To make our trip from Arenal to Pacific coast more interesting, we decided to avoid Pan-American Highway as much as possible and take some local roads instead.
With the help of Google Maps, we outlined our trip and took off. Less than a mile from the start we saw the result of the previous night torrential downpour: water streamed over the road and caused a mudslide reducing it to one lane. Luckily, the road was empty, and we continued our journey without any delay.
We drove along Arenal Lake shores soaked by rain. Leaving the lake brought better weather and more visibility. We entered a small town where the road forked.
Google Maps insisted that both roads were major roads, so we decided to take the left one just because it looked more scenic. Almost immediately it started climbing and getting more and more narrow. Suddenly asphalt disappeared.
Taking our chances we continued forward. Number of times we were on the verge of turning around, but kept repeating that one can not give up in the middle of the road. At some point, we caught up with an illustrious company. It almost look like our car was a time machine, and we traveled 200 years back.
The road was still climbing up and steadily getting worse. Our vehicle of choice, a 4-wheel drive SUV, made a perfect sense now. At one point, we climbed high enough to see both oceans.
We were rewarded with majestic views of mountains covered with lush green vegetation, coffee plantations climbing toward the sun, cultivated mountain terraces where farmers grow produce.
We noticed a number of farmers here and there using the most primitive tools just like their ancestors did centuries ago. It was very different country from industrial San Jose or touristy Arenal, the one with wild beauty and character. By a random choice of going off the beaten path, we got a chance to see a hidden beauty of Costa Rica mountains.