1,000 KM in Costa Rica With Elephant Moto – Day 5

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January 3rd, 2019 – Brasilito, Costa Rica to Liberia, Costa Rica: ~60 miles


Did you miss Day 4? Vy and I visit a sloth sanctuary.

Our hosts had breakfast ready for us in the morning, but Vy was more interested in an uninvited pool guest. I had no interest in getting close to a large tarantula.

Goodbye to our lovely hosts!

As a reminder, check out Mojo Surf if you’re in the area and want to get some surf lessons.

Knowing that Vy loves hikes and nature, Chris at Elephant Moto had chosen for us to stay at Hacienda Guachipelin tonight. This is something that probably would not have happened if Vy and I had planned the trip ourselves – we have the nasty habit of trying to cram too much into every trip because we figure it could be years before we get back to the location (if we ever do at all). That means we end up spending too much time on the bike each day trying to cover lots of distance, and sometimes it can feel more like work than a vacation. Having Chris plan the trip was a good reminder that it can be nice to minimize time on the road and maximize time enjoying the destination. I figure he probably knows what he’s doing, considering he does this for a living!

So Vy and I hit the road, and we were quickly surprised to be in Philadelphia…sort of.

There are two main airports in Costa Rica – one in the capital of San Jose, and one in northwestern Costa Rica in the city of Liberia. Tucked away from the main passenger terminal were a couple of parked government-owned planes that I liked. The big one is a de Havilland Caribou. Costa Rica doesn’t have a formal Air Force, but the federal police has an air unit called the Air Vigilance Service. According to Wikipedia, this is one of two ex-US Air Force Caribous that were delivered to Costa Rica in the 80s.

It (along with the Snoopy image) was refurbished in July of 2010.

More interesting to me was the small plane right in front, but I have no idea what it is. Can you identify it?

Hacienda Guachipelin is a hotel on a ~3,500 acre private estate that’s very close to Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Rio Negro Hot Springs. It caters towards people who want to hike, raft, bicycle, and generally be active in the beauty of nature – which is why you have to be careful about unexpected wildlife crossing the road, such as a coati.

Because we got into the park with plenty of time to spare, Vy wanted to take on one of the longest hikes: La Cangreja (the crab) waterfall. It’s a bit over 6 miles round trip, and you have to start the hike before noon – park rangers close the trail entrance afterwards. There are some rocky and muddy sections and a bit of elevation change, but it’s nothing crazy. Bring bug spray!

As had become the norm, we got to see all kinds of wildlife on our hike. I particularly enjoyed watching a family of capuchin monkeys.

Vy was presumably inspired and did her best monkey impression.

We also saw a cool lizard, but Vy did not try doing an impression of this one.

After approximately 90 minutes, our reward was some time alone at the crab waterfall – plus we got a bonus rainbow! We lounged around for a bit and enjoyed the solitude, but unfortunately there was a recent rule change and hikers are no longer allowed to swim in the lake. Still, I soaked my t-shirt in the water to help keep me cool, and we started the journey back.

Vy’s 5’1″, so you can estimate how big this overturned tree trunk is!

I fell in love with all the Toyota Land Cruisers that were in Costa Rica. This is a shorty FJ70 – a generation that was not officially sold in the US. It looks so purposeful with the snorkel, winch, and roof rack.

While I was fawning over the Land Cruiser, Vy had found something that was worth her adoration in the same parking lot.

It wouldn’t be a day in Costa Rica on the bike without a little bit of easy dirt.

Bikes just look better when they’re dirty!

Our day at the resort concluded with yet another hike – I think Vy was trying to kill me with cardio. We got up to the top of a hill near our room and waited for the sun to go down. Costa Rica is beautiful.

Tomorrow we get back on the road and head towards Arenal Volcano National Park!

On to Day 6!

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