While i'm getting my life back together, please look at a fine selection of my photos:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Costa Rica - Pura Vida!

Costa Rica! It's national slogan is "Pura Vida!" (pure live). An oasis of peace and abundant nature in the poor (yes), dangerous (no), hostile (no) and dirty (so-so) rest of Central America. That's in short the marketing strategy of the government of this lovely country. And it sure is a beautiful and divers country.

I'm here for about three weeks now, and i love it. Particular Orosi, a nice village in Valle de Orosi.
A beautiful spot which isn't too much overrun by tourists (yet).

The part i explored so far is Lago Arenal, Fortuna, Orosi and surroundings, Nicoya peninsula (Montezuma, Samara, great gravelroads all over!!) and the pacific coast all the way down to Quepos, where i stayed at Manuel Antonio national reserve. It's HOT in this part of the country. Nice after all the rain i'd seen, but too much for a Dutch guy, and i returned to Orosi to recover from the combination of heat and humidity. I'll stay here at least another week and decided to take a week of spanish classes. Although i made huge progress, which usually shows up after a few beers, i feel the need to improve my grammar.

In the time i spend here i met many interesting and good people, foreighners mainly, who live and work here.  It has my interest, learning how 'extranjeros' try to fit in and live their lives here. The more i see, the more Holland looks like a boring place...


Lago Arenal & Fortuna: My first week in the this part of the country was rainy. Not fun on a bike, no problem for the mainstream tourist which usually ride around the country in small 4x4 cars. Lake Arenal and surroundings are beautiful and lush.

Lake Arenal

Bridge. (duh!)

Orosi as seen
from the hills. Nice.
The village lies in the Valle de Orosi, surrounded by hills with coffee plantations.

I didn't know about Orosi, actually, and if i didn't ran in to Freddy (see below) on my way to the pacific coast, i probably never would end up here.

Random street in Orosi.

There are a lot of luxurious cabins in the hills around Orosi. This one, owned by Jenny is very, very special.

She used to be a cook and started this small scale hotel. The two cabinas are gorgeous and have all luxury, fireplace included!


Daytrip around Orosi. Nice dirtroads in the mountains with Freddy, swiss guy with motorcycle rental business. (http://www.costarica-moto.com/). Francine, his partner makes excellent bread and marmalade. All natural of course...

Freddy rents out Yamaha XT's and XTZ Tenere's ('96-ish models) and does guided tours.

Being a swiss guy, he takes maintenance very serious.

Too me, if you like biketravel, this is an excellent way of exploring Costa Rica and get a feel for central america.

Unpaved roads through sugarcane plantation.

Sugar factory.

Nicoya peninsula.

Caretaker of camping in Montesuma. She's a real sweethart.

After crossing from Puntarenas to the Nicoya peninsula it is a 40 km ride to Montezuma. A tourist place, but small scale. Hotels are expensive, but there is a campsite. Camping on the each is free. Spend a few days around shoestring travelers amongst some free spirits - my term for weirdo's ;-)

Interesting. D.,you definetly do not fall in this catagory!

Waiting for the ferry in Puntarenas, really, the only reason to be there is to take the ferry, believe me, i met Rob on his rented Harley. Canadian working in San Jose in my field of work. Spend some time with him and his family.
Cheers guys, thanks for the beers! To bad i haven't got a picture of you.

View of the campsite.

And yes, even bikers too need to wash their clothes every now and then.

Typical view for the whole coastline at the pacific side of Costarica.

From montezuma you can take gravel/dirtroads following the coastline. Here and there are rivercrossings. This was the longest, other side is the sandy spot above the helmet. In this time of year waterlevels are low.

Pleasant supprise: I 'obtained' a topographical map of costa rice from the internet which proved to be very accurate! Not routable, but the majority of the gravelroads are on it.

Although i have dualsport Pirelli MT90's tires, riding on gravel and this type of rivers is no problem when running on 1,6 bar tirepressure. Amazing how much difference in traction that makes compared with normal pressure.

Downside of doing this stuff alone: No action shots, and if you tip over, you're f*cked. Fortunately i had no problems. I checked every crossing by foot wading through it.

After 9 months my boots are no longer waterproof i noticed ;(

I did reached the limit of traction with these tires though. Did a 180 gr. turn uphil somewhere where it was a bit sandy. If all goes well, you start playing and go faster and faster till...you get it. I managed to control the bike (barely!!) and had a nice big blue spot on my right leg.  If the bike was heavier i probably would have  lost it. Light is Right!

Pretty view.

It looks all pretty cool doesn't it? In reality, although remote, there's quite a bit of traffic, since this road is the only one from Montezuma to Samara. So help is always near by.

This coastal road, and, as i found out when i left Samara, the interior of Nicoya contains lots and of gravelroads connecting numerous small pueblos.

I'm quite suprised i didn't see more dual sport bikes here.

Imagine the fun without luggage and a set of MT21's!!

Samara is a smallscale tourist place, although quit a bit larger than Montezuma. Again with camping. Two couples from spain and france were my neighbors.

We celebrated Bruno's (young guy) birthday. He turned 20. His travelpartner was 18.

Seeing all those young kids travelling sometimes makes me feel old and regretful that i didn't start traveling when i was that age. Not much though. Everyone follows his/her own unique path in live, therefore there's no wrong here.

Besided that, the idea to go from busstation to busstation doesn't really apeal to me anyway...

I left Samara and after playing on gravelroads for a while i took the highway following the pacific coast to quepos/ Manuel antonio national reserve (nice). Made a stop in Jacó (big mistake, springbreak).

Again, camping available. Manuel Antonio is pretty, although not special. Had a good time with people at the campsite, hiked through the reserve (more wildlife at the campsite than in the park...). It was too hot to do really anything.  Fed up with the heat, is returned to Orosi to recover.

So far, Costa Rica is great. Next week spanish classes again. Look forward too it!

Pura Vida!