2 days sleeping with the Costa Rican volcanoes
So as planned we left Tamarindo last Saturday with our brand new car, which was supposed to be a cute Jimmy but turned out to be a white Daihatsu… A bit of a disapointment we must admit. We don’t travel for style but still… we miss the Galloper. Once our GPS’s voice was set to French Canadian (they actually had a special recording for that, the accent is absolutely perfect), we were ready to go!
Destination : Arenal volcano. Over the kilometers the landscape slowly moved from very dry, to dry, to green, to very green while the temperature went down which is, after 2 weeks under a burning sun, like a little piece of heaven. We had planned on camping by the Arenal lake that night and to do so we needed a saucepan.
What was supposed to be a simple purchase turned out to be the biggest quest of our day: Where do these people buy saucepans and if they don’t, how do they feed themselves? We were to get an answer 2 days later (today) when stopping in the city of Grecia, which seems to be the capital of saucepans and other kitchen utensils, they litterally had shops specialised in those every 3 meters. We finally found one very old school saucepan not very far from the Volcano in a shop that clearly built its business model on a simple idea: Most people who go camping come unprepared and desperate for the missing good. So when the offer is reduced to one single shop, you pay. We were deperate for our saucepan. We were in the target. We paid the price. And we were set!
Against the advice of our lovely French Canadian speaking lady on the GPS we took a track driving along the Arenal lake to reach our camping spot. We were amazed by the beauty of the road where huge ranchs closed by impressively clean white gates cohabit with thousands of sorts of trees and birds. 2 hours of driving and many flooded passages later (at one time we had to pass not just a flooded passage but a pretty large and deep river in which a truck was stuck – Not very encouraging but we made it because Daihatsu rocks!) we got to our spot. Because the sun was setting and we both lacked motivation we decided we would open our camping marathon by sleeping in the car, which seemed to be a great idea at that time. After a plate of (very) salty pastas came the hard truth: With the back seats down, our “room” was actually the length of half our bodies. The night was long, long, loong. But eventually the sun rose and we were off for a new day!
Destination of the day: Oops we had none. After talking we agreed on heading to the Poas volcano where we would fine a new spot to camp. There again, we drove through beautiful roads and Chloe took the wheel for the first time (this was a post-trauma drive: She failed to her driving license exam twice and still doesn’t have it. We even considered buying one in Costa Rica given the way people drive here but it actually seems even they have to pass an exam). We were getting lost on a road surrounded by moutains and ranchs when we realized the sun was setting and we had no place to sleep. So we thought, what better than some cowboy garden to spend the night?
First we asked a man sitting alone in front of his house but our subtle “Do you know any place we can camp here?” must have been too subtle for this very nice man who sent us further away on the road to a village. Our second try was more conclusive and a charming couple offered us a spot in their field. There we were in this beautiful setting, sleeping among the cows and the horses, surrounded by moutains and … eating in the car because of the diluvian rain. Waking up and eating Frosties in the tent with the cows looking at us was priceless. Today was “clean” day. We had a room booked in an Airbnb in downtown San Jose and decided to just go straight from the mountains to the shower (it had been 3 days…) and plan the rest of the trip.
We are now all clean and ready to go!