QuickPeek: Flat. Hot. Bus ride. Night ride.
I was up at 5:30 with the sun shining in and as I was packing up, Some of the construction creww showed up. They were pretty chilled with me hanging out there and so I packed up, had a cup of coffee and headed on the road. It was early, 7 AM I reckon when I started and the sun was already warm and scorching. I braced myself for a hot day on the saddle.
I had a warmshowers host in a town about 50 km and initially I planned to do a short day and get there and rest up. But as I rode on, I felt I could do more and was looking at options to get up the hill.
The route was flat and boring, for starters. since I got to the coastal flat lands, I started to see a lot of oil palm along the way. It felt like I was riding the East coast route of malayisia. Featureless, except for a few settlements supporting the plantation. It was sad that they had decided to take away good rainforest and go for oil palm. The story of the environmental damage due to oil palm in Indonesia and Malaysia is stark and people seem not to wish to learn from mistakes elsewhere. Add to it, they were selling Rambutan on the streets, just to make the sense of riding in Malaysia all the more real…
The day got warmer and warmer and I saw signs for a cafe called Mono Congo. I figured it might be a good place for rest and turned out that this cafe was in a small town called Dominical. There was a turnoff into the mountains from here and I figured I could use the internet to look at options.
Dominical turned out to be a strange place indeed. It was filled with SUV / 7 seater driving Americans who were all dressed in ‘fancy’ hippie garb. I suppose the place probably started as a beach commune, but had attracted many property investors and summer homes and looked absolutely out of place in the neighbourhood. It was like I was back in Huatulco (in Mexico). Julia would have a good laugh here, they even had kale smoothies, Ja ja ja…
I did get my internet and with the heat getting on, I figured out my options. There were buses heading to many places and the first one at 11 AM was going to Ciudad Neily. This was a town close to the Panama Border and also to San Vito which was where I was headed. The driver wouldn’t take my bike on, but after a bit of haggling, he decided to let me tie the bike at the wheelchair spot and charge me an additional ticket. Ah well. 10$ for bike and me for a 3 hr ride. Way more expensive than Nicaragua, but I decided to take it.
Once at Ciudad Niely, there was a bus heading into San Vito in the hills in 30 mins. I managed to take it and was glad to have a ride up this one. The first 10 K’s or so was a torturous climb, I’d reckon an average of 10-12% grade and the bus went up on first get all the way. Also they took a convoluted route and tool nearly 3 hrs to get to my destination. My intended plan was to get to the farm early in the evening, but It was 5pm and I had another 10-12 Km to go to get home. As I rode down the rolling hills, it for real dark and foggy (at least the rain stayed away) and after a bit of searching, I spotted the farm.
David and Kristy were really nice hosts and they invited me in and offered some dinner too. They seemed to be a charming couple from the Pacific NW and trying to live a simple retired life off of the land. Krista was also here and she gave me a heads up on what to expect in terms of work and schedules etc. I suppose starting tomorrow, its going to be an interesting experience. I might not write often during my time here, but will try to make a regular posting to keep you fellers informed!
Route: Roncador to Dominical. Bus from Dominical to San Vito. Bike from San Vito to Limoncito.
Distance: 46.4 Km
Road: Asphalt with Good shoulder. some stretches after Dominical seemed to lack any shoulder. The road up from Ciudad Neily is too steep for loaded touring.
Traffic: Pretty heavy on the coastal road. Quiet up the hills from Ciudad Neily.
Services: Frequent along the coast. Not much up the hills from Ciudad Neily.
Expenses: SG$ 33.45
Comments: Really, Dominical was what’s wrong with Costa Rica.