21 januari 2015 - Ede, Nederland
There I am on the last day of my big adventure in the hotel in Panama City to make another story of the second last country I visited; “Costa Rica”
I will try to finish this story before I leave Panama City.
The rest I will try to finish before the end of January 2015.
When I am home there will be a lot of things that has to be done; my wife Rieneke, my kids, my dogs, my friends and working again.
I do like to make several albums of my adventure.
The chronological sequence of my trip in pictures, an album from the blogs in Dutch and one in English, this of course with several pictures. My diary will be also one of my personal books.
The main task will be sorting out thousands of pictures and movie clips I shot during the trip.
Also preparation of a presentation of the trip and collecting money for my good cause; “Cycling out of poverty” will take some time.
The entrance of Costa Rica
The entrance of Costa Rica was just the way I expected it to be.
Wonderful roads meandered through dense tropical rainforest (Later more about that).
There were flowers everywhere, a lot of birds and butterflies.
Some of the butterflies were very big and beautifully colored. Altogether it was mind-blowing!
Together with Eric and Garbine we had a police escort until the border. In Costa Rica they were on their way to a different city than we.
After the rolling countryside, more meadows appeared with extensive farming; a few cows and horses on a big pasture.
This was totally different then the intensive farming of cows in Kansas and Colorado.
Here cows were held on small pastures without grass and they were fed with corn. This was for creating more tender meat.
First night in Costa Rica
In the first part of Costa Rica we had some trouble to find a hotel.
In the end we camped in a remarkable spot in the middle of the dense rainforest.
This was in “The National Park Santa Rosa”.
They had an educational centre, but also a campground, very basic, but an awesome place!
There were flushing toilets, a (very) cold shower and drinking water.
We were the only guests there!
When we arrived a group of volunteers were busy clearing the campground of leaves and branches.
Also rearranging the pick nick benches again for the new tourist season.
In Europe they can learn of this item, “pick nick benches”!
Nowhere in Europe pick nick benches are present on a campsite!
It was a cacophony of sounds, birds, monkeys and the moving trees because of the strong wind.
Just before dark we had erected the tents and then we headed towards the restaurant.
After some searching we found it and had an unexpected good meal there!
Night at the park
The night wasn’t undisturbed.
Mainly due to the hard wind it was hard to sleep.
The branches dropped from the trees and were flying around.
Not a pleasant idea, when you are in your little tent
Early in the morning I heard a roar and there came a huge branch down near my tent (I did see later)!
Also the howling monkeys kept us from sleeping, however I didn’t sleep that badly!
Tanja had a very bad night or hardly slept and is no “tent cyclist”.
Too bad, because it has so many benefits!
First days cycling in Costa Rica
When we packed the tents I walked towards the sounds of the monkeys.
They were high up in the trees near the sanitary buildings. I recorded the sounds and made a short movie clip.
I didn’t see the movie clips, so I don’t know if it is good enough.
When we cycled 7 km back to the main route, here I did see several other birds, some small green parrots
and also some birds I still don’t know what type it was!
The days after this were up and down. Some days were more climbing than other days.
Some days later I did see the really beautiful colored parrots: the big Ara’s are so beautiful.
We did see these magnificent birds on two occasions in the countryside!
There were several birds I did see the Toucan birds several times, a wonderful sight!
Also I did see the common yellow flycatcher (not the official name) frequently.
This bird, often was sitting on the power lines.
Here the bird did fly with a loop towards a dragonfly or another insect and returned to the power line again.
I liked these this event every time that happened.
Also the other flycatcher with a giant (in comparison) tail I did see regularly! The day had an extra good feeling when that happened!
In one of the rivers I crossed there were a lot of American Crocodiles! There were signs that you couldn’t swim in the river.
A lot of tourists walked over the bridge, a good sign that something was there.
I discovered a large group of the crocodiles lying in the sun and the water.
I made pictures and a lot of movie parts, standing safely on the bridge.
It was thrilling to see these prehistoric animals from up so close!
It was still warm / hot and that was noticed when you stopped.
Cycling brought some riding wind, which was cooling down most of the time.
Rob and Gisela
In one of the small towns we met Rob and Gisela, a very experienced bicycle touring couple.
They met somewhere on their trips and are cycling ever since.
Rob is from Wales and Gisela is from Switzerland.
Last trip they stopped their tour in Managua and started cycling there now.
They were planning to go to South America this time.
Rob and Gisela had vast experience in cycling all over the world.
It was great to talk with them and exchange thoughts and experiences.
Rob and Gisela had been cycling in Russia, China, Iran and of course Europe, just to name a few.
Later that day we checked in a hostel and not long after that Rob and Gisela checked in too.
That afternoon we went for some chopping around the corner; there we were surprised by a large group of (long distance) cyclists!
Eight cyclists with 7 nationalities were present;
- Two German cyclists, Tanja and
- One Dutch cyclist, Menno
- One French cyclist, Alaine
- One American cyclist, Mike
- One Swiss cyclist, Gisela
- One English cyclist Rob and
- One Turkish woman cyclist, Elif.
We talked for a long time together in front of the supermarket and made several pictures! It was like a party so much fun!
I think it is very special that Elif was cycling around the world.
In the Turkish society a woman is very restricted and won’t be able to cycle around the world.
Most of the times the family will prevent the woman who plan to do this.
But also social pressure will prevent a woman to develop these plans in Turkey.
She traveled together with Alain who was on the road for more than a year.
They all had vast experiences in cycling around the world; this is too much for my blog to write about it all!
Tanja invited the young German cyclist (26 year old) for diner.
He was more than one year on the road and had a unique way of (very low budget) cycling.
He played the didgeridoo and harmonica to collect money for cycling.
Crossing the border to Panama
The next day Tanja and I cycled to the border of Panama.
This was the worst border crossing I have ever experienced!
Nowhere there were signs where to receive the stamp in my passport.
If you didn’t speak any Spanish they really turned their back to you, how rude!
They didn’t help and weren’t interested!
In the end we did find the first counter where to have a form to fill in and to another counter where we had to pay $15.
With this ticket, proof of pay, we received the stamp on another counter and were done with leaving Costa Rica.
We had to find the counter to the entering stamp for Panama after this small adventure.
For this I had had to proof that I would leave the country again.
I couldn’t show a paper ticket, but a screen print of my ticket was enough to receive the stamp in no time!
I have heard a lot of horror stories of all kind of trouble at the border, so I was happy that this time consuming part was over.
After a few kilometers I found out the shop didn’t accept Colons (the Costa Rican currency),
so I had to climb the hill again, back to the border where I changed the Colons into the Panama dollar.
This dollar is similar to the American dollar with the same value.
Costa Rica Summary and Tips
Costa Rica was a wonderful country but also the most expensive one in Central America.
I didn’t see it all and can’t say anything about the rest of the country.
It is a country that I can advise people to go to.
It is safe, friendly people and lovely fruitstands along the roads.
Here you can buy fresh fruits and juices.
Also the little stands along the road sometimes sell all kind of natural juices.
I strongly advise people to try these; I enjoyed most of these new flavors!
To name a few;
The next and last story I will make is Panama, Panama City and the flight home.
I will work hard to finish this story before the end of the month
Martha and Ben