1,000 KM in Costa Rica With Elephant Moto – Day 8

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

January 6th, 2019 – Playa Hermosa de Jaco, Costa Rica to San Jose, Costa Rica: 65 miles

The trip concludes!

Did you miss Day 7? Vy goes home, and I crash Chris’ vacation.

As I lounged in the backyard and got some work done, I noticed a bird hanging out in the coconut tree next to me.

He apparently noticed me also, because he struck this excellent pose by the time I was able to zoom in closer!

There was barely any traffic on Highway 34, the main road out of Playa Hermosa – but that would change very quickly.

When we’re on the road, Vy is always on the lookout for wildlife signs with new animals. I had to snap a photo of this one for her.

Oddly enough, there was a beginner MX track right off the main road. I had seen this on the way to Chris’ place yesterday, but I didn’t have time to check it out. Today, I did! I took a very slow lap for fun, and temporarily wished I was back on my KTM 450XC.

I assume that you can do the translation on this yourself.

Known as “Crocodile Bridge”, this spans Rio Tárcoles. Tourists park on either side and then walk on the bridge to admire the crocs.

Someone dropped their hat into the river, and the crocodiles were briefly excited about what they thought was a potential meal.

So weird looking.

A couple of ladies were touring on this United Motors Renegade Commando, a 278cc cruiser.

They had a stuffed animal of their own as a travel buddy.

As a few people explained to me, many Ticos head out to the coast to celebrate New Year’s. As today was a Sunday, this meant that there was serious traffic heading back inland towards the capital. Costa Rica solves this problem by temporarily making some highways one way! As you can see from the sign below, one lane of traffic was about to be reversed.

It was so odd to be riding in the wrong lane…

…but it was nothing compared to going the wrong way on a full-on highway! Traffic wasn’t even bad – I didn’t feel a need to go on the “wrong” side, I just felt like I should because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get a chance to take a photo like this ever again:

Eventually I got back into San Jose and to the Elephant Moto shop. It was clear that Chris has plenty of international motorcycle adventure experience himself, as he’s designed his shop to make life easier for fellow travelers.

This photo is from the first day of the trip…which is why Vy’s in the background.

Upstairs, there’s a lounge of sorts with comfortable seating so you can relax while you pack up all your gear before heading to the airport. Elephant Moto gets serious bonus points because they also have a shower so you can become a normal human instead of a dirty off-roader/camper before you hop on a flight. I took full advantage of the facilities, making sure that I grabbed an Imperial from the fridge before washing off the sand I had accumulated from the beach this morning. What a relaxing way to wrap things up!

I had plenty of time before my flight, which meant I had some time to reflect about what Chris has built with Elephant Moto Costa Rica. If you’ve been following Bike-urious for a while, you know I have a soft spot for motorcycle-related startups. It’s tough to start any type of company, but breaking into motorcycling is especially difficult as there’s much more passion than money.

A semi-tangent – I was at the Petersen Museum for the opening of the Silver Shotgun exhibit a couple of weeks ago when Bike-urious reader Jeremy S introduced himself. We ended up getting dinner a couple of days later and he shared a story from his time as the Sales Director at Lito Motorcycles.

He mentioned something that made me laugh, because it reminded me of all the people that ask me if I can make an introduction to Jay Leno. At one point Jeremy was on a road trip of the US, showing the Lito Sora to as many people as he could. He was given an introduction to Jay and wanted to get the Sora on Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno’s response was simple: “Come back to me in three years“. It wasn’t that the product was bad and needed improvement, it’s just that Leno has heard from countless people that want help spreading the news about their new company or product even though they’re unable to stay in business even just a few months later. That must have been discouraging at the time, but Jeremy himself now says that “Jay was right“.

Elephant Moto Costa Rica is a couple of months away from hitting the Leno-approved three year mark, and Chris keeps investing in his company and his abilities as a tour guide. Vy and I were on a R1200GS, but Elephant now offers the R1250GS and the F850GS for rentals. Every time I look at Chris’ Facebook page, it seems like he’s either on a new trip or completing a new certification. Since Vy and I went to see him, Chris has become a Certified Tourguide with BMW Motorrad’s International Tourguide Academy as well as a Certified Instructor from BMW Motorrad’s International Instructor Academy, both of which required him to travel to Germany for training from corporate. The company is also an official partner of BMW Motorrad, but I couldn’t tell you what that actually means.

Again, you don’t get into this business for the money. You do it because you’re passionate about bikes (in Chris’ case, specifically BMWs), you’re passionate about where you live, and you want to share that with people. That’s great, but if you’re a potential customer, me saying that “Chris is a great guy” isn’t really enough to have you pull out a credit card. Instead, you should seriously consider going with Elephant Moto because Chris is committing resources, he knows his stuff, and he’s done several private tours already. You can do what Vy and I did (get a bike and some advice and then head out on your own), but you should also think about getting a group of buddies together and having Chris and/or Juanca lead so they’re taking care of all the administrative work and you’re just enjoying yourselves. They’re skilled enough on bikes that they can lead a pavement-only or aggressive dirt tour, and the bikes are prepped accordingly.

What was most important for me is Elephant’s flexibility with budgets. If you can splurge for the nice stuff, you should obviously do that! Some of the lodging options in Costa Rica are absolutely incredible. But Chris will work with you and spend a lot of time personalizing the trip to your desires, even if you’re like me and need to be friendly to your wallet. No matter your budget and if you’re riding 1-up or 2-up, you won’t go wrong with a visit to Elephant Moto Costa Rica.

Vy and I are currently planning on where we’re going to go for a motorcycle trip this summer – Japan is currently in the lead. If you’re also in the process of figuring out what you’re going to do for summer vacation this year, reach out to Chris and see how he can help you create your own wonderful trip!

If you go, make sure you visit the fridge and see if you can find the Bike-urious sticker I left right before I departed…

Before you leave Costa Rica, you have to pay a $29 “departure tax” at the airport.

Back when I was getting my MBA at UCLA, I met a great group of employees (including Nathan, who has taken countless photos for Bike-urious over the years) and we’ve stayed in touch after I graduated. Four of us regularly get together over drinks to catch up, and we have a standing policy that if any of us leaves the country, we’re obligated to come back with a bottle of liquor from that country to share – we call it “International Night”. Ever since Vy and I went to Cuba, I’ve become obsessed with Havana Club rum. Costa Rica didn’t have any liquor that I found to be particularly special, and Havana Club isn’t sold in the US, so I bought the maximum amount that I was allowed to import to the US (5 liters) from the duty free shop.

Back in the US, we all enjoyed some Havana Club together while I regaled my friends with tales of Costa Rica. Hopefully you enjoyed this multi-part tale as well!

Got any questions about riding in Costa Rica or renting from Elephant Moto? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help. Thanks for reading!