Part 9: Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio


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The Trip

"Puravida" is the Costa Rican national slogan.  Pure life.  Or, the good life, depending on your frame of reference.  After being in-country for a bit more than a week, we would agree that is a good slogan.  Except for driving on the national road system.  Devil-may-care attitude seems to be the norm and passing on blind curves seems to be the standard.  As is driving at night without lights.  Or passing you on the right and then braking hard to turn left in front of you.  Our travels took us from the dirt roads of the Santa Teresa beach area through some of the more heavily trafficked roads in the country.  It was tight-jaws for me the whole way after we hit Puntarenas and followed the highway south to Manuel Antonio.  Due to a late start and some diversions for photos, we arrived after dark which only complicated matters.  The whole day was about 230km including the ferry.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

This is the main road through Santa Teresa.  Bikes, quads and foot travel are the norm.

The ticos are very ad-hoc about their parking and think nothing about just parking in the middle of the street blocking traffic.  The car under the B&B sign is half in the roadway and when this happens on both sides of the street, driving becomes problematic.

Puravida.  One of the gals saw Kathleen raise the camera and gave her the thumbs-up.

On the south side of Santa Teresa, we took a side road to the beach access.

There were plenty of surfers in the water.

This fellow was doing quite nicely.

The size of the waves can be judged from the folks in the water.

We saw plenty of folks with surf boards as well as quads equipped with surf board racks.

Quads are a good way to get around town, but the road dust is fierce.  Note this bridge without guard rails and nothing to stop you from going in should you be careless with the right tires.

At Malpais the beach looked great.

There was a bar out on the point.

We traveled across the Nicoya Peninsula to Paquera.  Our plan was to take the ferry from Paquera to Puntarenas which, according to the map, would save us about 100km of travel.  The locals told us that due to the schedule, it may not save us much time, but we arrived just in time for departure.

Next to the ferry landing was sombody's personal paradise.

They packed us in tight.  I could barely get out of the car.

There were several of this class of ferry in service on this route.  Departures were about every 2 hours.

We were on the bottom deck and there was a trap door that exposed the ramp to the lower deck.

This fellow has a truck full of cattle going to market.

Kathleen checks our position while munching chocolate.

There was some weather building over the mountains to the south.

About mid-path we passed the sister ferry heading to Paquera.

The unloading at Puntarenas was actually quite efficient.  Traffic in Puntarenas was anything but efficient.  This fellow doing deliveries failed to close his rear cargo door and ripped down some of the local trees.  Note the tire-swallowing open gutter on the right.

Puntarenas was what I would call "economically distressed".

Like many of the areas that we traveled, houses and apartments had high fences and razor wire.

South of Punta Gaupinol we got a nice view from a road-side turn-out.

We finally arrived in Manuel Antonio but it was late and we did not have reservations.  We got lucky and found a nice room at the very first place we checked.  We were out on our balcony patio and a large beetle landed on the wall.  Out of nowhere, a group of small lizards came to have dinner.  The first one there snatched him up and the others tried in vain to steal it.  It proves that in the animal kingdom, as with humanity, it is easier to steal than it is to work.

The drive was really not all that long in terms of distance, but was quite stressful due to the odd driving behavior.  Our GPS earned it's keep again and we were very grateful for having it.

Tomorrow, we head to the "Rainmaker Bridge" for a jungle hike.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.