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Last Trip: Countries: 9 - Miles: 10125

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Surfing

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truck driving to costa ricamountain passbeachsurfing at puerto viejo

We’d heard that the southern road out of San Jose through Cartago was fast, and took it. It was narrow and windy. Took about 5 hours total.

It had rained the night before in San Jose, and began to rain again on the way out of town, and rained the whole way. At some times there was pretty thick fog, and really hard rain. Road signs were fairly available, but keep your eyes peeled.

On the beach side, you’ll first encounter Puerto Limon, a large, dirty port town.

Kept on to Puerto Viejo. The final 20 miles or so are terrible and rutted. The turn off for P. Viejo is 44 km from the border with Panama. You can continue to Sixoloa and cross into Panama’s Bocas del Toro, an island chain on the northern coast.

Looked at all the hotels listed in Rough Guide, and all were about the same price, $36 for a double. Many had secure parking. Finally went with Hotel Guarana. Good fans, kitchen, free coffee. Owned by a very nice Italian guy, that also owns a farm outside of town.

The town is pretty small, but there are plenty of restaurants. The Hot Rocks Café shows movies nightly, for free, on a big projection screen. Great chicken nachos ($5) and fajitas ($5.50). Beer 800 c, $1.75. The Chile Rojo restaurant across the street serves Mediterranean and Thai. Tabulea salads, falafel pitas (1500 c), Thai green curry (3000 c) and ice cream (800 c). Beer 700 c.

The town is known for a surf break called Salsa Brava that produces giant waves in parts of the year, but we saw no evidence of it. Instead we went to the Rock, just outside of town down the beach. Sandy shore break. Rented a boogie board and paddled out against the strong waves. Fins were a must.

Day 1 it rained and rained. Had some food and ran into Mikeala, who told us that all the Swedes and Will were all there. Went down to their bar and had a good time. Fredrich and Johan are talking about coming to America and renting motorcycles.

It finally stopped raining on day 2 evening.

We didn’t see our friends the second day, and figured they buzzed out rather than wait out the rain. Heard that night they’d made it to Bocas.

Met two guys from California that’d ridden motorcycles down, Lance and Leo. Both were advocates of the Honda Trans Alp, which you can find on the used market in the US, though they’re no longer for sale there. It’s a compromise to the Africa Twin, which would be sublime, but almost impossible to get in the States.

In the morning, talked some business with Pablo about selling the truck for his farm, but he couldn’t commit and we were ready to move locations.

Back to San Jose!

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