Costa Rica

We crossed at Penas Blancas and had arranged to meet up with some old friends and fellow travellers from Switzerland, Simon, Doris and Herbert.  

A rustic camp site just outside La Cruz was the perfect location. We had only been parked for a few minutes when we were exposed to the joys of the famous Costa Rican wildlife.  It's hard to see from these photos but this female had a day old baby clinging to its chest.

There are two different types of sloth, the two toed and the three toed. these can then be categorised into six subspecies depending on size and colouration etc.

This is a two toed sloth.  Based simply on its geographical location it is probably more accurately called the Hoffmans Two Toed Sloth. It is estimated that there are fewer than 1500 Sloths left in the wild. However, the Hoffman's two Toed sloth isn't considered the rarest and isn't classed as endangered, unlike its smaller cousin the Pigmy Sloth. 

Sloths spend most of their lives upside down in trees and rarely come down to ground level.

It was wonderful to meet up with old friends and a big thank you to Simon who helped me eventually fix the Air Conditioning on the truck, which had been sorely missed. 

Costa Rica, quite rightly, is a very popular tourist destination for Americans, Canadians and Europeans. It is their biggest industry. Unfortunately, this has encouraged high prices and everything has a cost attached to it. 

The Leona Waterfall hike ( must be guided ) was no exception, but my thinking is that in 10 years' time I will still remember the hike but not the cost. 

Two weeks after we visited the beautiful Rincon Lodge near the summit of Volcano Rincon de la Vieja it decided to burst into action and gently reminded the world that it was only sleeping.

After a quick overnight stop at the Lake Arenal Brewery, we headed for the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. The drive up was steep and narrow but the splendor that awaited us was well worth it. 

The whole rainforest canopy can be discovered from trails and walkways above the trees during a moderate 2 km walk.

The green healthyness of the trees, birdsong and insects were over whelming. This was a special place.

Whilst taking a break from the hike, Eagle Eyed Pat spotted this guy walking past. 

It's an Orange Kneed Tarantula. Rarely seen during the day and they can live for 20 years.

The internet groups and forums allow you to connect with like minded people who have similar interests.  Fellow Mercedes Camper owner Estaban reached out to us and invited us to his home and beautiful finca near La Fortuna.
I have previously mentioned, on many occasions, of the unbelievable hospitality we have been given on this tour. This was no exception. Estaban, his wife Monica and his wonderful family invited us into their home. An experience we will treasure forever. Their Holiday Finca is well worth visiting, it's stunning.

Costa Rica is surprisingly Hilly. I don't think I have used my lower gears and Exhaust Brake as much in any other country. 
Many of the roads and bridges are narrow and poorly maintained with potholes everywhere. 

However, the scenery in every direction makes up for all that. 

I cannot imagine how many hidden rivers and waterfalls exist. I hiked to this one in Colonia del Toro.
from our camping area, it was 45 minutes of steep downhill in a hot, humid insect infested jungle. My lungs were screaming by the time I got back, but it was well worth it 

The wildlife in Costa Rica is amazing. You literally only have to turn off the highway by a few hundred meters and you will find yourself in thick, lush green tropical forest. 
Centro Manu, the small campsite outside Guapiles was a great place to see some nature up close. my local guide Keneth took me on a night tour looking for Frogs and Snakes 

Common Dink Frog

Two Jumping Leaf frogs 

Jumping Leaf Frog

Jumping Leaf Frog

Jumping Leaf Frog

Eyelash Viper

Eyelash Viper

Jumping Leaf Frog

One of the most poisonous and aggressive snakes here is the Fer de Lance. We were lucky enough to find one that was about 2.5 meters long. 

Fer de Lance Snake.

Unfortunately, photographing with my phone without a flash was not ideal so Keneth ( My Guide )  kindly shared some of his previous photos with me.

The less humid Caribbean coast was a welcomed stop and it gave us the chance to catch up with old friends Michaela & Florian and Stephanie & Luis.

We also met a local lady "Zorayda" and her family.  Despite Pats Spanish being limited ( better than she thinks) and Zorayda speaking no English, they managed to chat all afternoon laughing their heads off.   This is what Overlanding is about.

I think it's fair to say that we have only skimmed the surface of this incredible country. 
I have a feeling we will be back quite soon.

Don't forget you can see the route of our journey on our route page .

Re entering Nicaragua was pleasant. We really have loved this country, and it was a great place to celebrate my 60th Birthday.

We had a very long overdue catch up with long term friends Jon and Heather aka The Ver Monster RVand Ivan  at a the beautiful Rancho los Alpes near Leon. Thank you Pat for arranging this and all the other surprises. It made it very special.

We are heading slowly back to Mexico to fly home for some family time. Sadly this means almost back tracking on the downward journey, which isn't something that we ordinarily like to do, but there simply isn't that many routes in Central America. 

This daunting return journey was nearly 2500 km from Cahuita in Costa Rica to Cancun in Mexico. 

This meant we had to cross back through 5 Borders ( thats check out and in at each ) Thats 10 more passport stamps and 10 more Temporary Import Permits for our vehicles. 
Google maps shows a journey time of 36 hours. However, in a truck like ours with all the time spent at the the borders, it took us a lot longer...13 days.