We left Granada and made it to the border in a couple of hours, but getting out of Nicaragua proved a lot harder than anticipated. We had to give a dollar to a couple different people who looked like they were ripping me off, but we’re actually legit, and then we had to fill out a tourist card like you do on entry into most countries. I told the lady I had done this already and she was like, “yeah, I know. Do it again.” And then go get it stamped by the police officers randomly walking around the parking lot. Ok. And then come back and then you can go. The whole thing took ages, way longer than exiting any other country since Mexico. Then we drove across the border and through a big line of military guys with huge guns.
As we got to the Costa Rican side we saw the reason for all the military dudes with guns. The Costa Rican border looked like a refugee camp. People were laying around everywhere. Clothes were hanging from every possible surface. There was a hose strung over a fence that people were showering under.
We realized shortly that it looked like a refugee camp because it was a refugee camp. As many of you may have seen on the news, hundreds of Cubans had flown to Ecuador and started to make their way north to enter the US by land and receive refugee status. All the countries in between Ecuador and Nicaragua had ferried them through, knowing their intention to get to the US, but when they tried to cross from Costa Rica to Nicaragua they were stopped. A bunch of people had tried to rush the Nicaraguan border and they were tear gassed. Hence the grand Nicaraguan military presence.
But then we were in Costa Rica and that means almost in Panama.
Have I talked yet about how bubbly water has a different name in every country? It’s terribly annoying.
In Costa Rica, “soda”, which meant sparkling water in Nicaragua, now means low key cheap restaurant. These are better for the budget friendly traveler than anything that says restaurant on it because they don’t charge a whole bunch of tax. But generally they’re not very good. In fact, we didn’t have a memorable meal at all in our short time in Costa. But to be fair, we only had about six meals there.
Anyway, we were trying to push as far as we could and as the sun was going down we came to a small town near Puntarenas (a touristy area) that Google told me had some hotels, including one in particular that had some good reviews, Casa Canadiense.
We rocked up to the locked gate and were welcomed by barking doggies, which automatically makes it a good spot. The prorprietor, Jamie, let us in and introduced us to her two rottweilers and her one weird hairless dog. Of course it’s been over a month now and I can’t remember their names. But one rott was old and sweet, and the other guy was a year and a half and rambunctious. Jamie had only had him for a week because he had been “rescued” in a big drug bust and the police asked her to take him. They say he wasn’t willing to testify against his captors. Jamie recommended we remove our bags from our bikes for the night because she wasn’t sure if he would try to investigate them. And before we did that we walked down to the beach to watch the sun set. When we got back our rambunctious friend had investigated Chris’ boots. Luckily they were just covered in slobber and not chewed up at all.
While the rooms were a little outdated and unloved, Jamie and the dogs kept us entertained all evening and in the morning we watched her feed her toucan, macaw and parrots. She rescues birds as well as drug dogs.
We headed south planning to get as close to the Panamanian border as possible. First we had to stop at Crocodile River for some pics.
And then we wound up in Golfito. It’s a small fishing village and the downtown strip is pretty run down. We stayed on the outskirts of town at the Hotel Mar Y Luna. It has a restaurant with decent food, nice air conditioned rooms and a water front deck.
To support Chris in his Movember efforts, the local beer was also participating. The beer had a much more effective time at growing a mustache than Chris did.
The following morning while eating breakfast some macaws came to have their own brekkie in a nearby tree. Unfortunately you couldn’t really see them in the leaves, but this is what I got with the binos.
Then they flew away and so did we.