Saturday 20th October 2012
This was supposed to be the first day I get to ride day 1 of the “La Ruta de los Conquistadores” mountain bike race course, a 3 day event from Jaco on the Pacific coast to Limon on the Caribbean. I signed up for this crazy event after completing the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in under 9 hours and getting the coveted big buckle back in August. One of Costa Rica’s pro racers who finished second in La Ruta last year had bike issues and couldn’t meet me to ride so Andrea and I decided on an alternative schedule…
We drove down to Quepos and Manuel Antonio NP – since Andrea was last there around 10 years ago the development has gone crazy, with billboards for the vast amount of adventure activities everywhere, along with numerous places to eat and stay to support the rising influx of visitors. We were fortunate that we’re in Costa Rica during the rainy season so the tourists are far fewer in numbers than during the dry season. Being in the park on an un-crowded day was far more pleasurable giving us a better chance to see the various animals and birds. Costa Rica is a haven for wildlife with much of the land set aside as National Parks and rain forests seem to be as far as the eye can see. We saw many animals, including cheeky capuchin monkeys, woodpeckers, iguanas and a couple of squirrel-like creatures called agouti’s.
On the main trail leading from the park we had a guy pull alongside us riding a Segway which must have annoyed the crap out of the monkeys as they were just about about to launch themselves from a power-line they were using to feed from – he sped off leaving some frustrated monkeys behind for us to photograph. We since found out that these monkeys are feisty and not in the least scared of humans.
Manuel Antonio is one of the smallest parks in Costa Rica but also one of the most popular, but even with the limited number of trails the scenery was spectacular. The hike to the lookout at the end of the 1.3km Sendero Mirador trail had the most spectacular views of the Pacific ocean and coastline.
Prior to our departure to Costa Rica Andrea had found out there’s a weekly surf contest on our doorstep at the Backyard Bar only a few miles from Jaco where surfing is the towns biggest attraction. We know for next time that its on a Saturday at 4 in the afternoon and not a Friday, and although arriving late we got to hangout on the beach with dozens of surfers watching their friends and rivals ripping it up. Couldn’t think of a better way to end the day than sitting on the beach with a bottle of Imperial watching the sun go down.
Sunday 21st October 2012
…and another frightfully early morning, actually feels like we should be in full training for another Ironman with all these early starts to the day! We only have the SUV for another day so need to make the most of it today and hit some rough roads. This is not difficult in Costa Rica – the road we’re staying on is the main residential road in Playa Hermosa and its a dirt, potholed ridden surface.
The drive is not too bad to Monteverde, the home of the most spectacular Cloud Rainforests in Costa Rica so that’s where we headed. The last 18 kilometers were just what we rented the SUV for, although not sure Andrea would agree to that. It was so frustrating sitting at the side of her driving 20kph at times when all I wanted to do was get our monies worth from the insurance and test out the suspension. We weren’t even sure what we were going there for but finding a tourist office in Santa Elena made up our minds that a few hours on a canopy tour would be a good starter, and within an hour we were flying down ziplines like superman, and swinging from a Tarzan swing in the rainforest.
October 20th – October 21st 2012