Another section comes to an end (Londres, Palmar Norte, San Vita, Sereno)

10 days in Costa Rica have gone by. Since our last post we had a rest day in Londres, which wasn’t much of a rest day due to the number of things that needed to be done.

Costa Rica laundry

Doing the laundry at a small creek

Costa Rica jungle camp

Beautiful camp spot at our Warmshower host’s

We continued the next day to Palmar Norte. Exhausted after 100k we arrived at the church, we were lucky to catch the priest as he was about to leave town. He wasn’t surprised to see us, he said he had many cyclists passing by all the time.

Costa Rica riverside

Lovely ride out of Londres

The following morning began with us reaching 3000km whilst enjoying a beautiful ride along a river.

Costa Rica river view

After crossing it, a climb to 1000m began. It was tiring, but the views were rewarding.

Costa Rica climbing

We ended up in San Vita and asked around for churches. A man said we could try the Red Cross, where apparently a number of cyclists coming through town went to. He made a few phone calls to check, I think he couldn’t reach them, and then just offered us to stay at his house. We gladly accepted the offer. He, Mario, lives a bit outside of town in a lovely house. Showing us his garden we came across a wee box which he opened slightly to show us what was inside. Out came a bee and before we knew it, they were all over me. We ran away but I already had three stings, Dan didn’t get touched. Mario was very apologetic and after this incident we were happy to stay in his guest room rather than camp in the garden. In the morning, his wife made us some pupusas (common dish in Guatemala and El Salvador). Thanks so much to the entire family for their hospitality and the nice conversations.

Costa Rica family stay

We set off for the border at Sereno, one of three border towns. The last 4km was dirt and we thought, expecting a small border, it wouldn’t take long. Indeed, it wasn’t busy at all, and yet it took us two hours to get through. At immigration in Costa Rica we had to pay by credit card ($7 each), they didn’t accept cash. Luckily my card somehow worked. We were then sent somewhere to get permission for our bikes, which just required us to fill out two forms. At immigration in Panama we were told we needed photocopies of our passports plus a bank statement to prove that we had at least $500 each. Dan managed to print out a statement at a supermarket, but didn’t feel comfortable showing the migration officer his balance (money for 1-2 years, the officer made big eyes). Had we known all this before we could have moved money around and printed something out saving us the hassle at the border. Furthermore, there were no people exchanging money nor did the bank do so. Luckily, a supermarket was happy to change our money to USD.

By the time we had passed the border and had something to eat it was already noon. The prospect of cycling 50km undulating up from 1000m to 1600m isn’t all that inviting when it’s already later in the day so we decided to stay in Sereno.

Anyhow, we had a good time in Costa Rica. The landscape changes a lot, we enjoyed the many dirt roads on the Nicoya peninsula, and the people we met were friendly. As it is a touristy country, prices were higher than what we’d gotten used to, hence we stayed in a hotel only once and spent all other nights at beaches, churches, or people who offered us to stay at their home. Tap water was potable (a bottle of water in the supermarket is as expensive as any other drink, be it coke or milk etc), and for food we spent around $11 for both of us each day.

Let our adventure continue in Panama.

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