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Monday, February 17, 2014

Pura Vida | Costa Rica...

I left Granada two days ago after partying it up with my new friends Paul and Jayden (English / Canadian fellow motorcycle travelers).  I also met a really fun Irish friend named Caroline.  True to her roots she ended up drinking me under the table and making fun of me the next day for feeling like arse.  After that mess I wanted to find a tranquil beach in Costa Rica to relax and lick my wounds.  Manuel Antonio popped up on several searches, so I pointed my front wheel in that direction and headed out.  

The ride out of Nica was easy enough.  Smooth riding on twisty roads, but it was steaming hot.  It hit 99.7F according to my gauge, which is brutally hot with full gear.  I'd heard that Costa would be the longest border crossing due to the crowds and confusion.  Fortunately, I didn't have that experience.  I tipped the police officer and walked right into immigration in front of a line of about 200 people.  They looked pretty pissed, but honestly I was so tired and hot I didn't feel too bad.  After immigration I set off to make copies of all the documents, then followed two local motorcyclists who seemed to know what they were doing.  Sure enough they ended up pointing me in the right direction and I was off before I knew it.  

The roads in Costa Rica all the way down to M.A. (Manuel Antonio) were perfection.  Freshly paved, smooth, low traffic, and beautiful views in all directions.  I even managed to meet and ride with a local on a Honda Transalp for a bit.  He was a former racer as well, so let's just say our impromptu rally south was very spirited.  It was a long, but enjoyable ride.  After 280+ miles I finally pulled into Hotel Plinio at around 4pm.  The dorms are $12 per night here, which is a bit more than my $6 - $9 average thus far.  It is actually cheap for Costa Rica, which is shockingly expensive after being in other Central American countries for some time now.  I sat down for my first lunch and, after doing a bit of math in my head, was dumbfounded as to why the dish was $18 USD.  This realization further solidifies my plan to pass through Costa fairly quickly.  

There is parking here at the hotel and security watching the bike every night.  The majority of the staff are all volunteering in return for room and board.  Fortunately for me, they all happen to be attractive young things, and are all very nice.  Ev is from Ireland, Stacey from the States, and Donna from Peru.  They are like the United Nations of hot chicas.  Donna is off today, so I think we're going to take the bike for a ride to a private secluded beach that she knows about.  M.A. is nice, but there are a LOT of people running around.  A relaxing day on a secluded beach with monkeys sounds absolutely perfect.  

So far I've clocked just over 6,800 miles.  I left Denver on Nov 18th, so technically I've been gone for three months now.  I've checked off seven different countries, and seen and experienced a lot of amazing things along the way.  Maybe it's the vibe here in Costa Rica, but I feel like everything is really going well.  I'm happier than I can ever remember, and more relaxed than I've been in a long, long time.  Over the past few days I've ridden up and down pristine coastline, surfed waves, swam naked in the ocean at night (sorry mom), witnessed countless beautiful sunsets, two gorgeous full moon cycles, and rode to the edge of a very active volcano to trade my bike for a horse (fortunately we swapped back after a brief tour of the rim with my new friends from Slovenia Eva and Blanca).  All that and I still yearn for more, more, more.  

I'm currently sitting in a hammock at Plinio and have just loaded my route for tomorrow.  I plan to backtrack northwest a bit and then head east/south to end up in Manzanillo on the Caribbean Coast.  I've read it is a super chill place with fewer gringos, so if true I'll spend a few nights there.  After that, and possibly a few nights in Bocas Del Toro, Paul and Jayden have invited me to join them in Playa Venado for a few nights at a secret place that they've described as paradise on earth.  They didn't have to twist my arm too hard to get me to agree to that obviously.  Not to mention the three of us get along really well.  It's sometimes hard to find funny, genuine, caring friends.  They are good dudes, and I hope we're able to stay in touch through the years.  

Alright alright, I think that's it for now.  Donna is giving me the evil eye and pestering me to get off me arse and head to the beach on the bike.  That said, hasta pronto amigos!!!  

~ D

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