Discovering Costa Rica. Part 1: San Jose and Arenal
Discovering Costa Rica. Part 2: from Arenal to Pacific Coast
Eventually, the road we were fighting with led us to Pan-American Highway.
Stopping for gas, we parked next to a cycling support vehicle.
We saw a large number of cyclists riding alone or in teams while navigating Costa Rican roads. Just out of curiosity I googled what Cycle Pan-America was about. This was quite a remarkable story: a cyclist, Adam Biel, was attempting to ride 14,000 mi through 2 continents in order to raise money and awareness for autism. Apparently, we met his support vehicle, driven by his parents, on the way catching with him in Costa Rica. Eventually, he finished his epic journey from Argentina to Alaska in 109 days. Amazing!
Pan-American Highway rewarded us with much needed uneventful driving after all our mountain adventures. It felt even monotonous at times with infrequent interruptions of crossroads or bridges.
Pacific ocean! After another bout of address-related challenges, we finally arrived to our final destination. Playa Panamá greeted us with lazy midday heat and calmness before the evening rain.
Pacific beaches of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province have not been affected by American tourists’ invasion yet. They are still tranquil, sleepy and almost entirely empty. Occasional resort pops up here and there along the lonely road surrounded by dense forest. The whole scenery reminded me of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I read it many years ago, but I still remember descriptions of decaying buildings slowly giving up to mighty vegetation. And there I was looking at the real life live illustration of that book. The air was so still that you almost could hear sinister plants crawling toward humans’ habitats especially if you have a wild imagination like mine :).
Further south beaches are frequented by surfers, but Papagayo Gulf has not become a part of booming tourist industry yet. Hence, resorts look like circa 1980s, or, may be, humid rainy seasons make them look like they are older than they really are. They do possess certain charm of bygone era. Although, I have to mention that we were there during the rainy season, so it very well may look very different between December and April (dry season). Personally, I loved that emptiness and calmness and would not trade it for anything. Plus, it was great swimming in a warm ocean in the rain. Besides, even it was cloudy and gray, but rain was “on afternoon schedule”, so mornings were relatively dry.
More Costa Rica photos on Flickr
To be continued…