I said goodbye and thanks to DoŮa Nelly and her son Orlando and got an early start out of San Jose. It took me a little time to get out of the city, about 2 hours and 20 miles. The highlight of my ride to the mountains was keeping up with a healthy pack of Tica women cyclists for a couple miles. They eventually pulled away from my weighted down rig when we started on the inclines! I was unlucky to get some bad weather in the mountains. The climbing was pretty tough but nothing too steep. I went from about 3800 to 8000 ft by the end of my day. I cycled through clouds and light rain for most of the day. It was pretty cold out, but I didnít want to put on too much for when I heat up during my riding. So stopping to take breaks was uncomfortable at times, even though very necessary! I rode about 22 miles through the mountains and didnít see many views because of the clouds. Sometimes I couldnít even see past 30 ft or so. I stopped and spent the chilly night at an overpriced cabaŮa (family or group style sleeping) and warmed up with cafť con leches as I felt a cold come over me. I had a slight sore throat all day and then blew out the sneezes, like an allergy prone dude running through a field of wildflowers, through the evening. My second day out of San Jose I reached the peak of the Cordillera de Talamanca on the Interamerican Highway (10,560 ft Ė highest of the trip, sin mota!) then descended to San Isidro. I went from blankets of clouds in the mountains to the dense blanket of humidity of the lowlands. From San Isidro, I had small climb to get to the coast and ride south on the ĎCosteraí, which eventually connects back to the Interamerican Highway in the town of Palmar, where I spent a night. Palmar is a small town at the foot of some tall mountains, and surprisingly has 6 Chinese restaurants; even so, I went for pizza that night.
The next day I had a long ride through the hot humid flat roads of southern Costa Rica, passing through small settlements and large fields of palms used for their oil. In between the banana plants and small bushes lay the trails of the green iguanas that crawl to the hot roadside to sun themselves. I saw a couple big ones, and heard lots of noise sometimes, iguanas turning tail for cover as I passed by. In the late afternoon, I crossed into Panama. I had to visit 3 different buildings on the Panamanian side, winning this country the Most Inconvenient Border Crossing of the Trip award.
I didnít spend as much time in Costa Rica as I would have liked. But part of what made it easy to speed through is the fact that I know Iíll be coming back to see some sights without the bike and extra gear, and hopefully the coast by boat.
Peace n Love