Lovely night's sleep, got ready and left by 7.30 . Had a glimpse at some of Costa Rica’s famous stone spheres - 2 meters in diameter - from well before Columbus' time. The road, according to the map, was supposed to be next to the sea side but in reality it was mostly divided with rain forest or banana plantations (what was left of the plantations). The first 40 km was semi difficult, with some hills, the other 75 was mostly flat with a small head wind, very happily received. Hot and humid, no mercy. Stopped for a coffee about 20 km before Quepos and met a Canadian couple on an organized tour just returning from rafting. It turned out that the husband was originally Ukrainian and his wife French. Talked about Cuba and travels. Very pleasant break. Arrived in Quepos at 4pm. 115km clocked . Found a hotel with a sea and park view for 12 dollars. Not bad considering the town is booming. Manuel Antonio National Park in nearby, which is the most visited national park in CR – it explains the difficulty in finding accommodation full stop. I will try to visit the park tomorrow. I lost my voice due to the fact that I haven’t taken care of my health seriously . I am trying the old trick of eating raw garlic. Will see if it has worked tomorrow.
I was firstly woken up by the Swedes leaving at 4 am, then by cockerels, then by a French guy setting off at 5 am for the national park bus (his parents were from Venarey les Laumes) and finally an American lorry parked outside the hotel. Eventually, I gave up on trying to sleep and I jumped on the internet for an hour. My throat was not in a good shape, so had some onions with cream cheese sandwiches for breaky. Packed down and set off for a race with time. The first 20km was very easy and full of wild life (colourful parrots, lizards, iguanas and lots of birds singing like crazy). It was very hot and humid and the hills began to make my life difficult. I had only taken 2 litres of water and nearly ran out. A road side dilapidated drink store had some warm water (the fridge was turned off) … perfect for my throat. Got 2x 500ml (only size they had). Tried my rubbish Spanish and was told that there was another 22 km to the Panamericana road (the main trunk road from Panama City all through Central America to the States). Got to the cross roads and had lunch at the petrol station. A random ex Cuban started talking to me but when he started asking me for clothes, I had to run to get some peace.
Another 35 dangerous kms on a single track main road with no hard shoulder. Luckily for me, not too many lories, just lots of private cars with duty free stuff from Golfito. Finally, totally knackered after a sweaty 107km, I arrived in Palmar Norte. On the main junction I tried the bank (too late), bakery and pharmacy to find something to help my throat - a bit of a price shocker comparing to Panamas medical prices. The hotel was really good and an English speaking guy helped me bargain 4 dollars off the original price of 16. Air con and a tele, not bad. Had a snack on the bridge at sunset and retired to indulge myself in the BBC Entertainment TV Channel. I’d managed to burn my back and arms in the sun - falling apart like an old man ….
Got up at 4.30 and had to drag the poor Dutch guy out of the bed (he was still pissed). The first half an hour, we were walking in the dark with touches. Only 5 of us were setting out on the second leg of the trip - 2 Swedes, an Ozzie, the Dutch guy and myself. About an hour and a half to the hike Tom, the guy from Holland, realised that he had left his money belt with his passport at Sirena station, so he returned alone (not the safest idea…). I think last night’s rum had something to do with his memory. Nearly stepped on a black snake which quickly disappeared into the bush – “no worries” here, the Ozzie works in a wildlife rescue centre at home and is used to dealing with snakes. The hike was more challenging and longer than yesterday but with a smaller group and mostly fit males we managed to finish by 1 o’clock. A taxi had been pre-booked for 3pm, but it has arrived early interrupting a siesta sleeping session. We drove through approx 25 rivers to get to the main road, past funky birds and green iguanas. A shower and an Italian meal followed by few beers was exactly what was needed. Painful legs hopefully will not effect my chase with the time tomorrow. I need to be in San Jose airport on the 6th (not an easy one). Cycled 0 km in last two days, walked 42km.
Total odometer at the mo is 2544km
Teresa and Tadek
Inexperienced cycle tourists of Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Thailand, Laos & Cambodia