La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The next day was the border crossing from Nicaragua into Costa Rica, one we'd heard would be a bit easier than previous experiences. Leaving the air-conditioned room and stepping outside meant an instant drenching in sweat.
Charlie, Jules and Christine
Bas accompanied us and the Peñas Blancas crossing ended up being one of the worst.
Getting out of Nicaragua was ridiculously difficult, as there was no real signage, many buses, an insanely ridiculous amount of people and fixers, and some of the silliest organization I've yet seen. We'd all agreed to slam any fixers that came near and they felt it, leaving us alone for the most part. The process took a very long time, as the officials were unhelpful in every way, simply saying no and leaving you to figure out the next move, which involved finding one man wandering the crazy parking lot with forms, then finding the "official" police station which consisted of an officer standing half hidden between two tin sheds, who then required a copy of something, then getting multiple stamps and finding the parking lot dude to check the vin, etc. I'll just say it was close to two hours of utter confusion and heat exhaustion to simply check out of Nicaragua.
The beginning of the process and it goes downhill from there...
Costa Rica was far easier to enter, but still took an hour. We caught up to the German and Australian couple who'd left much earlier than us because they had to wait to buy insurance for over an hour because the lady went to lunch early.
The heat, stupidity, confusion and frustration just knocks your butt out. Bas had gotten a stomach bug the night before and was feeling very bad. By the time we finally got our insurance in Costa Rica and were ready to ride, he was looking very much like he was about to black out. I got him a Coke and water at a little roadside restaurant where we all sat and tried to get refreshed for the road. We'd left the hotel at 9 am and it was now 3 pm and we'd barely made it past the border a mile or so.
La Fortuna was our destination for the night, which was approaching fast. I need to qualify that statement, however. It gets dark at 5:30 each day and the sun comes up about 5:30 in the morning. By 7 pm we can hardly stay awake. A weird experience. Also the rains come in the afternoon definitely, and really anytime during the day. In an effort to save time, we got Garminized and took a road that went to hell pretty fast. Many miles of it were rough dirt and potholes and the crew was getting nervous and tired. Eventually we hit pavement again and finally La Fortuna at dusk.
The hotel we'd booked along with the Aussies and Germans was not easy to find, being off a side road that was all dirt and rock. I rode down to try and find it, and found a building that appeared vacant and abandoned, with no lights or sign. I turned around and rode back to the guys and said it wasn't there, just as Charlie saw a guy running up the road with his cell phone flashlight. Turns out it was Adrian who'd heard my GSA and knew the place looked empty.
We hit the cabana tired, wet and hungry. Paul and Maryna, the Australian couple, and Adrian and Andrea told us to see them at the pool, where they all had brought us drinks and any food they had. It was a great evening.
Breakfast with Adrian and Andrea, Jules and Christine
The next day we four took a walking tour to a rainforest area with multiple suspended bridges near the Arenal Volcano, a beautiful and almost perfect cinder cone mountain.
The walk was great and we saw a fair amount of fauna including monkeys. The drive in was a bit fun as our taxi van died on a hillside from overheating. We sat on the road until it cooled enough to start and the driver made it up another hill to a spot with a water spigot. We watched as he put 3.5 1 gallon bottles of water in the radiator. Being a diesel it was amazing the block didn't crack or warp a head.