Edit Blog Post
Published: October 4th 2006
Zarcero and around….
This past weekend Jake (a long term guest of the B&B) and I did a one-day road trip up to Zarcero, a neat little town about 20 minutes north of me. We were both curious about the towns surrounding Zarcero as we had both been there before. For both of us, we wondered if any gringos lived in the area and if there were any good real estate deals. From prior knowledge, it was our sense that the Zarcero area was a little remote, and perhaps at little cool for most people. It reminds of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. more than the tropics! But we explored the area with full anticipation that we’d discover at least something interesting.
Jake fortunately found a halfway decent map of the area on the Internet—well, it had at least a few of the surrounding towns noted—but certainly not all of them. The best part of the trip was just picking a road leading out of Zarcero and seeing it where it would take us. In a few cases the road ended fairly quickly and became a dirt road before long. I wasn’t willing to risky taking my often-ill
Trooper on these roads. So after a few tires, we found a road we liked. I have no idea what road we go on but we did figure out that we were heading north/northeast of Zarcero and our intention was to do a loop, eventually hitting a town called Bajos del Toro, and then making our way back to Zarcero, and finally home.
The road north and east of Zarcero was a lot of fun. Even though we didn’t have wide views of the various valleys and mountains due to significant cloud cover on this day, we did get to see some amazing canyons along the way, dropping off by the side of the road for hundreds of feet. I liked this area. It felt very “untouched” and we probably saw two cars the entire town we were making our loop.
The road was remarkably well paved and maintained with concrete water gutters for such a remote area. This didn’t appear to be a heavily traveled road nor did it appear to be a truck route, because as we found out, the road became hard-packed dirt/stone after about 15 kilometers, and went right through a national forest—one neither
of knew existed.
We saw many “se vende”(for sale) signs along the road and we stopped numerous times to check out property. When you are on your own, it is hard to tell what you are looking at, but we did see some incredible view properties in the most pristine of settings. The only problem, again, is that this location seems too remote for most gringos. I like it though and someday I’m going to just live out there away from everyone! No television, no Internet, no phones! (okay, I take it back—I have to have television at a minimum!).
As we got close to the hamlet of Bajos del Toro, and the rains appeared to be closing in, we came across signs for a waterfall/restaurant so we pulled into to check it out. The “Carratera del Toro” is a terrific, largely unknown waterfall and hiking trail along the road we traveled. What a terrific find—and it did indeed start to rain—to spend some time looking at rushing torrent of water some 100 feet or so high, and have a decent lunch.
The drive back to San Ramon was somewhat eventful. We saw no less than three
Some nice land for sale
All photos courtesy of Jake!
car wrecks, two of which involved large trucks, on the ride back. That made the trip back a bit slower. Costa Rica is known for having a high rate of car accidents. I think that while people know better, they just don’t slow down enough on the many hairpin turns and switchbacks!
This is one of the best parts of living in Costa Rica: having the chance to explore new places. For a country the size of West Virginia it offers so much to do and seems so much bigger—particularly when you are on small mountain roads.
Governments are about the same everywhere….
I have to be honest and state that if CAFTA brings competition in key services to Costa Rica such as telephone, Internet and electricity distribution, I’m all for it—much more so today then perhaps—yesterday! I got a new cell phone recently and the last step in getting it set up was to get the voice mail activated. As many friends will remark, I have learned to have considerable patience living here. Some would even suggest I’m much different than the “A type” personality I was when I lived in the U.S. However, dealing with
“ICE,” the government-owned electric/telephone monopoly has just about tried my patience!
For starters, the woman I spoke to over the phone said she couldn’t help me on the phone. If I wanted the dial in number and passcode for ICE, I’d have to go their offices. Okay, she was not going to help me so I was stuck going downtown. ICE ‘s office, at least the one in San Ramon, always is overcrowded and understaffed. No matter how many people are waiting, if it is time for a worker to take his/her break, then a break it is! The first time I went (yes it took two trips to get a simple code and password), there were about 50 people waiting for be helped and only two people behind the counter on the telephone side of the office. However, the people on the electricity side of the office had no people waiting when I was there and four people behind the counter! My question is: why not train the people who handle electricity issues to help with telephone issues when they are not busy and vice versa!? I guess it is too easy. When my number finally came up—I
was number “C97” and when I arrived they were assisting the person who had number “E45” (huh!?!?), the man behind the counter couldn’t figure out how to use my phone or how to get to the code and password to work and suggested I come back tomorrow. Ughh!! Unfortunately, I cannot yell and scream in Spanish—something I need to learn to do I guest—but patience, patience, I know!
The second trip to ICE was more fruitful as I was only about #15 in line, and somehow my number came up after about 10 minutes of waiting, and I’m not sure what happened to the people who had numbers inbetween! So, a different worker was able to get my number and password to work on my phone. Now all I had to do is go through the menus on the phone and set up my voicemail. Well, that did work right either and will require another trip to ICE. I’ll save that for next week as I just cannot bear three trips to ICE in one week! I guess things could be worse as I could be living in Nicaragua with power cuts for six to eight hours a day in recent months!
Busy, busy, busy!
It’s weird. October is one of the slowest months for tourism in Costa Rica, if not the slowest month. In many places it rains a lot, kids back in the U.S., are in full swing at school and parents are working as hard as ever. But here at the B&B it has turned out to be a very busy month with many guests coming and going. Now why is that? I think because we are not the typical B&B mostly attracting tourists for a few nights or a week. We seem to attract all types: people here long term who are considering moving to the area, others working on projects for a month or so, and then some who just come for a few days and end up staying much longer. I did that actually when I first came to stay with Jose and was considering buying the property. Well, nice problem to have I guess. Lets hope the rest of the year is as good. Come on down and stay with us!
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and for your comments! Keep ‘em coming!
www.AngelValleyFarmBandB.com (the B&B!)
www.BoomersInCostaRica.com (4-day relocation/retirement tour!)
www.CostaRicaRealEstate.typepad.com (relocation blog!)
Tot: 1.335s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 8; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0385s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb