Eight days of cycling brought us north from the Paso Canoas borderpost, along the steamy Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The busy, shoulderless Pan-Americana gave way to smaller coastal roads through the Ballena national park and up to the resort of Jaco. Much of the property on the coast has been bought up by North Americans and large billboards advertise new gated communities with a choice of either ocean or forest views. Those engaged in the tourist trade are gearing up for the holidays when wealthy Josefinos and foreigners descend on Costa Rica's coast. Others, who live in the wooden shacks on the floodplains on the periphery of these resorts were still cleaning up the damage that had been caused a month ago when the tailend of Hurricane Tomas resulted in severe flooding and a declared state of national emergency. Hospitality at tico firestations has been as exemplary as their Panamanian counterparts and we were always able to pitch our tent, often amid the relief supplies that had been sent in for the floods.
Racing the tortoise
Before continuing up to Guanacaste province and the border with Nicaragua, we take a detour on some steep gravel roads up to the cooler heights of Monteverde on the westward side of the Cordillera de Tilaran, home to a Quaker settlement since the 1950s when they moved from Alabama to avoid being conscripted to fight in the Korean War. The area is also home the Monteverde Cloudforest Preserve, a ten and a half thousand hectare reserve of tropical rainforest of immense biological diversity.
Near Ballena national park
Climbing up to Santa Elena at 1400 metres
Hummingbird at Monteverde Cloudforest Preserve
Santa Elena, Costa Rica
Trip distance: 38,535 km