Days 8-10 (May 19-21) - Long Weekend Away

Published: May 23rd 2018
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9-1 Travel to Mal Pais9-1 Travel to Mal Pais9-1 Travel to Mal Pais

The weekend's journey (one way)
Critters seen crossing the road in a single day: turtle, armadillo (OK, he was dead from crossing the road), crabs, iguana, blue bird

After a long week mentally, I was ready for a break! I packed up everything Saturday morning to clear out my cabin and hit the road around 11:00. When I got to a bigger centre, it was my first experience getting gas - I’m not sure if it is easier to try to communicate what I want and arrange payment via basic phrases and hand gestures with full service or just pumping my own gas where I can insert a credit card! But figured it out, so now I know how to work this for the remainder of my trip! Full serve also has the added bonus of getting my tires checked and windshield washed.

I did intend to stop along the way, but ended up just going straight through to my final destination - my hotel in between Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. I met the proprietor at the 5 room establishment before marveling at my patio and the view from it!! Then I took a quick drive through Playa Del Carmen (beach town) before

My hotel with patio
settling on an Italian restaurant and pizza for dinner. Yum!

Sunday was a chance to slow down - sleep in, have a HOT shower (amazing how wonderful that can be!), and spending some quiet time on my patio just absorbing the surroundings - bird watching, all the sounds of creatures unseen, and the fragrant smell of the flowers and trees. I then headed out a bit before lunch to see the area. Even though it was raining here and there, I checked out the beaches of Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, and Montezuma, had my first “casado” (traditional meal) of the trip at a local soda. Just generally, a lazy day (other than driving, which can be its own workout).

Speaking of driving, this trip included some interesting roads! I took the long way around the peninsula, as there are roads that are unpassable this time of year going the more direct route. The whole trip was around 200 km each way and took 4.5 hours each way. You do the math! It gets more interesting though, as the first 128 took around 2.5 hours, while the next 72 (which were varying levels of unpaved/gravel, which you can take

View from the hotel / my room
to mean any degree of rough roads!) took 2 hours. Spending 2 hours driving unpredictable roads, where a hole can appear out of nowhere is challenging! 😊

So, Donna’s tips for driving “unpaved” Costa Rica roads:
- don’t sweat the small stuff - it’s going to be a bumpy ride, so don’t even try for smooth!
- keep an eye out for approaching vehicles, as this changes your course through the rough stuff from picking the best path to the best of the right hand side - no oncoming traffic means choose your own adventure!
- neglected “paved” roads are almost worse than gravel roads - your tires can fall right into the potholes that form and it hurts!
- watch out for large or pointy rocks sticking out of the road - no one needs a flat tire!
- the clutch and neutral are your friends - if you run into an extra rough patch, slam on the brakes and use one of these friends to slowly roll/bump your way through without stalling, and then when you’ve made your way through the worst of it, pick a gear that seems about right for your current speed and you’re

A typical Costa Rican lunch - casado with chicken
on your way once again!
- pick some tunes to drown out the road noises - if you can find some mariachi music, even better
- sit back and relax once in a while - you may realize you have been hunched over the steering wheel focused so intently on the road that you’ve become a wee bit tense…

Monday morning I enjoyed one more hot shower and some peaceful patio time before hitting the road once again for the journey back to Islita. I stopped in Nicoya for some lunch - tacos (taquitos), salad, and fries, got some fuel and groceries, and continued to Islita.

I arrived back at Ara just as they were finishing up the afternoon tour, and met a nice couple from Ohio who were parrot lovers (with 8 of their own) and who were so excited to be seeing the wild macaws. Afterwards Chucho led me off to my new residence, one town away from Islita in Corozalito. I met my host, Isabel, and worked on settling in once again, falling asleep to a heavy rain.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


9-3 Travel from Playa Naranja to Mal Pais9-3 Travel from Playa Naranja to Mal Pais
9-3 Travel from Playa Naranja to Mal Pais

Second "half" - rougher roads

View from the hotel / my room

View from the hotel / my room


The beach at Mal Pais

The beach at Santa Teresa

The beach at Santa Teresa

The beach at Santa Teresa

The beach at Montezuma Birds in the jungle, birds at the beach!

The beach at Montezuma Sandy area around the rocks where the waves would come in and out

The beach at Montezuma Sandy area around the rocks where the waves would come in and out

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