We had read and heard that the roads in Costa Rica should be rougher and good for 4x4 driving. Not long after the border on our way to the Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja area the GPS told us to take a shortcut that was not in our map. We decided to give it a try. The road got more and more narrow, but it was a beautiful drive on small farm roads.
When the road took us past some mango trees with loads of ripe mangoes we just had to stop to pick some.
Next morning we had pancakes with mangos and honey for breakfast, and I do not know if we can have a better start on the day than this.
After breakfast we headed up to the Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja and
hiled a trail in the park to have a closer look at
mud pools, boiling hot springs,
(this is the steam from the boiling hot springs in the trees)
and strangler figs.
From this National Park area we wanted to try some back roads to Arenal instead of driving back to the Highway. A couple of the roads we took was privately owned, and we had to pay 1, 50 USD per person to drive on these roads. Some of the roads turned out a lot better than we had expected, but that was because a windmill park had been put up in the area.
Still, we had a nice drive to Arenal even if we missed on one turn so that Espen had to drive the last bit on tarmac.
In Nuevo Arenal is Tom’s German bakery that we had heard rumors about up in Nicaragua. So when we were in the area, we made sure to stop. It was the best bread we’d had in a long, long time. We can actually not remember the last time we had so good bread, but it must have been in a special bakery in North America somewhere.
From what we read in the Lonely Planet, advertisement and signs along the road, we get the impression that we can zip line our way through all of Costa Rica. Since our budget does not include those amounts of money, we will continue to drive the Nissan Patrol across Costa Rica. Someone said the magic words “Not possible to drive” to Espen regarding the road on south side of Lago de Arenal, so we had to give it a try.
Coming from the East we had the biggest river crossing in the beginning of the drive, but it was no problem at all now in the dry season. We can imagine the crossing will be a little harder in the rainy season, but it is definitely a drivable road.
The rest of the drive was nice and smooth, and we had some great views of Vulcán Arenal.
From the volcano area we headed to the beaches on Nicoya Peninsula.