Unfortunately as I headed from the border to La Fortuna, I very quickly hit rain and had to put on all the rain gear, slowing me down. That was followed by an unexpected section of dirt road which, while it had gotten just enough rain to pack down the loose dirt without being muddy, still wasn't ideal terrain for making good time. After the long border crossing and the extra delays, it was just getting dark as I pulled into La Fortuna. That made the fact that my headlight had burned out during the day a little bit of a problem - the people in front of me weren't a big fan of my brights, I'm sure, but I wasn't about to go light-less at night.
La Fortuna was just a one night stop for me on the way to San Jose, but I'd picked it because I was trying to find a nice quiet place to spend Christmas, and it seemed like a good candidate. The hostel I picked was on the edge of town (but still walkable) and was pretty much a resort - tons of rooms, a good (but slightly expensive) restaurant, and a huge pool with a slackline over it and lounge chairs all around it. Most importantly, it had fast internet, which I wanted so that I could Skype with family for Christmas. I decided on my first night there that it would suffice, and booked it for three days.
|This guy did try to steal my bed while I was there though.|
As it turns out I didn't have to worry. As soon as I got a little ways away from La Fortuna, the clouds cleared and I had a gorgeous mountain ride. Curvy roads next to a lush green canyon, flowers and plants lining the roads, and a couple of waterfalls that I pulled over for made the ride one of the best I'd had in a while. Combine that with smooth pavement and sunny skies (but cool temperatures from the elevation) and I was one happy rider. Even with the delay for the headlight and the stops on the way, I still arrived in San Jose nice and early, and relaxed at the hostel for a while until the others arrived.
|Gorgeous roads like this. I'm actually parked in the driveway of some humongous mansion.|
|This was the view the other way, and for most of the ride. The road followed the edge of this valley for quite a while.|
|Coming around one curve I saw this off to the side and stopped for a pic.|
|This one had a bridge just off to the left going over the river. Absolutely gorgeous.|
|Yay for original audio and subtitles.|
|First he tries to take my bed, then he tries to take my spot on the couch when I get up for five minutes.|
|Christmas dinner with a group from the hostel.|
|Relaxing poolside in the cloudy weather.|
Eventually, it was time to move on. The only problem was, I didn't know where. Lots of people had given me things to see in Costa Rica, but the combination of high costs and traveling alone for the first time in six weeks had me a little apathetic about many of them. But eventually I decided to make the ride to Manuel Antonio park.
I packed up in the rain and headed out, plotting a route along the north side of Laguna Arenal, giving me a fourth curvy, scenic road in or out of La Fortuna. After enjoying the curves for a while, I stopped at a German bakery I'd seen signs for and got some delicious (though expensive) schnitzel, and talked with the owner a bit as he asked questions about my bike and my travels. He ended up giving me a 5% discount for being a rider, which I thought was strange until I went to use the bathroom and saw his bike parked back there as well.
As I pulled in, I saw a familiar looking bike... not quite as packed down, but sure enough it was the guy from the border with the huge bike. It turns out his brother owns a hostel, and that's where I'd ended up! The place was nice, though no AC in the room made for pretty warm sleeping, but it was worth it to get to spend a while talking with another rider. I found out that he had so much trouble at the border because his passport was due to expire in less than six months - even though it was a Costa Rican passport and he was trying to enter Costa Rica.
But even after arriving, I was still feeling a bit lost as far as what I was going to do, or even what direction I wanted to go. Fortunately, that was about to change.