Costa RicaPosted by Jan Lamers 29 Jul, 2012 23:48:32
In San José I tried to buy a tubeless front tire for my bike. There are tires enough in San José and even tubeless ones (tubulares in Spanish). But the tubeless tires were only for tarmac and not for off road use. So I decided to buy a tube type tire. I put the new tire around my waist and rode through the city to a workshop that I had been recommended. When I left the workshop I had a puncture within a few miles in the middle of San José. I got really pissed off and slowly rode back to the workshop. There they told me the puncture was due to a poor quality tube. They put on a new one and off I went. Later that day, in the middle of nowhere I had a puncture again. This time I was really f*** since I didn't carry a spare tube and there was nobody around. I carefully rode on for a little bit. But as I was afraid to ruin the new tire, I got off my bike, locked it, took all my valuables with me and walked to a couple of houses a few miles down the road. There I met a some truckers who were really friendly and drove me back to my bike. I took the front wheel out and my trucker friends took me by car to a little town 10 miles further on. I could buy a new "made in Thailand" tube. I had it changed in a little workshop. There I found out that the cause of my punctures were sharp aluminum flakes on the inside of my tire. Probably caused by ham-fisted mechanics in San José. The truckers dropped me off at my bike again, I put on the front wheel again and I arrived in the evening in the surf town of Jacó.
Costa RicaPosted by Jan Lamers 29 Jul, 2012 22:03:36
In Tortuegero against all odds I didn't encounter any rain. Tortuguero is only accesible by boat. So I rode all the way up to Cariari, put my bike and all my gear in storage at an hotel and took the bus to Pavona. From there it was a one and a half hour boat ride to Tortuguero. And what a beautiful national park this is. An abundance of wild life: tucans, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, kingfishers, herons, wild turkey, hummingbirds, caymans and much more. Icing on the cake were the sea turtles coming to lay their eggs on shore. I met a couple of nice people there as well that I met again afterwards in San José.
Costa RicaPosted by Jan Lamers 29 Jul, 2012 21:43:40
From the nice and sunny Rincon de la Vieja I rode to the rains of lago Arenal and La Fortuna. I have been there for three days and only for 1 hour the volcano Arenal was out of the clouds. Fortunately I was I carried my camera with me at that time. For most of the three days it rained rained and rained. I hiked up to the crater lake of cerro Chatto. A steep hike uphill in the pouring rain. As a reward the view of the lake extended only for 100 feet. All my clothes were soaking wet but I could use the fan in my hotel room to dry. After three days of rain I left for Tortuguero, also a place renowned for its annual precipitation level.
Costa RicaPosted by Jan Lamers 23 Jul, 2012 17:33:17
The border crossing into Costa Rica is quite an experience. Since there is only one border crossing from Nicaragua into Costa Rica and it happens to be on the Panamerican highway it can get very crowded here. When you arrive you are being preyed upon by "assistants" who want to help you get through the process, for rip off prices of course. Once you get rid of them you are being sent back and forth to numerous officials. From the Migracion officer that stamps you passport to the Aduana officer that hands out a paper, to the police officer that has to stamp it, to another Aduana officer that you have to look for because he just wanders around in the crowds. Then back to the first Aduana officer to stamp the paper for the third time. Then stand in line to pay your exit fee. And now you are only out of Nicaragua. A similar excercise for getting into Costa Rica. From the border I went to the beach at Playas del Coco. There I found beach front hotel at a reasonable price. I spent two days there, relaxing a bit and planning my route in Costa Rica. From there I left for Rincon de la Vieja, a National park at the base of an active volcano. By now the volcano is so active that you aren't allowed to climb it anymore. I made a couple of very nice and strenuous hikes there and saw colorful buttreflies, lizards, volcanic mud pools and waterfalls.