Costa Rica Panama Border Crossing

This was our first non-weekend border crossing and we were slightly nervous this would mean the end of our luck painlessly hopping borders. Making our way from Pavones to Paso Canoas took about three and a half hours, setting our arrival time at noon. While we were examining the signs on the Costa Rica Aduana window explaining they had been closed the previous two days for a conference, an armed guard emerged from the bank next door to lock up for the two hour lunch break. Uh oh. We would not be the first travelers caught in a shady border town waiting out the lunch hour(s) in the heat of the day. Fortunately we had no use for the bank   Continue reading

Mr. & Mrs.

There is a special exhilaration involved in the re-reading of a favorite book. The hesitation, fearful of an unexpected disappointment in an old love, lingers only among the first few pages. While the plot line remains a reliable standby, the subtleties quietly transform with each read through. The adventures gain more thrill, the heartaches yield greater sorrow, and the final page renders a fresh significance previously obscured. In between the worn chapters rife with notes and shaky underlines, a tender new passion emerges.

We wanted a simple wedding, a quiet moment for the two of us to remember as ours alone. We hoped to sidestep the complicated agenda, seating charts, and entertaining a hundred or so guests. Our list of   Continue reading

Coastal Costa Rica

Saying farewell to the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica was not easy. The landscape on the coast of this country is difficult to describe.  Comparing it with the fantastic images the imagination immediately conjures up just does not seem to do it justice.

Culturally, Costa Rica is somewhere between Mexico and California. Our Spanish routine slipped completely out of sight as just about everyone speaks excellent English. We took advantage of this surprising break from the Central American norm by trekking further off the beaten path than we have in any other country.

Tamarindo is a clear leader as a tourist destination but still maintains a high level of genuine surfer vibe. If you can get over the existence of   Continue reading

Rainy Season in Central America

We are currently exploring the deep south of Costa Rica and each afternoon last week it dumped buckets on us. It has not fazed us as we hide out in our mobile base camp or hostel common areas leeching wifi and cafe gratis. The mornings are always clear and we are sure to seek adventure but find our way home before lunch.  The evenings are a damp break from the oppressive heat. The downpour reinforces our repetitive dogma for overlanding: there is no perfect time. Just like five o’clock, it’s raining somewhere too, and coincidentally, both are great excuses for a sundowner.

The camper, however, is not pleased.  Before leaving California I spent a Saturday coating every seam with sealant,   Continue reading

Cerro Chirripo

Cerro Chirripo, at 12,530 feet, is Costa Rica’s highest peak.  The crux of the climb may very well be merely getting to San Gerardo de Rivas, at the base of Chirripo National Park. We circled the northbound turnoff from the Pan-American (called the Inter Americana in Cost Rica) for an hour stopping to ask for directions a few times.  Each time the directions differed.  At our 4th stop along a rural dirt road nowhere near the turnoff, we got the correct beta.  Turn at the Maxi Bodega, there will be no sign.

San Gerardo de Rivas is a sleepy mountain town reminiscent of Aspen 100 years ago.  The one road to town is a rocky two hour uphill affair   Continue reading

Medico Emergency

Long term travel requires a healthy dose of optimism. Despite this there are a few disasters we constantly entertain such as failing transmissions, crooked policemen, identity theft, and the need for medical assistance in a foreign land.  We had the opportunity to experience the latter when Logan discovered a metal sliver embedded in his cornea while in Costa Rica.

There were no insurance forms to sign, no promises to retain responsibility for our own stupidity or lack of dexterity. Instead of the usual legal rundown, there was a five minute safety demonstration and then we were zip lining through the air, whizzing past trees and wildlife. Before you jump into the harness and fly off the platform you imagine a   Continue reading

Nicaragua to Costa Rica

After getting through Honduras, we are starting to feel like old pros as we pull up to each new border station. Feeling like the worst is behind you lends a new sense of confidence as you wave away the helpers and focus more intently on your surroundings.

Exiting Nicaragua early on a Saturday morning was a breeze. We entered just behind a large tourist bus and had a big line ahead of us at immigration. Coming from the Bay Area, waiting in line for various permissions and permits is a custom with which we are all too familiar. Bribery and extortion are rare here and making it through is merely a matter of getting yourself in front of the right   Continue reading