Costa Rica or "cost a packet"?
Another country means another border crossing and while we were now in a rhythm of knowing what to expect and what order to do things there was still the inevitable bureaucracy and snags …this time the Costa Rica side!
We had expected a long 6 hour crossing (experiences of past travellers) and it only came in at 4.5 hours! Score!
We had booked accommodation in a forest hideaway only 15 minutes from the border so at least while we were running late we were not going to arrive in the dark.
The place we had booked, a recommendation from a fellow traveller, turned out to be perfect. It was a cabana overlooking a river with a resident crocodile and self guided bush walks along the river.
It was a full board set up (really out on the sticks so no nearby places to eat) and the communal eating hall was a beautifully hand made set up with open sides, again over looking the river. The food was pretty amazing too!
There was a lot of wildlife, we heard monkeys in the night and watched a family of spider monkeys move through the trees on the opposite side of the river, as well as an iguana sunning himself in a tree.
We loved it so much AND it was reasonably priced, that we decided to try and book another night but unfortunately there was no space.
Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America. Visited by a lot of Americans it carries American prices ...we had been pre warned so were on our best "bargain hunting" behaviour.
The next day we moved on to a park called Monteverde. It was a visually stunning and twisty ride up through the mountains; we stopped at a picturesque little cafe with the most stunning views down to the pacif ocean and amazing coffee and chocolate!
Our accomodation that night was 3 kms or so out of town (cheaper!) But they had the option to pre book a meal on their restaurant. We were not expecting much …however the son of this very family run business was a MasterChef wannabe and we were treated to a 5 star meal at truck driver prices! again... Score!
We decided against taking part in any of the tours in the area as they worked out to be $70-80USD and besides the ride up and the beautiful views were reward enough.
We had an end destination in mind; a jungle stay for 3 nights over New Years, but it was a long way so we decided to break it up into two days ride and chose a random place in the mountains west of San Jose for that night and created an interesting route off the main roads and through the mountains!
Wow! We were not expecting the ride ahead, it was stunning! First we climbed to this mountain pass that reached 3400 meters and then we weaved …literally weaved along beautiful mountain roads.
We stopped for lunch at a spot overlooking San Jose in the distance, and passed through interesting little towns. One even had a deserted and derelict cathedral that had been damaged in an earthquake in the 90s.
We ended up at a coffee Finca (farm) which had a beautiful colonial farmhouse (where we were not staying ...waaay out of our price range)!
We had however managed to score the whole of the camping barn with an upstairs bunk room.
In order of ease, we cooked up a manky tin of beans that had been rattling around in the base of our panniers for months and dehydrated potato for dinner.
It was another very cool place to stay and we would have loved to do a coffee tour there but this time it was not money that was against us but time!
We were off to the Corocovda jungle.
We did however take a quick walk around some coffee bushes near by and had a look at some beans.