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05.02.10 Costa Rica
Today is the day where we are leaving our comfortable nest, back on the road, in the heat, in the dust, in the unknown. I am excited but I am also a little bit scared. It was such a safe place where we were. Paolo, the gardener here, he is a lovely humble man. Yesterday I gave him a finger ring that I was given by another gardener in Mexico who also swept the leafs all the time. At that day in Mexico, I gave away a little angel that hung at my handle bar. I gave it to the gardener in Mexico, and he gave me the ring in exchange. And now, I gave away this ring to the other gardener Paolo and I got another angel at the same day, not from him but from our German friends that came over and said good bye to us. The universe seems to want to show us, that things we give away come back to us. Why not live in abundance???

We finished cleaning the house and said good bye to our generous hosts and dear friends. Thank you so much, dear Babsi and Ueli!!! I remember, when we got here almost 2 months ago, the grass was still in a lush green. Now it had turned yellow, there is no rain anymore until May or June. We will miss our friends but at the same time it feels good to be back on our bikes again. We stopped after 12 km in Liberia at the German bakery to stuff our faces for the last time with these tasty cinnamon buns. At about noon we started to head towards the coast, riding down the Nicoya peninsula. We rode through some villages and were in the hills again. Up and down these hills.... and after a long uphill we relaxed into a long nice downhill on a nicely paved road and all in sudden the road stopped at the beach! Hm, this is the end of the road... Something is wrong here. We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, which means we have to cycle up this monster hill again to get back to the right road. We ran out of water, energy and almost out of daylight. It was already 5pm. And my wrist hurt. At a luxury hotel that we passed on our way, the security guy who worked there, organized a friend with a pick up truck who gave us a ride to the top of the hill, to a little village where we could stay in somebody's backyard. Our planned destination for today was Potrero beach, but you never know what happens and where you will end up... We set up our tent in the backyard of that family and the woman cooked for us as there was no restaurant or comedor close by. Exhausted we sat on some chairs and rubbed each others feet and legs. It didn't take long and their daughter brought us massage oil, isn't that nice... We went to our tent at 8pm and heard the loud screaming howler monkeys in the distance.
Resume: Canas Dulces-Nuevo Colon, 61km, 35-42 degrees.
LINK: Photos 315-320

06.02.10 Costa Rica
The howler monkeys were active most part of the night, and once they were right above us in a tree and screaming so loud. Uuuuuh uhhhhhhh uhhhhhh uhhhhh. These monkeys are so small, how can they scream so loud??? They could imitate Bhinti really well. Ha ha! The dogs and roosters joined the concert and when the first sunrays hit out tent, we got up and packed. Before we left we had a flat tire, that means the bags are coming off the bike again... After a good Tico breakfast (beans, rice, eggs, fried banana) we left and followed the rocky gravel roads, riding through a shallow river. We rode up and down on the gravel road, and the last 10 km were really steep. So steep that we had to push up our bikes. Both of us pushed up one bike, then the other one including all the weight of the bags... sweating in the heat, breathing like crazy. The downhill was so steep and rocky, we had to walk down making sure our bikes don't slip away. It took us 2 hours to get over these monster hills, then we found ourselves in a beautiful and undeveloped bay at the ocean. What a nice reward. Pelicans dived vertically into the water and hunted for fish. We had something to eat and then we realized that Bhinti lost one walking shoe. What to do? Going back up these rocky monsterhills? Okay, we took off the bags of Bhinti's bike and he left, looking for his shoe. After one hour he came back, no shoe. At least he still has his riding shoes. The last kms, the sandy road was flat and we arrived in a little Tico village, in Brasililto. A sandy side road ended at the beach in front of a river that is connected to the ocean at rainy season. There was a house with rooms and we asked the man, if we could camp. No problemo. We also got a room to lock up our bikes and even had internet. The whole house was under construction and it seemed like that the junk that was lying everywhere around, had been there for a long time. The man was German and he has obviously gone Tico. Why bother! So we set up our tent at the river and wondered along the beach and through the village. It was a lovely bay with hills in the distance and some rocky little islands at the horizon. The town itself was tico village with lots of humble little houses, sandy roads, and nice little restaurants. There were no hotels, no big buildings, no developments, it all looked really natural. We rested our tired bones in one the hammocks on the property where we camped, watching the sun going down, being glad not to move. Lots of pushing bikes up the hills today, sweating like crazy and our hearts were thumping. In bed by 7pm.
Resume: Nuevo Colon-Playa Brasilito, 20km, 35-46 degrees.
LINK: Photos 321-334

08.02.10 Costa Rica
Again, we heard the howler monkeys and also fish jumping in the river, we listened to the waves and smelled the salt in the air. It feels nice to be back at the ocean. We went for a morning swim and walked to the next bay. There are so many little hidden gems here. And it is so clean and quite safe. I remember the beach in La Libertad in El Salvador with all its garbage and lots of armed security guys walking around. Every place is unique. Yesterday, we realized that Bhinti's cycle shoes were stolen. Okay, now he really is shoeless. Hmmm, what is that all about? We phoned up a sport shop at a beach only 30km far away from here. They had cycle shoes, so we took the bus to Tamarindo beach. No shoes that fit him. So the next day we took a bus back to Liberia, which was about 75km far away. Fortunately he found some comfortable riding shoes and of course we had to stop at the German Bakery before we took the bus back to Brasilito. Resume: Stay in Playa Brasilito.
LINK: Photos 335-337, video 180

09.02.10 Costa Rica
We packed our tent and left Brasilito at 8.30am. Had breakfast in a town 6km further. The road was paved, that changed quickly. We took the quiet and sandy back roads. We passed lots of teak wood plantations. After 30km we stopped at Playa Avellana, a beautiful white and wide beach with palm trees on it and blue-green water. A gringo hangout with chill out music, big wooden chairs and tables, and a variety of international food. Nice break. Then we went back on the gravel road. At the next beach, at playa Negra, some Americans in their truck stopped and asked us where we were going, then they offered us a place to pitch the tent. Okay. We drove through a guarded gate through a Gringo community and not much later we arrived at their house. Welcome in Gringoland. Somehow it felt like we were in Florida. We set up our tent, unloaded our bikes and rode to the beach village checking out the beach. It was a remote beach with trees and surfers. We met lots of Gringos, most of them live here. They escaped the grid, the system in the States and started a new life here. We rode back to the American community in the dark. Another early night...
Brasilito. Resume: Playa Brasilito-Playa Negra, 30km, 36-43 degrees.
LINK: Photos 338-344

10.02.10 Costa Rica
We packed and had breakfast in Playa Negra. A Canadian woman told us a shortcut along the coast line, a gravel back road of the gravel back road. We passed more teak wood forests, there was no traffic at all. After a while it got really hilly again. It was hot. Up and down these hills... I was fighting with exhaustion. The sweat ran down my face. We passed more black and white beaches. What a beautiful remote area it is here. It is so peaceful and quiet. Somehow I feel it more and more that I feel like less and less talking, keeping more to myself. I love the silence and I am happy when Bhinti does the talking to other people. So many times we have been asked where we started our trip, where we are going to and how long we have been on the road, and of course, what we are going to do after our trip. People take interest in our trip. More long and steep monster hills to manage, so we kept pushing our heavy bikes up the steep gravel road, breathing like crazy. Slowly we moved meter by meter, I started to get angry with the hills, started swearing at them. As if that would change anything... :-) We also had several rivers to cross. The water was just shallow enough to keep our bags dry. The last 5 km were flat, thank god. It was afternoon when we rode into the little beach village Ostional. We found a nice place where we could set up our tent. It was in the back of a building with rooms for guests. The backyard was full of leafs and chickens and 2 roosters, an old rusty car skeleton and a big tree where the chickens moved onto for the night. We could store our bikes still loaded with our bags in one of the rooms. They also had a little restaurant and a little shop. Everything close by, which was very handy. We were so exhausted, that we kept sitting on a bench without having a shower for about one hour before we set up the tent. We even didn't go to the beach which was only 200 meters far away. We heard some music coming out of the restaurant. It was no Latin music. I actually cannot remember that I have heard Latin music in Costa Rica. And here it comes again: "The rivers of Babylon" by "Boney M". We have heard this song so many times on our trip.
Playa Ostional is the famous turtle beach. It is actually the biggest turtle sanctuary in the world. Every new moon at high tide, about 1500 turtles come out of the water and walk up the beach to lay their eggs. Imagine the traffic. They lay between 80 and 120 eggs. They all have the size of a table tennis ball. Imagine that a turtle carries all these eggs in her body... The hole they dig is about 50cm deep and it takes them 15min to dig it. The turtles then go back into the water and the eggs stay about 55 days in the warm sand until the little turtles hatch. And then they have to run to the water as quickly as possible not to get eaten by other animals. So the turtle mother never sees her babies. Somehow I moved my tired body to the beach to see the turtles. It was dark, about 8.30pm. With the red flash light I walked along the beach and I saw 2 turtles, the big run happened few days earlier. These are actually the first turtles I have seen in my life. Quite faszinating, how they move through the sand. It takes up so much energy to move their about 50kg heavy body through the sand. After 30 min I left and walked to our tent, Bhinti was already almost asleep, the chickens too but not the roosters...
Brasilito. Resume: Playa Negra-Playa Ostional, 38km, 38-46 degrees.
LINK: Photos 345-358

11.02.10 Costa Rica
During the night a chicken fell off the tree with loud spectacle, book book book... I could hear lots of wing flapping. The roosters were noisy the whole night and in the morning we were surrounded by all the other chickens. We heard them climbing down their tree and they started to walk around in the thick layer of leafs and made chicken noises. We were surrounded! It made me laugh. Somehow we got up and I felt that I moved like a zombie. I just had no power. Well I guess, after being off the bikes for 2 months, it is normal, or whatever normal is. We left at 9am, I was hoping that there weren't so many hills. Yay, for the biggest part it was flat. We crossed more rivers and stopped at the next beach for breakfast, in Playa Guiones. It was a gringo surfer beach, everybody was chilling and was taking it easy. We enjoyed a bagel with cream cheese. When we left this morning I thought of icing my sore wrist and after we finished eating, all in a sudden the waitress brought ice wrapped in a towel, for us to cool down. What is that all about? After I cooled my wrist we kept riding along the dirt road. The road took us to another beach, this time it was a local Tico beach, Playa Gaza. After a small break we pressed on in the heat. It is so beautiful here, it seems like the harder it is to get to a place, the more beautiful it is. The last 10km were hilly again, that means more pushing... pushing the bikes up these long and steep hills. I know I keep repeating myself. Somehow I got the power to do it. At about 3pm we arrived at our destination for today, in Samara. Samara was a beautiful surprise for us. It was bigger than we thought it was with lots of cosy little restaurants, bars and accommodations between the palm trees at this wide white beach. These buildings were all funky and small, no big hotels. It was low tide when we got there and the water was far out. We found a campground right at the beach under the palm trees and we could store our bikes plus bags in the owner's house, in their living room, so generous. After we set up our little home we jumped into the waves, so nice to cool down this way and not to feel all your body weight in the water. Then the shower had another surprise. When I touched the light switch, I got an electric shock, grrrrr... the wiring looks really adventurous and so it feels... :-) After we checked out the beach village and strolled along the beach we had a nice rest at a beach bar with couches on the sand where we stayed for a while without moving. I don't even remember when we went to bed, so exhausted... What a soulful, funky and cosy place it is here!
Brasilito. Resume: Playa Ostional-Samara, 41km, 36-45 degrees.

LINK: Photos 359-366, video 181

14.02.10 Costa Rica
We had two rest days in Samara. We met 2 more homeless people. They were between 25 and 40 years old. One guy has travelled for 20 years and does wonderful healing and bodywork. The other guy put his belongings in a storage and took off by himself about 2 months ago. He wants to change his life and goes with the flow, wherever the energy takes him. I talked to the guy who does healing work and I told him my current situation, my feelings that I am going through at the moment. Feelings of not feeling an identity, things that seemed to be important to me are not important anymore, not knowing who I am, like times in my past feel like wiped out, no connection to past events, feeling so much pain not knowing where it is coming from, being confused, I feel like being this little child being scared of people and so sensitive and vulnerable. What a journey this is. Being out there without any routine and being in the unkown brings it all out. I am having the time of my life and at the sime time it scares me, that I am changing so much, and it seems like I have no control about it, there is no way back. I guess the answer is to observe my emotions and feelings objectively, not getting identified with them. We had some really good chats with them and therefore we left quite late in the afternoon, but so what. We decided to stay at the coastal, hilly and challenging road and rode to the next bay, to Playa Carillo. It was an asphalt road and quite flat. After already 30 min we got there. It was a beautiful bay with lots of palm trees, and absolutely no houses on it, just the road. We camped again. After we set up our tent we rode along the bay to a little restaurant on top of a hill. All in a sudden we heard that somebody in the water was screaming for help. People tried to swim out there to rescue him but they had no success. Quite a few people were standing at the beach looking at him, but they just looked. A little boat came and tried to rescue that person, but the waves must have been too high to get close enough. So Bhinti took his bike and rode down the hill. Not much later I saw him swimming towards that person. Slowly but surely he pulled him to the beach, maybe he rescued his life... Who knows how else he could have got out of the water... My beautiful sweetheart, he did such a wonderful thing. Somebody is probably very happy to be alive...
Brasilito. Resume: Samara-Playa Carilllo, 8km, 32-38 degrees.
LINK: Photos 367-383, video 182

15.02.10 Costa Rica
The moscitos nailed me pretty good last night, so we were really fast in setting up the tent getting chased by these blood hungry creatures. We packed and left at 8am. Packing, cycling, eating, unpacking, resting... that's what we mainly do. :-) As I mentioned earlier, we decided to stay on that coastal track. More ups and downs, pushing, sweating, breathing, walking down the hills because they were too steep, enjoying these beautiful views, disappearing in the dust when a car comes by, stopping, taking photos, having rests... After a while we met another crazy cyclist... He was from Russia and did touring in Costa Rica. After we climbed more hills, we were in a lowland. The grass was really green and lush. As everything pasts that past too, so we found ourselves in the hills again. We stopped at the 'Coffee Garden' for some rest. The couple who runs the place was from Canada. It always was their dream to built a beautiful B&B with a little restaurant, a veggie garden and a coffee bar. It is so nice to see people that follow their heart and fulfill their dreams. They made it all happen. Okay, one more big hill and we rode to our destination for today, to Playa San Miguel, a long bay with a restaurant. They had showers and bathrooms, so we set up our tent next to it. I felt too hot and exhausted to take off my clothes, so I had a shower with my riding gear on. I guess this is one style of washing the clothes... We chilled at the restaurant and right before it got dark we moved our butts out of these rocking chairs and set up our little home. It was a beautiful sunset, we listened to the surf and we felt the weight of our bodies on the mattress... Nice to be so tired and not having to do anything. The restaurant played nice traditional Latin music, that was the last I remembered...
Brasilito. Resume: Playa Carilllo-Playa San Miguel, 21km, 34-45 degrees.
LINK: Photos 384-396

16.02.10 Costa Rica
We listened to the loud surf all night long. We left and had brekkie at the next village, in San Francisco. The area is getting more and more isolated, and the road gets rockier and rockier. Lots of bumps, rocks, lose stones, sand, holes and then there are the hills... So much beauty here... It is hard work, but it is worth it, absolutely! After a while we had to cross another river, Rio Bongo. It was still low tide, so we could cross it as the water was only 20-30 cm deep. We followed some tracks along the river, than we had to cross it again, and then again... Something felt dodgy. All the car tracks stopped, in the middle of nowhere. What to do? A car came following the same tracks and got stuck in the mud. They couldn't get out anymore. We helped them by throwing rocks in front of their tires but it didn't seem to change much. After a short while a boat with a couple came along. They were locals and I asked them where the road to the next village was. They answered that we missed the road after the first crossing, so we had to go back. The water in the river was rising as high tide started. We had to leave the couple behind us otherwise we would have been trapped also in the riverbed which wasn't going to be a riverbed anymore soon, filling with water, and when the river is full, crocodiles come along. Good, that the couple in the boat was there, so they had a place to be and a way to get themselves out of there. One more hour and the water will have reached the windows of their car. We had to go back as soon as possible. The river was deeper now and the water was muddy, we couldn't look to the ground. I was scared and we walked through the river as quickly as possible, good we had waterproof bags as the water already covered our knees. As quickly as possible we rode to the second crossing. The second one was less scary as it was less deep and the water was clear. We found the right track and thought of the poor couple. Even if they got unstuck, where would they go, the river was way too deep by now to cross, and there was no way out for them. They probably got into the boat and had to wait for the next low tide to unstuck their car... What a day! We wondered how many people have overlooked the right path and followed that dangerous track... The road we followed ended up at a beach. Now what? Somebody came along on a dirtbike that we asked where we can get food and water. He told us that the next village is Manzanillo. Either we go back and cross that river again, which was not possible anymore, or we could ride on the beach, which takes only 5 min to get there. We had to rush as it was high tide and the water came closer and closer, the beach became more and more narrow. We could hardly ride on the sand as the water has come up so much and the hard areas were already covered. So we pushed our bikes meter by meter hoping to get around the next rocky corner in the distance. We did, but there was still no village. The 5 min turned into 45 min. I felt exhaustion. Pushing and pushing, the water came closer and closer.... and finally we saw a house and then a little dirt road, and then a restaurant where I crashed. I was shaking and I felt cold, so tired and still scared. The owner offered us to camp on his property close to the beach which we thankfully accepted, still thinking of that couple that got stuck in the muddy riverbed and the rising river... Lucky the boat came along...
Brasilito. Resume: Playa San Miguel-Manzanillo, 32km, 34-47 degrees.
LINK: Photos 397-404

17.02.10 Costa Rica
I felt hangover and I got to that point where everything was funny... Today it took us a long time to pack as we were really slow. Finally we left Manzanillo and rode along that small dirt road right next to the beach, on our way to Malpais. We found paradise. What an incredible beach, so beautiful and so untouched, so wild and so gorgeous! It really seems to be that way: The harder it is to get to a place, the more beautiful it is. Worth all the effort! There was another hill in front of us, we tried to ride on the beach, hoping to pass the lava rocks. It worked. We couldn't ride all the way and had to push, but the beauty was so overwhelming that it distracted us from our workout. The days on these roads are hard, hard for the bikes and hard for the bodies, but the rewarding is breath taking. After one hour we arrived in Sta Theresa and were all in a sudden on a paved road. There was lots of activity going on here, quite surprising. Lots of accommodations and restaurants. Everybody had a surfboard, even cyclists had them under their arms or motorscyclists used them as a seat. We had breakfast and decided to press on to the other side of the cape of the peninsula, to Montezuma which is supposed to be very beautiful. We asked for the road conditions. Not very hilly we have been told. Good we didn't know at that time how the road really was. After 2 km we faced a steep hill. That hill was so steep that it had to be paved, otherwise no car would have been able to get up there. We pushed 20m, had 2min rest to catch our breath, then again pushing, drinking, resting, pushing..... the hill didn't seem to end. After 1.5 hrs finally we got to the top of that hill with an amazing view, the ocean way below us. We had a 20 min break and I exchanged one of my brakepads, we must drop down the same we climbed up. The paved road turned into a dirt road and was hilly all the time but manageable. It was so beautiful up there and then we dropped on the other side. The down hills were so steep that they were also paved. I found it almost difficult to walk down these hills holding on the brakes all the time. After we dropped down to the coast, we arrived straight in Montezuma, yay! We found a cafe with hammocks where we rested our tired bodies and after a while we found a campground at the beach where we set up our tent. This side of the peninsula is so different, more rugged with rocks and the color of the water is different, much bluer somehow. The hills almost reached the water, so Montezuma is tucked away in the hills with its lots of cosy restaurants and accommodations. Where we set up our tent, lots of young people tried to walk on rope in the air which they had attached from one tree to the next one. These were no palm trees anymore, there were no palm trees here at all. We were so tired and sweaty that we walked into the ocean in our riding gear, why bother!
Resume: Manzanillo-Montezuma, 26km, 34-43 degrees.
LINK: Photos 404-419

19.02.10 Costa Rica
After a rest day we left beautiful Montezuma.We watched a beautiful sunrise above the ocean at 6am, packed and had some fruit. The mango season is starting, yay! Okay what goes down must go up... Montezuma is in the hills. To get there you have to drive down a steep hill, and of course, to get out of Montezuma, you have to climb up again this steep hill. After 45 min pushing our bikes up we made it. After 7 km we got to a town and we started talking to a police man. He wore an old worn out t-shirt with holes and stains on it, with 'policia' printed on the front. That was his uniform. He didn't seem to feel the urge to wash it or to fix the holes, no, he seemed to be very relaxed. Yes, why bother... All in a sudden the road was paved, all the way to Paquera, from where the ferry to the mainland leaves. Wow, we are actually moving... paved roads. I love these fast downhills, much better then slowing down all the time because of the dirt road, or, even walking down because it is too uneven and slippery to ride down. We passed some more beautiful bays, had a stop in a little road side restaurant, then we hurried to the ferry as we late, lucky us! We pedaled like maniacs, the sweat kept running into my eyes. We made it... The ferry to Puntarenas took 1 hour. We got there at 4.15pm and looked for an accommodation. There was a huge street party, all hotels and cabins were booked out. We rode along that 12km long, narrow peninsula stopping and asking for a room, until after 10km we finally found an accommodation. A man, that we asked where more accommodations are, got his bicycle out and showed us the way, so kind of him. We got there just before it was getting dark. What a different vibe, being on the mainland. Almost all houses are behind bars, there is lots of traffic here, lots of busy people. I was happy not to walk anymore and Bhinti got some food which I ate in bed. We had left the beautiful Nicoya peninsula. What a crazy time it was! Every day was crazy, exhausting, but really awesome. I will never forget the gravel roads, the hills, the views, the river crossings, the isolated areas.... So many parts were just not rideable, pushing and hauling all our bags around. So much exhaustion, the whole peninsula thing felt unreal somehow. Where we stayed tonight, was a room, no tent. We haven't slept in a room, in a bed since we left Canas Dulces. We slept in a real bed, it felt nice, we could stretch our legs and arms out, so much room.
Resume: Montezuma-Puntarenas, 60km, 34-46 degrees.
LINK: Photos 420-424

20.02.10 Costa Rica
This night, we didn't hear the ocean. We felt wasted. We left our accommodation which was hidden behind bars and moved our tired and aching bodies to the comedor around the corner. It was humid and hot. After we filled our tummies we walked back to our room and fell back on the bed, more resting... We enjoyed the cool and dry air, as we had the A/C going, that we normally don't have. I felt hangover. At 11am we felt better and left. There was a lot of traffic, so different than being on the peninsula. We rode through Caldera and stopped for fruit. Caldera is a Tico-beach village. It was the weekend, everybody was out and enjoyed the beach. The road took us inland, then back to the coast. We stopped at a bridge and looked down a big river, there were lots of big crocodiles. Good that they are down there and that we are up here... We moved on and the scenery changed, the trees were greener and lusher, it was more tropical. A car slowed down having the window open. And I saw an arm with a piece of watermelon in the hand. They drove right next to us and offered us that piece of fruit, how nice... We rode along the coastline and saw the Nicoya peninsula to our right. In a little village, Tarcoles, we looked for a place to stay. It was a humble peaceful Tico-village with small wooden houses, tucked away from the main road between a river and the beach. The road was dirt road. We looked for a place to camp or for some simple rooms. One place was booked out as it was the weekend. The next cabins, only 200 meters further, were not booked out. In fact, nobody stayed there. Why??? They were so old, that I thought they will break together any minute. We asked the woman who ran the place and checked the little shed out. It was a 2 story 'house'. Upstairs was a bedroom with 6 beds in it. the wooden planks were loose, some of them missing. The sheets of the beds were partly covered with dead insects and bird poo. When did the last person stay here? Not too inviting...Poor lady, she obvious didn't have the money to fix the cabins and she tries to keep renting them out until they break together. What do we do? We decided to set up our tent in that 'demolition' house. Have you ever camped in a demolition house??? I haven't. And downstairs was a kitchen. It was the oldest kitchen I have ever seen. We put the mattresses under our tent, it was nice and soft. We watched a beautiful sunset and saw the peninsula somewhere in the distance.
Resume: Puntarenas-Tarcoles, 45km, 32-37 degrees.
LINK: Photos 425-534

21.02.10 Costa Rica
This seemed to be a party area, we heard loud music until late at night. I couldn't care less. People seemed to have a good time which is good. We also heard the ocean. The morning was very peaceful, everybody was asleep. While we packed our gear we enjoyed the table outside of our shed, nice to have something to put things on. We left this adventurous demolition house that was so nicely tucked away behind a river along a sand road close to the ocean. We had one big hill to climb. A bit riding, a bit resting, a bit riding, a bit resting... After 40 min we made it to the top and enjoyed a beautiful view to the ocean. And of course a nice refreshing 4km long downhill. We followed the spectacular, rocky coastline with its scenic bays. Surprisingly all the other mountains that we saw on top of that hill, seemed to move into a different direction and the road became flat. Nice, riding on a flat and paved road. A group of cyclists passed us, doing a race. We passed lush and green grassland areas, the scenery had changed quite noticeable, it was much greener, not so dry anymore. We stopped for a fresh coconut drink and stuffed our faces with cold watermelon. Sooo good! Okay, our destination for today was Playa Bejuco (that's what we thought our destination would be). After another 16km we got there, turning right into a sand road. After about one km we got to a wide and open beach with heaps of palm trees on it and a small dirt road along the beach. We looked for a camp space, restaurant or a cheap accommodation. Nothing there, mostly Gringo houses, a few Tico houses, one resort and two expensive luxury hotels. You never know what to expect. It looks like we are pressing on. Back on the dirt road to the main road. The road was newly paved and flat, easy to ride. We kept riding and riding, nothing there, but after a while we finally found a place to eat and a place to sleep. It was inland, away from the beach. We were lucky because tonight was a bull fight in town, almost all the accommodations were booked out. I didn't care if it was going to be noisy, as long I could stretch out and rest my body. They took the check in very seriously. My passport number was not enough, they had to see it. They also checked the money, if it was a real note or a faked one. We were behind bars again, but so what. We were tired and had the lights out by 6.30pm, enjoying the dark and cool room, not to need to move legs and arms.
Resume: Tarcoles-Parrita, 68 km, 32-37 degrees.
LINK: Phots 535-539

22.02.10 Costa Rica
After 13 hours of rest we got up. Our room was big enough for us and our bikes, so yesterday we rolled them in and left them loaded, today we just had to roll them out, no packing. We postponed our rest day and decided to ride to Quepos which is supposed to be at the beach, only 30 km further. It was flat most of the time, we rode at least 15 km through a forest of palm oil trees. We stopped at a palm oil plant and asked the gate keeper some questions about the process. Then we met another cyclist, who came towards us. He didn't have much luggage, so I though he might be a daytripper, maybe away for a week. As we started talking to him we found out that he was from Italy and he started his trip in Tierra del Fuego and was on his way to Alaska in an incredible speed. How arrogant from me to think he might be a day tripper. He didn't have any front panniers, no handlebar bag. He was pushing 70 years! What an inspiration he was. His legs were really strong and thick. He didn't have much time to talk as he had to race off to make it to his destination. He wanted to do 130 km that day... We actually haven't met any cyclists that are slower than we are. :-) I gave him a letter with photos from us and the family where we stayed in Guatemala. We sent this letter from Nicaragua to this family but it didn't get there, it was returned to Canada, to Bhinti's sister, which I wrote down as a sender's address. Bhinti's sister sent it to us to Costa Rica with some other stuff, so I hope this time the letter will make it to the family, handed over by the Italian guy. The letter has been at many places, that's for sure. After not long we arrived in Quepos, which is more a fisherman's town, the beach is not reachable because of an inlet. It is a tourist destination being used as a gateway to a National Park close by. It is quite pricy and commercial here and a typical backpacker hang out. After looking around we found a little room for too much money. It was a little sauna box, so hot in there. It was hot and steamy. We heard thunder in the distance and it even rained a little bit, which felt like a release. Back in the room, we had the fan on full blast, it sounded like in an airplane. The good thing is to run the fan on full blast is the air of course and also, the hungry moscitoes have no chance to land on us. Ha ha! Other people slept with the fan on and their doors open.
Resume: Parrita-Quepos, 30km, 35-44 degrees.
LINK: Photos 540-543

24.02.10 Costa Rica
We had a rest day yesterday. Hm, we discovered a flat tire, it must have happened when we arrived here. It was our first flat tire for quite a while. The night was very hot and humid, we didn't find too much sleep. But thinking that we will be in the cold Andes some time... it made me feel appreciating this humid heat. We locked our bikes in front of our room, and somebody left a new waterbottle for us in one of the holders. That was really nice of him/her. After we had some fruit, we left Quepos, riding along a long and flat stretch of about 20km. It rained during the night and the air was fresh, well, kind of. The road was newly paved with a wide shoulder, and so smooth, it was straight and flat as a pancake. On both sides were more and more fields of palm oil trees. Nice and fast riding! We did already 30km in the first 1.5 hrs. After a break we pressed on and it got hilly and more tropical. We were in the rain forest, it rains almost every day here. On both sides of the road was lush green grass growing, at least 1.5 meters high. The sounds of the jungle were loud. There were crickets, cicadas and birds. We passed a beautiful black bird with a yellow tummy. He was lying on the road, still moving. As Bhinti picked him up to save him, but he died in his hands. This little beautiful and innocente creature. It makes me sad to see how many animals die because of these fast roads...We passed another town, called Dominical and checked it out. Back to sand roads again. This town had lots of little restaurants and palm trees at the beach with stands. People sold scarfs and jewelry. What a nice, laydback town. Good for camping. We pressed on, the last 18 km to Uvita, which was our destination for tonight. Before we got there we had to fix another flat tire. We were in the jungle! Strange to know that the dry peninsula was not so far away and the climate is completely different. At 2pm we arrived in Uvita. We thought it was right at the beach, but it wasn't. We found a cool place there. It is called the Tucan Hotel, a nice hangout. There were rooms on the left and on the right. And in the middle was an about 10 meter wide roof. Under the roof were tables, benches, hammocks, a restaurant at the end which was the reception at the same time. The floor was filled with stones. Behind the restaurant was a TV with 4 hammocks in front of it. What a cozy place! After a nice shower and a good snooze we checked out the little village, enjoyed the hammocks and Wifi. Lights out at 8.30pm. What a cool place!
Resume: Quepos-Uvita, 66km, 30-43 degrees.
LINK: Photos 544-551

25.02.10 Costa Rica
We made the most of our accommodation and stayed there until 11am. It was cloudy and it rained before, so it doesn't matter so much that we don't leave early. We wanted to check out the beach but somehow we missed the turnoff and kept riding on the main road. From the main road, you don't see any of these beautiful beaches. Quite a few rocky and hilly roads go down to the beaches, which is actually one big long beach. We were in the hills and it started to pour down. I liked it. We haven't experienced rain for quite a while. The last downpour we rode in was in El Salvador. It was so tropical here, so lush and so green!!! And to listen to all these different sounds, there was also loud thunder in the distance coming from the volcanos. It rains every day here. Feeling the warm rain on the skin, washing off all the sweat and grease, pretty nice. And... we don't have to wash our clothes tonight. The temperature dropped from 36 to 28 degrees. It was pretty hilly. We saw a big iguana on the road. He didn't move and had is head up. That's what they do when they protect themselves. He must have been hit by a car just before. He could hardly move but he still looked so strong and so proud, protecting himself. I love these animals so much, and so many die because of these roads... We saw the ocean only 2 times and we didn't ride down any of these little paths, full of water, sand and rocks. If we had a 4WD, we would, but on bicycles??? At 4.30pm we arrived in Palmar Norte. Here are hardly tourists anymore, the prices dropped down a lot. From this city onwards we have to follow the Panamericana, sharing the road with all the heavy trucks. The border to Panama is not far away, only 90 km. We found a cheap accommodation a little bit outside of the town, with A/C! We sat on the bench outside of our room and admired these beautiful green mountains and watched the birds. The owner offered us some watermelon. Very nice and hospitable. When the moscitoes started to nail us we decided to go into our room and we haven't left it for the day.
Resume: Uvita-Palmar Norte, 45km, 28-36 degrees.
LINK: Photo 552

26.02.10 Costa Rica
It was our first day back on the main highway, the Panamericana. It was different then we thought it would be. I thought of a big road with lots of traffic. But it was a small road with hardly any traffic and without shoulder. It seemed to be more a small bush road. I thought it couldn't get anymore tropical but I was wrong. It got even more tropical. Everything was growing like crazy, real crazy! Everything was overgrown and really thick. We rode deeper and deeper into the jungle. It was cloudy when we left, no rain. We inhaled the sweet air and listened to all these loud sounds of the jungle. Pretty amazing experience. I have never seen so much birdlife then here. We heard so many different birds, all at the same time, coming from different directions, incredible! It was hilly, but the hills were not too steep. It started to drizzle, the water felt so gentle. And then.... we had another flat tire and no space to stop. The road didn't have a shoulder and next to the road was the wet jungle. Hm... We walked along the road for a while until we found a muddy even place on the other side of the rode. Not the best place to put down all the bags and to fix a tire, but somehow, here in the wet ditch, we made it. It was actually the tire that blew. It was holding up for about 5000 km, not bad I think. It was hot and so steamy, thank god it was cloudy. Our sweat just kept dripping and dripping... Finally we made it and were back on our bikes, feeling some air. The border to Panama is only 60km far away. This is such a quiet and remote part of the country. Nice to see no development signs on the side of the road. I started to feel exhausted and I counted down the kms until to our destination for today. Just when I thought we made it, no, there was of course one more hill we had to climb. Finally we arrived in Rio Claro and checked out a few accommodations. One had no screens, so we would have been a great festival for the moscitos. The other accommodation had beds where you could feel each spring. The last one we checked out had a decent bad and we could even bargain down the price. We also had enough room for our bikes, yay, no unpacking! For me it seemed to be a long riding day and my body felt tired. We listened to the loud thunder, had something to eat and Bhinti went to a supermarket while I was already in bed, being happy not to move. Wow, we are only 30km away from the border to Panama. Saying good bye to beautiful Costa Rica.
Resume: Palmar Norte-Rio Claro, 63km, 28-33 degrees.
LINK: Photos 553-561

28.02.10 Costa Rica, Panama
We had a rest day yesterday. It was a hot and humid day. The sky got dark and it started to pour down like crazy. We rested our bodies and spent quite a bit time with mosquito hunting... Okay, we only had a few more hours in Costa Rica before we hit the border to Panama. We have said good bye to so many beautiful places. Another hot and steamy day, but cloudy. On our way to the border we met another cyclist couple, found a shady place and chatted for about 1.5 hours exchanging our stories. They told us that they cycled around Africa, how cool is that!!! I told them that we stayed once with a family in Guatemala in an empty house with bats in them. The woman I talked to started all in a sudden to scream and she said that she knew about us because they also stayed in the same house. What coincidence is that? There are so many houses in Guatemala... Leaving Costa Rica, we had seen so many "Land for sale" signs, no street markets or street food stands, no street vendors on bicycles ringing their bells and shouting out loud their products, not too much street life. We are excited to see how Panama is. The border crossing was quick. After we paid 1 dollar tax the officer told us to go to the customs room to get our luggage checked. We poked my nose into that room and the officer was half asleep. Okay, lets hit the road... We did, all four of us (the other cyclists too). I don't know what would have happened if you had done this in the States. Panama here we come! Lots of things changed after the border. The small road without shoulder turned into a wide 4 lane highway with a grassy boulevard in the middle and about 2 meters wide shoulders on both sides. We followed the road, up and down these long but steady, about 10km long up and down hills. The scenery was open and we could see in the distance. There were no houses, no hotels, no restaurants, no shops. Just the straight road, going steadily upwards, passing lots of grass areas and some trees. We left the tropics, it was still green though, not so humid anymore and a bit cooler. Everything changed so quickly. We gained one hour of daylight as we entered a different time zone. After 26 km we hit the first town and found a room for us. They have the US dollar as their currency. Not much later after we had dinner we went to bed. Good that it was not so hot anymore.
Resume: Rio Claro-Concepcion, 61km, 29-34 degrees.
LINK: Photos 562-564