Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.
I have posted 4 other entries for our travels in Costa Rica. Skip to the next link for each posting in reverse chronological order. Find contact information for guides and hotels at the end of this posting.
The GPS coverage was "Very Good" 80 percent of the time. I really enjoyed the Bluetooth receiver, being able to put it on the dash while I sat where ever I wanted in the van.
Guido Chavez was a great guide for us because he was knowledgable and organized.
He had a good sense of humor and an eagle eye for wild life and plants. Guido could speak English fine but he was very encouraging and helpful when we spoke Spanish. Marcos on the other hand spoke better English but wasn't so accommodating of our Spanish speaking.
Our accommodations were fine, the Villa having the most amenities. Pachira Lodge had lots of character. I'd return to all of these places. Costa Rica uses the same 110v ac power as the US. AS of this date, the exchange rate was 455 Colones per US dollar. Travelers Checks were a hastle to cash and not every place took credit cards. A 10 percent tip was included on most restaurant bills. There was GSM cell phone coverage in most of the medium to large towns. GPRS data did not work anywhere. Coco had cell phone coverage and an Internet cafe.
Many of the roads in Costa Rica are without signs and they have copious pot-holes. A local driver is essential. I recorded over 140 user Points of Interest during our travels in addition to over 200 commercial points, available to any BrailleNote GPS user from the SenderoGroup web site.
We added one last stop on our way back to San Jose and the trip home. Being in the rain forest, it was not unusual that we were rained out from seeing the Arenal volcano and from riding the cable zip lines on the canape tree-top tour nearby. We’ll have to come back.
Readings: Lat 10, 29, 19.056 North. Lon 84, 43, 22.818 West.
We made the most of the area nonetheless. The Tabacon Hot Springs offered a range of natural pools of many temperatures from scorching to cool. This was the first time I used my cane in the water because I didn't want to step into deep water too quickly. The biggest pool had a water slide and a bar with cement stools so you could sit half submerged while sipping a beverage and watching the children play and the babes swim by. These hot springs were definitely the cool place for young folks to hang out on a Sunday night.
When is the last time you saw a Pisote alongside the road? It is from the raccoon family and are as bold when it comes to being fed.
On the long trip home, 18 hours door to door, the highlight was meeting a wonderful seatmate on the flight from DC to San Francisco. I wrote a piece several years ago called, The People Make the Places. Melinda reminded me how true this is. Many people, some who’s names we may not even know, will be talked about for years to come as we relive the Costa Rica experience.
Check out the other Costa Rica entries including: Christmas at the beaches on the Northwest coast: Leather Back turtles in Playa Grande, beautiful dry weather and volcanic sand beaches at Vela Pez in Playa Ocotal. The travel saga getting to and from Pachira Lodge, incredible rainfall, canoeing through small channels, hearing and seeing Howler monkeys and seeing a sloth.
Contacts for touring Costa Rica: (dial 011 and the 506 area code from the US)
firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 266-1027
Guides near Playas de Coco, Leslie 812-0355 or Ciro Marcos Ruiz cell 825-7267
Flights within Costa Rica on Sansa or Nature air toll free in the US, 800 948-3770, departs from Tobias Bolanos (Pavas) airport
Vela Pez resort in Playa Ocotal:
Reception 670-0129. No cell coverage but phones in the Villas.
Hotel Valladolid, in Heredia, near San Jose airport, in a busy downtown area.
Tortuguero, Pachira Lodge, no phone in the room but there is GSM cell coverage.http://www.PachiraLodge.comVolcano Lodge near Arenal
Liberia Dollar rent-a-car also offered cell phone rental.