There we sat at the edge of Marathon Key in a parking area at the beginning of the Seven Mile Bridge. The rain that had been accompanying us for the whole drive had finally broken and, while the dark clouds were still threatening, we were determined to complete the last part of the drive with the top down. The only problem was it was the first time we had ever rented a convertible and we had no idea how to get it to go down! We had done the obvious things like releasing the latch and pushing the button that had an image of the car with the top opening on it, but all we got was a warning that the top was not secure and a beep. As any modern, tech savvy person would do, we pulled up YouTube on our phone and watched as a helpful person walked us through the steps. Armed with our new knowledge we walked around to the tiny trunk and removed all of the luggage that we had so carefully shoe-horned in a few hours before in Miami and then we hooked the top divider into its notches, thus eliminating any useful space in the trunk. We pushed the button and the top effortlessly opened and fell into the space that our luggage had occupied – It was going to be a ragtop day! We shoved whatever we could fit back into the trunk and then we put everything else in the back seat. We would be completing the ride with the top down, but we were going to look a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies doing it! We eased our brand new, silver, Super Sport Camaro back out onto A1A and let its power rocket us up to speed as we headed west on the Seven Mile Bridge. Continue reading
We were considering going to the Caribbean coast for the remainder of our stay in Costa Rica. We asked a few people in Monteverde how long it should take us to drive there and they each told us something different, ranging from a manageable 6 hour journey to an epic, stay-in-the-car-for-the-rest-of-the-day slog of 10+ hours, and each of them gave us their answer while making a face that told us they though it was way too far for us to consider in a day’s journey. Google Maps was the most optimistic, suggesting a comical 5-hour driving time – We knew that was not likely, since we had had to double the Google Maps driving time everywhere we had gone in Costa Rica.
Monteverde was one of Costa Rica’s top attractions. Its cloud forests formed an otherworldly landscape of misty forest vistas and rolling mountains that are home to a stunning array of wildlife. It is a bird-watchers’ paradise that draws people from all over the world who come hoping to get a glimpse of its most famous avian resident the emerald green and red resplendent quetzal. The main town in the region is Santa Elena, a compact tourist town with a laid-back feeling about it. Continue reading
Driving in Costa Rica was proving to be a frustrating experience. The distances were short – Costa Rica was about the size of North Georgia – but the travel times were long. We were learning that if Google Maps said it should take two and a half hours that we needed to double it and if a Costa Rican said it should take an hour and a half it would be more like four. The trouble was that the posted speed limits were slow and the roads were uniformly bad. There were some nice paved roads, but even they were clogged with traffic and slowed by frequent towns and even more frequent school zones. There were unmarked speed bumps, absurdly aggressive drivers, potholes the size of small cars – we were driving a small car – and animals that seemed to like it better in the road than in the jungle. Once you left the pavement the roads left the realm of frustrating and became comical. The dirt roads were all paved with chunks of stone that were haphazardly spread out forming a somewhat treacherous cobblestone paving. On the good dirt roads the going was slow and bumpy, and I had seen rocky creek beds that were better than the bad dirt roads. To say that having four-wheel drive was a necessity in Costa Rica would be an understatement. Continue reading
There we stood on the balcony overlooking the mist-shrouded peak of the volcano. To our left through the mist we could see the distant shores of the huge man made lake that shared the volcano’s name – Arenal. The thick mist filled my mind with mystery and set my imagination running wild. I knew there was a volcano there and I knew what it should look like, but the only hint I got was a small piece of steep, rocky slope on the mountain’s western flank and a bunch of misty whiteness. We decided to return to the lodge later for lunch and we turned our backs to the misty mountain and set off on our first walk in Costa Rica.