If you missed the description of our first portion of the Costa Rica trip, see Costa Rica, Part 1.
After checking out from our nice cushy beach resort, then the real adventure began. We had rented a vehicle with the plan of visiting three particular areas of the country. We had received a map of Costa Rica along with our car rental, so we plotted out the route to our next destination. We noted that, according to the map, there were no roads leading to our third destination. Hmm. We decided to concentrate on getting to our second location and figure out the third later on.
We soon found that driving conditions in Costa Rica differ quite a bit from here in the U.S. After leaving the paved Pan American Highway (with a speed limit of 80 kph), we spent many hours driving on unpaved, very rocky, very pot-holed mountain roads, traveling more like 20 kph. When we picked up the rental, the man who helped us explained what sorts of things we shouldn’t do with the vehicle, such as drive drunk or drive through rivers. Really. He added, “Well, you can drive through small rivers.” We found that very funny until we realized that we would have to do just that. All of the bridges we encountered were single lane, and we even found places where a small stream just trickled right across the road with no bridge there at all. Okay, good thing we were allowed to drive in small rivers.
My wonderful husband did all the driving and became a pro at the manual transmission/mountain road driving that was necessary. It stressed me out quite a bit that many of the roads were not marked, so navigation felt pretty uncertain. We came to realize, though, that we could guess the way pretty well because some roads were a little bigger than others. If we took the bigger road, we were almost always correct. One time, we wandered astray in a small town. A man who had been outside his home approached us and pointed us in the right direction.
We made it to our next destination, Arenal Volcano. This is the view from our cabin.
We never saw lava during our visit, but we did see steam coming from the top. The peak of the volcano was covered by clouds for the better part of our visit to the area. I was glad we had gotten to see such a nice view of it when we arrived.
We went to the Arenal Volcano National Park and did some hiking.
We made it to the end of the hike. Passing beyond this point was prohibited.
And this view is looking down from that point.
I was taken with the vegetation growing in these rugged and rocky conditions.
Within the National Park, we also saw this massive ceibo tree.
While in this area, we also visited a nearby town called La Fortuna. We ate at two great restaurants in La Fortuna and did some poking around in art and souvenir shops. Soon enough, it was time to move on. We didn’t linger long in any area on this trip. We had to go, go, go to see all the places on our agenda.
Now it was time to plot out our trip for which there were no roads on the map. The adventure continued!
Have you ever driven in a place quite different from what you’re accustomed to? How did it go?