Saturday, August 9, 2008

Playa del Coco, Costa Rica

Day: 153

Mileage: 84

Total Mileage: 7,364

I went from this in Nicaragua....

To this in Costa Rica in just a few miles, the change was dramatic.

I ended up not leaving Isla Ometepe on Wednesday, as apparently, the muscles used in Volcano climbing have nothing to do with the muscles used in cycling. I was so soar the next morning that I could barely walk. I felt like the tin man before Dorothy came and gave him some oil.

So, I decided to stay another day to try and let my legs recover. I spent a nice lazy day in a hammock, napping and reading and eating. Not bad really, but unfortunately it did nothing for my soreness. I should have ridden the bike a little or gone for a short jog to break up the lactic acid in my legs, but the hammock felt so nice and it was such a warm day that I didn't bother.
I took off on Thursday though and wow, that was painful. I was gritting my teeth the entire ride and any time I stopped pedaling to take a drink or what have you, my legs would buckle and it was all I could do to keep from falling down.

The border crossing was slow, but painless. I changed my money out to Costa Rican colones, and the conversion is a pain in the rear, one American dollar is worth about 550 of theirs, so you are constantly dividing huge numbers in your head to figure out what things cost. Its always a bit of a shock when you get a meal and the tab says $4,000! Speaking of which, Costa Rica is incredibly expensive, more so than the states. I was really shocked. Food here costs far more than in America, and homes in nice areas are the same as in California, its crazy. A home near the water goes for $500,000 US, and not a big home either. Condos go for $150,000 to $300,000. The prices are due to all of the expatriates moving to the Costa Rican beaches to retire, although I fail to see the logic in it. If you are moving to a place where the cost of living is higher, why not stay in your home country where you can at least be close to your family, but then, that may be the reason some people leave. I wonder how the locals feel about it, as this has all occured in the last generation. They can not afford the homes anymore, it must be aggrivating. Those I have asked seem OK with it, but Costa Ricans are notroiously nonconfrontational, so I may not be getting the truth of it.

Costa Rica is also very Americanized, which is good and bad in my opinion. It is a bit surreal to see all of the American stores, but it is also a bit nice as it reminds me of home, and I wont be around anything like this again for a very long time. It just makes me chuckle to see surf shops everywhere, just like where I used to live.

Thursday I wanted to make it all the way to Playa del Coco, but I got caught in a huge storm and had to take shelter at a church. They were kind enough to let me stay the night in the back yard. I got to sleep under an awning which was nice, so I wasn't soaking wet all night like usual.
I arrived in Playa del Coco yesterday, and have been relaxing and trying to let my poor legs recoup a bit. I am still stiff as a board and no amount of stretching seems to remedy it. I will stay here till Monday, then head further south.


Oasis of the Toucans said...

Well Reece. You didn't go to Costa Rica. You may as well have ben in Miami or, more appropriately, Tel Aviv.The western coastal areas of this country has been taken over. Occupied if you will.
The REAL Costa Rica are towns like Bijagua, Upala, Sierpe, Tilaran, Chachagua, Cuidad Quesada, Turrialba and a plethora of others with a non-US of M-pyre occupation. I live in a 5000 square foot house on a farm in the mountains. ( 320.000 $ )
I have 3 full time employees and after all bills only spend about $1400-$1800 a month. Try that in Californication.
See the real CR before you bleat an opinion.
PS. Cancun and Acopulco are not Mexico either.

patricia said...

I hope you recover well.

I've always wanted to go to Costa Rica, and i'm sure there are some places around that are a lot more native than where you are now, just takes some time to get to know all of the different beautiful places there. My parents are from Honduras, also in Central America, and i highly encourage that you go there, too.

Much luv and best wishes on this Central American expedition,


patricia said...

Costa Rica must be beyond beautiful! I'm sure you'd find more native place by taking more time with your surroundings there, but then again, you're only staying until monday and so i'm not sure if you have all the time to do so.

My parents are from a country in Central America known as Honduras, and it looks like you haven't gone just yet, but i highly encourange you to do so because it's a beautiful place to meet with, and there's many native places around to visit.

Much love and best wishes on your current Central American adventure,