijongo restaurant. Not a nice neighborhood. Even worse now as I hear it's full of Nicas.

You got some great shots of our topography and vegetation. I love that about the place. Cartago, you are in fog city. It has a microclimate there all of it's own. If you get a chance ride up to Irazu. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic. If it's cloudy and you make the ride anyways, you will freak when you get above the cloud line.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja View Post
It's called "Gallo Pinto." They served it to you wrong. You are supposed have an over-easy egg on top of the rice & beans. Then you break the yoke and mix it all up.

It's gross. We used to eat that stuff 3 times a day, forever. My dad hated our cuisine because we don't have any. Standard Costa Rican cuisine is to throw an egg on top of anything.
Didn't know they did that - they always gave me a choice of how I wanted my eggs and served them like that. I actually wouldn't mind the egg on top thing - I like doing that sometimes. I guess when you aren't having beans and rice daily you kind of enjoy it. I did. My oldest daughter spent a few weeks in Costa Rica a number of years ago and has commented many times since how sick of rice and beans she was.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja View Post
LMAO! Now you are in my old neighborhood. So Cartago has a hotel now? And of all the names to give it they call it El Guarco? This is hilarious. We lived in Cartago in El Tejar del Guarco right up from the El Quijongo restaurant. Not a nice neighborhood. Even worse now as I hear it's full of Nicas.

You got some great shots of our topography and vegetation. I love that about the place. Cartago, you are in fog city. It has a microclimate there all of it's own. If you get a chance ride up to Irazu. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic. If it's cloudy and you make the ride anyways, you will freak when you get above the cloud line.
It's in the southern part of town on the highway in an industrial area. There was another hotel I passed coming down the hill into town - it looked like a nice setting and I almost turned around for it. Didn't notice any others on the way through town.
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #150
RexBuck OP
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Dec 2 - 4 Puerto Viiejo

Short, 200km ride to Puerto Viejo, some more scenery shots








I have noticed many varieties of coverings over various crops. This is one of many





A lot of different agriculture in this pic - on the flats and mostly the really steep hillsides.





Puerto Viejo a slightly touristy, laid back town on the Caribean coast. The gene pool here is definitely Caribean as is the culture. You would have a very high probability of hearing Regeae as you walk around town and about 0% chance of hearing Latin American music.



These locals were waiting at this bus stop the whole time I was there - guess they weren't in a hurry to get anywhere





Part of the beach. There are bit sandier beaches here but they aren't used a lot.





Found a great little hotel – Cabinas Guarana – about a block off the main street, locked parking, good wifi, hot water, room with 2 beds, large porch with hammock and little table and, quiet.







They provide a communal kitchen and free coffee and tea. Big grocery store at the end of the block and another a block and a half away. Nice, comfortable lobby. I could stay here awhile.

Some random shots at the hotel. Andreas - another Italian desk guy in Latin America





Help yourself to a banana anytime





The gardens outside the room





Sorry for the flower pics - it's my Ride Report and I wanted some flower pics!








Oh yah, this place has a tree house – how cool is that? Hauled my fat ass up this somewhat dodgy looking “ladder” – crawled out in the treehouse to look around. I’m starting to feel a bit woozey which is weird as I’m not too concerned about heights. Then I realize the whole thing is swaying in the wind. Makes sense as there is only a couple of tree trunks a few inches in diameter – not the most ridged structure. The treehouse is that thing sticking up above the fronds in the foreground.





Some of the ladder - looking down





Looking up





Looking over the town








See my bike in its little shed?





Decided to have a healthy vegetarian breakfast. They assured me that no cows died in the production of the cream filling . . .




Have I mentioned coffee? As I got away from Mexico I started to notice I was being served really good coffee. These countries in Central America are all coffee growing countries and the people seem to enjoy good coffee. Or, they were just waiting for me to come along to brew up a pot of really strong, black coffee, just for me. Either way, frickin outstanding!



By the way, nothing against Mexican coffee but the northern part of the country seems to drink mostly instant coffee (except in the Oxxos where they brew coffee) and as you go south, you are served more Café Olla – which is usually luke-warm, pretty sweet and not very strong “coffee.”



A couple of the meals I've had here. Curried fish





Chicken in a sauce that tasted a lot like a Mole but they called it something else. Oh, and my first Margarita of the trip





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