The photos below are what we saw.
The room was basic and one of the things I noted was the television. The Chinese are unashamed about stealing both brands and intellectual property, and this example is the most blatant I have seen.
Kathleen nor I slept that well; the area was noisy and the
breakfast kitchen crew reported to work around 0600 (which was
0400 our time) and began crashing around with pans and
dishes. Plus both the San Juan airport and the main highway
were within earshot. Since the area was dark when we
arrived, we had no chance to view any of the surrounding areas.
next morning we got a chance to see what the surrounding area
looked like. The roads in the area around the hotel in the
Alajuela area were in miserable shape with lots of pot
holes. The local road crew, thinking that a 4" lip of the
sewer cap was not sufficient punishment for your tires also added
a 5 gallon bucket filled with rocks to complete the damage.
patio outside our room is where breakfast was served and it was
owner was nice enough to park our car in his locked garage
area. The bars on the windows provide a sense of the theft
apartment building a few houses away looked like a prison.
Note the razor wire on the roof.
to the apartment was an open field that had horses. After we
departed the hotel, we went to the local Walmart for supplies --
bottled water, kleenex and snacks. Then we hit the road
toward La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano. Highway 1 had
plenty of road hazards and was heavily traveled. We were
told of the automated speed traps and that the rental car company
is billed $600 for a violation, which is passed on to the
driver. The speed limit was 80 kph and given the shape of
the road, that was plenty fast enough.
and I have long said that no trip is complete without seeing a
Unimog. Along highway 1 outside of San Ramon we saw this 411
at a truck dealership.
owned a 411 for about 15 years, but rarely took it anywhere due to
the very low highway speed and total lack of creature
comforts. That said, my 411 did the Moab Rim trail several
times, Metal Masher at Moab, Sledgehammer and Jackhammer trails at
Johnson Valley. Despite being a tractor with a sheet metal
body, it is a highly capable off road truck. This one has
some kind of custom wheels for larger tires.
the robustness of the Unimog against the our rental 4x4, a Suzuki
Jimmy. The Jimmy has a shimmy at highway speeds which makes
fast driving questionable.
is manually harvesting sugar cane. Happily for him, it was
not that hot.
countryside was verdant green and despite the numerous pot holes
in the highway, it was in generally passable shape and heavily
traveled. The fellows at the right are selling local honey.
speaking of bees, we stopped at San Ramon for some food at the
local mall and spotted this fellow suiting up. When we first
saw him, we thought it was due to the smoke in the distance toward
the far hill, but when he put on the head protection we started to
get curious. The security guards at the mall spotted a bee
swarm in the palm tree and called the fire department.
Assuming that these were the vicious Africanized bees, we took one
photo, rolled up the window and then rolled out onto the highway.
spotted many older Land Rovers on the local roads assuming it is a
strong comment about the rural roads.
route from Alajuela to Arenal took us through rural areas with
many narrow bridges. These bridges are just wide enough for
one vehicle and the first one to the bridge wins.
of the hillsides had large farming operations.
did not pass or see many vehicles on the road until we came to
this construction zone. We waited here about 30 minutes
until we could pass.
vehicles are playing chicken, but the red Montero won.
streams though the jungle were pretty. This one was
(currently) small, but some we crossed were huge.
is a single-single Bailey Bridge. Used my the allied forces
during WWII, the bridge is assembled on site by a set of
here is a real bridge.
pulled over on the far side to get a better look at the
bridge. It crossed a major canyon.
river at the bottom was not flowing much and perhaps never
does. Note the house in the river valley that is not much
above the river grade. I would think the house would be in
dire peril in the rainy season.
was a road house on the far side of the river bank. The Coke
delivery truck dwarfs our little Jimmy.
destination for the next two nights was the Arenal Paraiaso
Resort. Much nicer than our place in Alajuela.
had a little casita with twin beds and even air conditioning.
first view of the Arenal Volcano. This is an active volcano
and several years ago lava was running down the side of the
mountain. The volcanic cone is high enough to create its own
and boulders from the eruption cut paths through the jungle growth
on the flanks of the volcanic cone.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.