Costa Rica – beaches, frogs, jungle and a few parasites
Costa Rica has volcanoes, rainforest, beautiful beaches at both the Caribbean and the Pacific side. It has a rich colourful wildlife including monkeys, birds, butterflies etc.. It is also one of the most secure countries in Central America so what else could you ask for. However, we had a few bad moments in Costa Rica which include dropping my bike in a fairly deep water crossing, another fight with the stubborn parasites, but despite that we had a fantastic time in Costa Rica.
Border crossing Nicaragua to Costa Rica
When crossing the border into Costa Rica it was scorching and the sun blazed down from a cloudless azure sky, which made it nearly unbearable, especially as I was still unwell from the parasite I caught in Nicaragua or maybe it was the same as I got in Guatemala, who cares…. Anyway after ‘just’ five hours at the border we rode into Costa Rica.
Rescued a frog from drowning…
La Cruz was our first stop in Costa Rica. We found a hotel for only $10 and as usual, you get what you pay for. Anyway, we were only to staying for one night and the bikes were safe, which is most important.
The morning after Anders saw a frog in the toilet… and I mean inside the toilet. It was very cute but we felt awful sorry for it to have to stay in that disgusting toilet. We came up with the solution of taking one of Anders only three t-shirts and put it down the toilet and let it hang over the edge. As the frog looked terrified we walked out and waited for about ten minutes. When we came back the frog was gone. The funny is that the well behaved frog had put the toilet seat down before he left… that is more than most men do 😉 After that heroic moment we hit the road again with a good feeling from saving the frog.
We decided to head for the mountain and get some cooler temperature. On the way we stopped one night in Liberia and the day after we only rode for a few hours to get to Tileran. The road was incredibly boring with lots of road works. Well in the city Tileran we found a nice place to stay with the smallest room we ever been in. We had to stay in Tileran for three days as I became unwell again… f*cking parasites. However the air was cooler which is a godsend when poorly.
From a wonderful road to shitty ‘road’
When I felt slightly better, we decided to ride around the Lake Arenal. On the map the road looked ok and it was perfect for about 60 km then the hell started. After the Arenal Volcano National Park the road turned into dirt road with big loose stones and the bikes jumped up and down like mad with us on them.
After a couple of hours I was completely exhausted and it was also getting dark. When we saw a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, we stopped and asked if we could pitch the tent next to it. The very friendly owner told as that we could do that and that it wouldn’t cost anything. We even could use their toilet. How lucky we are.
After a good night sleep the road from hell continued. It was like the stones, on the road, were getting bigger and bigger. I dropped my bike again and this time it was seriously close to a dramatic drop. At this time I felt extremely tired, I couldn’t really handle the bike as my arms had turned into jelly, I certainly didn’t feel very well. However the sceneries were just breathtaking and we took a few photos. After a long struggle on the dirt road the lovely tarmac road appeared. Honestly, after being on dirt road for a while it is like heaven to see tarmac.
We rode the whole way to the Puntarenas that is on the Pacific Ocean but we couldn’t find anywhere to stay within our budget so we continued south. We had heard about a river, not far away, that had lots of big crocodiles so we decided go there. When we arrived to the river there were lots of people who, like us, wanted to see the crocodiles. However, it turned out that we became more interesting than the crocodiles so there we were smelly after not had a shower for quite a few days getting photographed instead of the crocodiles.
After we had been photographed and that we had photographed the crocodiles we set off again. We didn’t ride very far when we saw a restaurant on the beach. I said to Anders, ‘maybe we should stop and ask if we can camp on the beach.’ He said “good idea” and so we did. The owner of the restaurant said it was ok and showed us a place and we didn’t need to pay for it either, lucky us another night of free camping. We had a stunning sunset and slept very well by the sound of waves hitting the shore.
Bike maintenance in San Jose
Next stop was San Jose the capital in costa Rica, where we first stopped at Touratech to pick up the diagnostic tool that HEX Code so kindly sent to us. At Touratech we also changed spark plugs, wheel bearings, air filter and checked and cleaned the valves. The guys at Touratech were lovely they also helped to sort out my damaged pannier since I dropped it up in the mountains. Not only this but Touratech also bought us some pizza for lunch, great guys.
Before and after cleaning the valves
In San Jose I got problem with my stomach again. I was in bed with high temperature, headache and pain in my joints while Anders was riding around in San Jose looking for a place where we could store our bikes while traveling back to Europe.
He left about 9 am in the morning and said it could take up to four hours….. However, he didn’t come back until 6 pm… I hadn’t had anything to eat for some days now so I really felt I needed something to get my strength back so Anders ordered a Pizza…. Yeah a pizza which is probably not the best to have when having problem with the stomach. Anyway the pizza came and I only managed to eat a very small piece and of course my stomach didn’t like that….
The morning after I felt slightly better so we packed the bikes and left for the Caribbean Yeah!!!……We only managed to get to Siquirres (100 km) where we had to stop as I was getting worse AGAIN. We stopped at a hotel and I stayed in bed the rest of the day. The day after I wasn’t feeling any better, in fact, I felt even worse. Anders took the decision that we should ride back to San Jose where we had heard they had a good hospital. Anders can be very peremptory sometimes and at this time I didn’t have the energy to refuse.
As soon as we arrived to San Jose we went to the hospital and they took some blood tests etc… which was an improvement compared with Nicaragua. Again I got antibiotic and something else for the parasites.
After a few days, when feeling better we, again, headed for the Caribbean. While riding I suddenly got a severe pain in my joints, especially in my left shoulder and arm. I couldn’t hold the handle bar for long without resting it so it became very difficult to ride. The shoulder protection felt extremely uncomfortable and Anders, bless him, I blamed him for putting the protection back in the wrong way after we had washed the clothes. Anyway, later on we learned that this could be a side effect from the antibiotic I took and of course with my luck I got that too.
When we at last arrived to the Caribbean we found a very nice hostel and it felt so nice to at last be able to have some good times.
However, our bad luck wouldn’t stop. At midnight, I woke up with breathing problems and I also had very itchy rashes all over my body. Of course I had got an allergy reaction from the antibiotics….my ‘luck’ continued. This time I was seriously worried. Anders went out asking if there was a doctor somewhere and was told there was a small hospital about 8 km from where we stayed. In pouring tropical rain, he took me on his bike to the hospital. It took a while until we found it and to find the entrance was even harder. It was pitch dark and there was nowhere where we could safely leave the bike so I left Anders and the bike with an umbrella and went looking for an entrance by myself. This was a very peculiar situation I must say. After some searching I found a door and walked in. First I didn’t see anyone but I could see some light coming through a door and went there and luckily there was a person that could even speak English… sometimes you are just overloaded with good luck haha. Anyway I was taken to a doctor straight away who gave me an injection in my bum, Ouch! And whatever that was it seemed to do the trick, as I after a while started breath more easily.
After a while I could leave and went out looking for Anders. As it was pitch dark and pouring down with rain I could hardly see him but I could tell that he was rather relieved to see me again.
After the side effects and the allergy reaction the ‘real’ hell started. The next day a bunch of kids moved into the room next to us. That night I only slept for a few hours. When they, the second night, woke me up again in the middle of the night I declared war with these little fuckers. Six o’clock in the morning, when they had just gone to sleep I went outside their room and talked very very loud on Skype to whomever I could get hold of, put some music on, moved some chairs without lifting them so it really sounded scratch scratch etc….The night after they were quiet…. Mission accomplished.
Exploring the Caribbean
One morning, when I at last felt better, we rode along the Caribbean coast until the road stopped. We passed by some beautiful beaches and the rainforest was very dense. The trees are very tall and some leaves are ridiculously big, you feel very little and like you have ended up in a place for giants
One day we went for a walk, sort of the same way as we had ridden earlier but instead we walked on the beach. This is probably one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. The palm trees and the jungle sometimes reached the whole way to the water. The water was crystal clear and at some places the waves were huge. And the best of all, there was hardly any people around. I got the feeling that the beach continued infinity. We walked along the beach and sometimes we had to walk in the water and every now and then we had to jump over or crawl under palm trees that was hanging over the water. Crabs were moving in an instant speed in front of us escaping down their holes to hide.
This day we also ‘met’ a bird that had Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)…. No, I am not joking… It was a toucan and it had an enormous beak. It was hilarious and not afraid at all. At one time it jumped down into to a bag then up to a tree and then came to me again. I just loved that bird and wanted to take it with me… though he tried to steel my diamond ring.
While in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca we went for a small hike in jungle where we saw black and green poison dart frogs and Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs.
Leaving Costa Rica for a couple of months
We really had a fantastic time at the Caribbean but after a week it was time to head back to San Jose where we were going to store the bikes for a couple of months. Hampus our son, who lives in England was going to marry his lovely girlfriend Kirsty and we were also visiting Sweden to meet our two other sons Simon and Emil, my mum and dad and Anders mum.
Costa Rica had its ups and downs but it is such a beautiful country and we really loved it. And it is good to have some bad day as you then can appreciate the good ones 😀 And the best is THAT WE WILL BE BACK SOON 🙂
Random photos from Costa Rica