November 1st and 2nd, 2011
I woke up late, on purpose since I didn’t have far to go. Like all the other Central American countries, in Costa Rica the sun is up, and down, before 6. Personally I find this a little unseemly but I wasn’t asked.
My hotel room had a porch! That was a first for under $20 a night. Air Conditioner kept turning off overnight though.
I hadn’t really unpacked, so getting back on the road was easy. And it didn’t take long at all to get to the coast, which also meant I was out of the mountains for the first time since Mexico.
I think they were building a hotel, but anytime you see an airplane up on blocks you have to take a picture.
Along the coast it was much warmer (must be that whole “Couple thousand feet lower”’ thing) so I took off my rain layer. I saw blue skies for the first time in a while, but it was still raining off an on. It actually felt pretty cool in the heat.
I found the park entrance
and the ‘road’ leading to the beach
Fortunately it wasn’t a very long road.
When I got to the end of it, the park ranger said there weren’t turtles on this beach, and no camping was allowed. I had to go to Colonial beach, there was camping there and that was where the turtles were. He gave me directions, as I had passed it and not even noticed.
Getting a little fancy.
I rode back, looking for the ‘right’ beach. It was all part of the same National Park, and there were still interesting things to see.
“Interesting” being a very broad term.
I wet one beach too far, going to Uvita instead of Colonial. There the ranger (or Costa Rican equivalent) said the turtles were done, about two weeks earlier. I still wanted to camp on the beach, though, and he gave me new directions again.
I found Colonial beach, and there were actually two campsites. One was private and looked a little dodgy, and the other was inside the gates, much closer to the water, for a dollar more. I paid the extra dollar, but I wasn’t allowed to camp right on the beach. I picked a site close enough, and within view of the ranger station.
Yup, I put up the Nomad, despite the abundance of perfect hammock trees. Two reasons – One I could put all my stuff, including the bike, inside and worry less about leaving it to go for a walk, and two this is Costa Rica. When it spent two hours raining in the afternoon I sat inside in a chair reading.
Before and after the rain I went walking along the beach.
The waves were huge, maybe cresting at 6 feet, but it was hard to get a picture that showed scale since no one was surfing. A car with surf boards pulled in, and the people inside sat for a while looking at the water, but left without getting out.
There were a lot of these little guys too
No, they aren’t the same one. And while I have always heard of ‘crabbing,’ where you sort of drift sideways, but I don’t think I had ever actually seen crabs move. They go completely sideways. I don’t really see how that makes sense from an evolutionary stand point, but since crabs are older than humans I guess they’ve figured it out.
As the sun set the beach shrank. I had seen huge Pacific tides before but this was impressive. Before midnight the beach was completely gone, but you will have to be content with a sunset picture-
And why, you might ask, was I still up at midnight? Well the ranger-dude at Colonial said there were still turtles around, though they usually went to Ballena beach (the first one I went too, where the guy sent me away), and there was camping there too, but he was nicer and I liked this beach more. But I still hoped for a turtle, I gave up when the water was at the trees.
The sun woke me up not enough hours later, and I packed up slowly, enjoying camping again, even if the tent is friggin huge. I was back on the road before eight, which was something about camping I had forgotten.
As it turned out, the ride to the border was very short, I was there around 10am. The border was, by far, the easiest to get through since Mexico, although one of the customs people wanted my bags hand searched. The guy in charge of hand searching didn’t even let me get them onto the table before waving me off. It added a good twenty minutes to the whole process.
Then I was in Panama