Tag Archives: Driving

Meet my ride

This summer I bought a car ! It’s my first car ever :D

Since I got it, I have invested in a new stereo equipment (I can’t have a car that is not compatible to play music from my Android phone in), new front wheels and new breaks.

However it works like a charm and it was really cheap (I only paid about $1000 USD for it (and about the same for the new breaks…)

I love having a car and I love being able to drive around. It does give you a certain feel of freedom (and its sooo much easier to get groceries home from the store now…) and I can travel so much easier now :D

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Going Extreme…

I’m what you normally call an office rat. I dont lead a boring life, but sometimes quite quiet.

However this trip has been all about the extremes whether that be sports or other extreme experiences. The only extreme experiences I miss out on this time are Bungee Jumping and River Rafting and with all the other action from this trip… I’m happy to pass on that!

I had a lot of exiting adventures during these 5 weeks in Costa Rica:

Like the Earthquake that reached 6.0 on Richters Scale where we were less than 100 Kms from the epicenter. Thankfully it only lasted 15 seconds and hence no big damage was done. However it was quite exiting while it lasted !

Swimming in Tropical Waters – with Sharks, Whales, Sting Rays, venomous JellyFish like the Portuguese Man o War  – (Thankfully febuary is off season for the man o war, but watch out in june / july when you are swimming. I was actually hit by one of the Portuguese man of War back in 1999 and Man do they hurt. 2 hours of intense pain. Imagine a kickboxer kicking you straight in solar plexus with all the force in the world and that pain stays for 2-3 hours before fading. On top of that the venom will make you feel nauseous and dizzy. The scar from the tentacles lasted 9 months).

Tree Climbing – At Hacienda Baru with Rapelling to get down. This part was really cool, but I was tired before I started and just wanted to sleep :D

Extreme Canopy with the Tarzan Swing, Rappelling and the 1 km Superman flight to top it. This was just amazing. Really awesome.

Night Hikes in the Jungle – Meeting some of the most poisonous snakes in the world. They say that you never see 99% of the snakes hiding in the jungle. On this trip I have seen 6 snakes. This means I have walked past a minimum of 594 other snakes … Only God knows how many of them were poisonous. And then to top that venomous spiders, frogs, scorpions and lots of other creatures!
Night Hike in Monteverde.

Driving in Costa Rica is in some areas quite innocent, but then you get to more metropolitan areas and you just realize you drive like them or you die.
You honk the horn, you drive on yellow and red lights, you squeeze in front of other cars (or they will never let you have your turn and the people behind you will honk their horns angrily at you).
Apart from this in most areas the roads are really bad.

As if Driving in Costa Rica is not extreme enough – try Driving in Costa Rica at night !
Why is this so extreme? Try driving on roads that has no markings in the road, no lights to show you where the edges end and cars driving towards you with their lights blinding you and suddenly you realize 3 cars on a row comes towards you in your lane passing the 4 cars in the other

And just to push it up a few step: Drive a car in the Metropolitan areas: AT NIGHT!  Man I was scared shitless. But again. A thrill out of few.

Heredia to Liberia
Volcan Poas
Sierpe to Heredia
Hacienda Baru to Sierpe
Manuel Antonio to Hacienda Baru
Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde
Liberia to Fortuna de San Carlos
Playa Potrero

WHAT  A THRILL !!!

I need to reconsider my normally quiet life in Norway :D

Returning from San Jose to Liberia with a stop in San Ramon to visit Nel Lopez!

I woke up 8-9 am and had breakfast with Lorena and Mario before I started to pack up my stuff and prepare to leave.

Lorena had a new appointment with her eyedoctor after her operation and while they were away I wrapped up my packing and once they got back Mario drew me a map on how to drive from their house to the highway towards Liberia.

I checked my Facebook email and I had an email from a local Costa Rican comedian, Nel Lopez. I wrote him a few days ago to ask if he still sells CDs from his show and hearing that I was a fan from Norway he wanted to invite me to his home to get to know me.

So, after taking off from Lorena and Marios house my first stop was in San Ramon. San Ramon is a village about 1 hour towards Puntarenas (and the coast) and once I arrived I called him to get directions. Nels daughter Maria Jesus came to get me and lead me to the house.

I had a great time getting to know Nel and his family. I have known about Nels Jokes and CDs since years and had many a good laughs from his jokes. It was real fun and he told me heaps of jokes and his wife served Arroz con Leche and home made lemon juice. Sooo good !!!

We took pictures and Nels daughter even took one with Nels camera that they posted on his facebook profile. So Cool. I got a few CDs and then Nel gave me one that has still not been released on top of that and they sent with me empanadas (sooo good). Really delicious.

I had to move on but first Nel accompanied me to Pops Ice Cream shops where we had Ice Cream and told eachother jokes :D Ha! Awesome day.

From San Ramon I moved on towards Liberia and I had a stop at a souvenir shop at Cuenca and at Monteverde Restaurant to have a bite. The trip went mostly fine. I may have driven a bit too fast a few times (I think my worst breach of local traffic laws was 85 in the 25 kmph zone, but that was following the traffic and the queue). In one of the 25 kmph zones there was a police control, but thankfully they did not stop us despite driving in 60 kmph (following the queue again).  However what they did do when they discovered I was a female and blond driver was to throw kisses at me.. I love this country!

I arrived at home just as the sunset was over and it got dark. I still had just a little light left when I arrived (I really dislike driving in the dark here due to such poor visibility and conditions), but it was awesome to finally arrive home after this 2,5 weeks trip. I had dinner with my family and then I unpacked and sorted dirty clothes to wash tomorrow. Then I just enjoyed spending time at home !

Returning to Volcan Poas

Most of the morning I spent sleeping and relaxing. I was still tired after the long drive 2 days ago, but for the afternoon I had scheduled to meet a friend and visit the Poas Volcano.

I met Mario at 1 AM by Pops at the Central Park in Heredia. From there we drove to his grandparents house to greet them and also to ask his grandfather how we should drive to get to volcan Poas.

We took off and mostly we felt quite sure about the way. However at one point there were no signs to let us know where to go on further. Mario thought we may have to take to the right so we went with his intuition (despite of what 3 of his couchsurfers have posted in the references that he is the worst co-pilot in Costa Rica – Im probably NOT the best driver here though). We found the signs further on and felt sure that we were on the right track again :D From there on it was really easy – however there were lots of heavy transports driving up the mountain hills and they were NOT particularly fast so we didn’t get there fast. However we had time to explore the beautiful nature driving up the mountain and watch the change of scenery.

The first time I visited Volcan Poas was back in 1993 with my mom and grandma that came to see me during my High School exchange year. Both the Crater and the lagoon were covered by clouds and todays luck was no better. A huge cloud (nope – not mist) had covered the crater and today I had no greater luck. However I had great company and lots of fun and now I just have a reason to come back – to see the crater and the lagoon on my third try :D

Volcan Poas is a stratovolcano and it lies within two vast calderas at the height of 2,708 meter over sea level. The southernmost of two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear, and last erupted about 7,500 years ago. The other is warm and acidic and has been the site of frequent eruptions since the first was reported in 1828. Eruptions often feature geyserlike ejections of lake water.

One of the rangers told us that it had had a 50 meter high geysirlike erruption just today !!! Awesome ! And we missed it :(

Do not descend to the crater.

Beautiful nature. Hidden in clouds.

My company and team mate from Couchsurfing MDST Mario. The view is hidden in a cloud.

Me with a poor mans umbrella

At 4 pm the rangers started making sure the visitors started moving towards the exits and we did as well, but while enjoying the beautiful nature. On our way down we drove with calm and made several stops along the way to buy queso de Palmito and strawberries (not so easy to find in the hotter lowlands).

However, today I had my first encounter with the law.
I was driving and took a wrong turn into a one-way street just in front of a local police officer. He honked his horn and I stopped and he came over. In the mirror he looked angry, but when he came over and saw me his face lit up in a smile and then he asked me; Are you lost my love? I heard Mario laugh beside me while I, of course, played the lost card to its full and asked for directions and explanations and then explaining how we had gotten lost and this and that. Awesome !
Then he directed me while I backed up to the cross and could turn in the right way :D Then he saw us off with; Have a nice day my love :D
I love Costa Rica !

We moved on and stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sunset.

Then we got lost again and just as we were most lost I decide to turn on the radio and the first 2 lines that streams are:

Que nos paso? ¿Porqué nos perdimos?
Meaning: What happened? How did we get lost? And of course… We both burst into laughter. It was soooo perfectly timed. Hehehe

However, finally we found Alajuela and with that also Heredia and finally it was time to have lunch (and dinner). We went to a restaurant in Heredia with traditional food and had a lovely meal before I went home to my family and Mario moved on back to Rohrmoser.

Crossing the Mountain of Death

This morning I woke up at 5:45 for having slept too much yesterday. That was way early, but I guess some days are just like that.

I had breakfast by myself, but were joined a bit later by Jerker (Sweden), Mark and Kathy (Canada) as they were also scheduled for an early leave. We should have been picked up at 7 am, but apparently 7 am meant 7:45 (hora tica).

Kathy and Mark

Sunrise

We were picked up by La Chanchita (the same boat that took us to Bahia Drake) and the boat was loaded when we left for Sierpe. The same Canadian couple that let me borrow the sunscreen on my way here were on their way to Palmar Norte as well.

The tour from Bahia Drake was quite calm. We took a shortcut through some beautiful mangrove rivers.

We arrived there before 9 am and Kathy, Mark and I exchanged good bye hugs and then I gave the other Canadian couple a ride to Palmar Norte where we finally were able to get money out of the bank !!!

And then I set off towards the coastal highway and the north. I stopped at Dominical for a short break and some lunch and a visit to an art gallery where I got a few souvenirs. At this moment I had still not decided whether I should travel by the coastal route or cross the Mountain of Death. The last time I crossed the mountain of Death I was scared shitless and it was soooo cold. Less than 7 C. The road was wet and slippery, it was raining and buses and trailers were passing eachothers in curves that ended up 400 meters down. For a week now I have dreaded the Mountain of Death. El Cerro de La muerte got its famous name because in the old days when travellers were crossing the mountain from the south to the capitol area, they often froze to death because of the temperature differences from the coastal areas. In the later times it kept its name due to serious traffic accidents with cars over the years.

And just because I was scared to cross the Mountain of Death – I decided I had to go that route ! All the rest of my trip has been pure extreme sport. Why not this trip?

Just 10 kms from the Intersection I found Costa Ricas biggest Reptile Park – Reptilandia. It was awesome. A great amount of rare reptiles and amphibians. You may have guessed by now that I am quite fascinated by those…  Of course I stopped there and spent a good deal of time there.

The route further on was beautiful. Nature was so gorgeous. It was incredibly scenic!. Of course I remembered very wrong how bad the road was and I had a blast crossing the moutain route.


I arrived in Cartago at 4 pm. Just in time for the metropolitan rush … And even better yet… I had no fucking clue on how to drive to get to Heredia where my family lives the easiest way and … My phone was dead since this morning. Interesting !

I stopped at a pet store where the owner was nice enough to let me borrow her phone to call my Tica Sister and ask for directions. A man walked into the store while I was on the phone and he heard me trying to find a reasonable explanation on how to find my way around the city and asked the owner what I needed directions for. So he drew me a map.  A very easy map.

Take to the right at this street, drive until you get to a Y cross, take the left. Continue on that streep until you find Uruca. Take to the right. Follow that car until you get to the roundabout with statues and drive towards the Hatillos and then follow that road until you get to the Pozuelo cookie factory and take a right turn straight after that and drive until you are in Heredia. Then you can call your family.

I must admit. I got lost 1 time only and I managed to find my way back and find the right way. However I spent 4 HOURS crossing San Jose and I had spent only 5 hours driving from far down the south before crossing the capitol area. I was dead tired already arriving San Jose. No battery left on the cell and I stopped at Pops Ice Cream to get some fuel and charge the phone before finding out where I was about to go next to find my familiy. I was so tired I didnt remember I dont eat gluten product anymore and ate the ice cream in a cookie (which resulted in a terrible stomach ache later on) and then finally I managed to communicate with my family and get the last directions on how to get to the house. I found Wal Mart and they picked me up at a gas station just behind it. I was about 500 meters from the house when I didn’t manage to find the rest of the way any more.

Oh man did it feel good to arrive. I was close to falling asleep from how tired I was. I was fed and I stayed up to talk with the family for a bit, but then I was too exhausted and I just wanted to sleep. I think it was one of the most welcome encounters with the pillow in a LOOOONG time :D

Hacienda Baru to Bahia Drake

We set off quite early from Hacienda Baru this morning (just after breakfast) and drove the 55 km down the coast to Sierpe. Sierpe is a port and there we parked the car, got some cash and got all the stuff we needed for Corcovado. From Sierpe we had to take a taxi boat further on to Bahia Drake.

The boat trip took us about 40 minutes and it was quite a nice trip. A nice Canadian couple shared on the sun-block that I had stuffed away in my back-pack in the front of the boat. Most of the trip was uneventful, but we did run on a sandbank once. However all went well and we continued shortly after.

When we arrived at El Mirador Lodge we were picked up by Bob, a long time staying Canadian friend of the owners of the hotel. We were taken up the hill to the hotel and boy does it have a beautiful view.

The first person we run into at the hotel is another swedish guy, Jerker (he goes under the name Jack in english while travelling), and we were served a delicious lunch. After lunch Jerker and Magnus went for a walk and I stayed behind to relax and update my blog. As the day went on and the night was approaching – who other shows up at the hotel to search for our new Swedish friend, Jerker, than Magnus’ parents (that we also met in Manuel Antonio National Park and went for dinner with at El Avion Restaurant).

They had befriended Jerker the previous day and just came to search for him to say goodbye because it was their last night in Bahia Drake.

Magnus sure was surprised when he and Jerker came back for Dinner.

At the Mirador Lodge they server fantastic food. 3 meals are included each day in your stay and the price is quite reasonable. For dinner there is 3 courses. Delicious meals and dessert !!! Oh so yummy :D Today we had salad, casado and flan de coco for dinner. Magnus’ parents stayed at the hotel until after dinner and we had time to talk a bit before they moved on.

And after yet another very eventful day I crashed in my bed just after 9pm.

Lunch at Playa Dominical

This morning we set off from Manuel Antonio, with a short stop in Quepos, towards Hacienda Baru and Dominical Beach.

It was a nice drive. Roads were good and the distance was not too far. Just 44 km. We reached Hacienda Baru at 10:30 and registered for the Night in the Jungle Hike. The Night in the Jungle tour was pre-booked since quite a while, but we just wanted to let them know we were there before we took off for Lunch at Playa Dominical.

Dominical Beach is just 3 kms away from Hacienda Baru and it is a great surfing beach. However it is not so nice for the regular swimmer as you can see from the great waves (and the underwater currents which you cant see).

However I went for a swim first and then I spent the rest of the time to watch our stuff and work on making my pale nordic winter skin become less pale and more tropical just like these gringos:

For lunch we found a nice beachside Restaurant named Tortilla Flats where we ordered a casado each.

And we even have to cover up with a towel at a beach restaurant. Hrmf

Lunch was great and once done we went back to the car just to realize that none of the people that had arrived after us had considered that we were there just for lunch and the car owners were long gone by when we arrived. Hence. We were locked in. We had to find a few people with cars on the inside and maneuver through the palms and find a path through the sand to get out. Interesting, but we managed :D

Now we are back at Hacienda Baru and awaiting our night in the Jungle.