Day 115 – Jaco, CR to La Fortuna, CR

Day 115 – Jaco, CR to La Fortuna, CR 12/14/10 Mileage: 161

This morning the guys headed further south on their whirlwind blast down to Panama, and my plan was to backtrack slightly north towards Lake Arenal, before turning back south through the central mountains. The weather was perfect and the skies clear and blue…it was going to be another great day of riding. I got off the CA-1 heading through Juntus and up into the mountains.

The road turned to dirt within a few miles and the riding was only rivaled by the spectacular views looking back across the bay to the Nicoya Peninsula in the distance.

Looking across the bay to the Nicoya Peninsula in the distance…

The road turned back to pavement near Lake Arenal and the ride around the lake was picturesque and twisty good fun.

The famous Lake Arenal…

I stopped off at The German Bakery which is a great place for a coffee and a croissant….which is what I did!

These cute little guys were foraging right next too the road…too cute!

Lake Arenal and Volcan Arenal….

I spoke with this Canadian couple for a while…it was their 3rd time to Costa Rica.

I ended up in the town of La Fortuna where I managed to find a nice room for $15 after much asking around.

Afterwards I wandered out for dinner at the Lava Lounge and used the wifi.

 

They also had Leffe in bottles!! After months of a steady diet of local beers(which are drinkable but average), you have no idea how excited I was to have one of my favorite Belgian beers…I savored every once!

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Day 114 – San Juan del Sur, NI to Jaco, CR

Day 114 – San Juan del Sur, NI to Jaco, CR      12/13/10      Mileage: 197

This morning I knew right were I was going back to for breakfast, and upon walking into El Gato Negro I saw 4 guys in moto gear sitting a table. I went over and started talking to them and they are on a 2 week ripper from Texas to Panama! They shipped their bikes down to Texas, crossed in Brownsville and will be shipping the bikes home from Panama. Seeing as we were going the same way, a tagged along with them.

We hit the Nicaragua / Costa Rica border by 8:30am and aside from the usual 20 signatures, 7 different offices, 15 officials and numerous photo copies, the border was smooth and uneventful. But after the Honduras border crossings, anything would seem simple by comparison! All told it took around 2.5 hours or so, and we were on our way into Costa Rica.

Sneaking by a line of trucks on the Nicaragua side…

Let the games begin…

Checking the bike permits…

Outside the Nicaragua immigration office…

Last checkpoint in Nicaragua…

First stop in Costa Rica….bike fumigation. In Honduras, this cost $11, and they didn’t even spray the bike(which I now know was BS anyway). In Costa Rica, this didn’t cost anything and he did a nice job…as my bike hasn’t been cleaned since L.A.!

Costa Rica immigration…

Costa Rica aduana (customs)

Last window for customs inspection of the paperwork

Final Costa Rica checkpoint…yahoo!

Last checkpoint…

We’re in and on our way south!

I’m not sure who started it…and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it… but before long we were all riding like complete hooligans…and took many liberties with the traffic laws and common sense! It was like a game of you could make the most dicey or ill-advised pass..it was a little nuts and in hindsight a bit foolish. It was however good fun at the time!

We all survived though and pulled into the beach town of Jaco mid afternoon. After finding a room and a shower, we were off to dinner and man is Costa Rica expensive compared to Nicaragua, El Salvador etc. I knew it was going to be but it’s every bit as expensive as the U.S., which is partly why I’m not going to spend too much time here.

After dinner we found a bar that had the Giants game projected onto the side of a building nextdoor…now that’s a big “flat” screen.

 I’m not much for team sports, but I do like watching the Giants every Fall…and I only got to watch one other game back in Guatemala, so this was a treat.

Day 113 – San Juan del Sur, NI

113 – San Juan del Sur, NI 12/12/10 Mileage: 0

Brian told me about a great cafe for breakfast and wifi called El Gato Negro…not to be confused with the hostel I stayed at in Antigua, GU by the same name. They roast there own coffee beans and the coffee is good and strong!

El Gato Negro Cafe, San Juan del Sur, NI

The owners name is Rob and he’s originally from southern Vermont. He grew up skiing Round Top ski area, which is where my buddy Mick owns a ski house that is my home away from home in winter…well except for this winter that is. We chatted for a while and he explained the process..or…more accurately the “art” of roasting coffee beans which was interesting.

Here’s Rob at the helm of the coffee  roaster which is inside the cafe and fills the entire place with the most amazing aroma!

Roasting the beans and checking their progress…

The beans are done roasting and now go into the circular hopper where they are cooled.

 So after my fill of wifi and strong coffee, I was off for a walk on the beach and around town.

I had an early dinner and a few drinks at Henry’s Iguana on the waterfront which seems to be “the” place in town.

Henery’s Iguana Bar

You know you’ve had a rough night of drinking when you end up spooning the curb on the main street…

View of town from my hotel patio…

The sky was very dark despite the city lights and I spent some time goofing with the camera’s night mode (and headlamp)…and got a little carried away. After almost 4 months on the road, perhaps I’m starting to get “the shine”…pun intended!

Tomorrow I’ll be crossing into Costa Rica…country number 9!