We rented a car today with the goal of going to Palo Verde National Park. The rental came with a gps in which the lady put in the location of a boat tour. We really didn’t know what to expect. We were driving for about 30 minuets or more on a dirt farm road through sugar cane fields When we came up on an beautiful hacienda. We were met at the front of the house by a welcoming gentleman who did his best to get us to relax and belay or concerns of being in the wrong place. Turns out that it is a company that gives tours through the wetlands and a river boat tour and also runs a 20,000 acre sugar cane farm. We were expecting it to be maybe $20pp but it wound up being $70pp but included lunch; all in all well worth the fee. We had a great guide, Juan Carlos, who rode with us in our rental car through the wetlands area and then down to the River Tempisque. I guess we were lucky because of the slow time of year for tourism and we got there early, because we were the only 2 on the boat with Juan Carlos and and the captain, Dennis. They did a great job of pointing out all sorts of wildlife: monkeys, beautiful birds, bats, iguanas and lots of crocodiles. Juan Carlos’ english was very good and his knowledge of wildlife is EXCELENT. He even had books with all sorts of hand written notes an tabs; on several occasions he showed us a picture of the different versions that we did not see. After the boat tour we went back to the hacienda where we had a delicious traditional Costa Rican meal.
We finished up at around 1:30 and decided to make the 45 minute trek over to the Palo Verde National Park entrance and do some hiking. No big deal, right? WRONG! This is Costa Rica, and I learned today that just because it’s on the GPS doesn’t mean that it is a generally passable road. In fact, we found out that the only bridge in the area, fed by a dirt farm road, was simply gone. This turned our short 45 minute trip into at least a 2 hour trip adding the time spent going the wrong way. Basically you have to return to Liberia and then to the park from there.
Sitting in an empty lot in Filadelfia de Guanacaste, I made the snap decision to head toward the coast and work our way north back to our hotel. We made our way west on 155 which was a black top road (a little better than joe Wilson) that went through several small communities. A few of which seemed livable. First beach town was Playa Brasilito. It wasn’t so nice but I bet it won’t be long before tourism takes ahold. As we made our way up though, we came across several areas where I could see spending more time. Playa Flamingo was definitely one of those. Some beautiful properties sit on a tall cliff with 270 degree views of the ocean.
It was basically at this point where I decided I could use the GPS to my advantage and work my way north a little more along the coast before heading inland and north to our hotel. There is a resort being developed at Playa Danta called Las Catalinas which will be spectacular when finished. This is where our next adventure starts!
Keep in mind, we spent a large portion of our day on (by US standards) crappie roads, so when I turned the next corner and saw a washed out road going up at about a 45 degree angle I figured it would be just fine at the top. Only 3 problems with that: 1) after about 100 yards, Di started yelling, crying and begging me to turn around - too late for that; too far and rough to go in reverse and we would have rolled down if I tried to turn around. 2) it was a lot further up than I expected; maybe a quarter mile. 3) it didn’t get much better-though it didn’t get much worse either. All in all it was about 45 minutes of ups and downs until we hit the main road by our hotel. I have to say that our little 4wd Toyota Rush didn’t miss a beat, nearly as good as the Humvees that I drove in the Corps.
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