Riding Costa Rica, Day 2: To be or not to be..

Big tarantula in bathroom

We packed most of our gear up and got ready, and evidently we had a ‘surprise guest’ that morning, as evidenced by her yelling and running out of the bathroom. I walked in the bathroom to see that yes, evidently, tarantulas are in fact common in Costa Rica. Our ‘little friend’ (yech, I don’t like spiders, either!)  It’s tough to get the scale here, but let’s go with - the tiles are large ones, and this thing was approaching fist-sized.

After closing the door on our little buddy, and getting our stuff outside, we had breakfast, which was fruit and some eggs and juice, and as we were planning to end the day somewhere around Lake Arenal, we packed our gear up and onto the bikes. Thankfully, we were able to leave some things at de Colinas until we returned the bikes.

I had overpacked a bit, so left some things behind, along with a new pair of hiking boots I’d worn on the flight out, which turned out to really want to hurt my feet, left our helmet cases and gear bags, as we’d be wearing our gear on the road or leaving it in a room somewhere...we bungied our stuff onto the bikes and headed out.

The plan was to head to Poas, but it seems you never knew one day to the next if it would be a clear day or not, and if it isn’t clear, there isn’t all that much to see. We stopped off and gassed up, and Dave managed to hang up his bike on something and drop it at the pump, which probably made both of us feel marginally better at our ‘offs’ from the day before..and climbed a bit in altitude, to the point that it definitely was getting cooler.

The roads towards ‘the top’ weren’t that bad overall, with some nice twisties, and some signs in Spanish now and then for ‘danger’ or ‘dangerous curves,’ but still the ever missing guardrails in places.

As it turned out, today was not our day to see a volcano. It started raining as we got higher in elevation, so we stopped and put on rain gear. The rain was sporadic, but there wasn’t much point in trying to see the volcano with the clouds, so we headed off towards Arenal and a ‘resort type place’ we were going to be staying at. Along the way, Dave mentioned a place that has ‘hummingbirds everywhere,’ which sounded like a good idea, as who doesn't love hummingbirds and she keeps a stocked feeder at home....it was wet, and I slid the tires a bit occasionally, but it was generally fine overall en route.

We stopped off at a waterfalls, with a few small souvenir type stands we checked out for a bit. Ironically, while we were there, a truck pulled up full of white boxes....all labelled ‘Made in China!’ Either way, they had some cool knick-knacks...and scenery.

bottom of falls

The hummingbird cafe

Then the rain let up a bit, and we headed onward to the ‘hummingbird place.’

It was basically a coffee and sandwich shop, in a small strip of perhaps 3 other stores, upstairs over another shop. The owners kids were grinding up flour or corn by hand for tortillas or similar, and they brewed coffee through a sock. Some of the usual souvenirs were available, but with a great view back to the falls we had just passed not long back..

They had a tarantula sitting inside an enclosed tank, and accepted donations, which seemed a bit odd, considering sugar water for hummingbirds surely doesn’t cost that much, but is well worth it when we got a look (and of course, donated)- they really were everywhere! A pair of toucans were also hanging out....


It seems today was the day for animals, as it turned out. The rain continued on and off, and during a downpour, we found ourselves stopping for a late lunch and ice cream at The Iguana Restaurant, in Muelle.  As it turned out, there was a reason for the name. A small river was a few hundred feet from the restaurant, and a tree right next to the place had a fair number of iguana resting in it’s branches.  The last pic is of an iguana that decided to come and check me out while I was taking some pictures and looking in the trees...I turned around to see him about a foot from me..

Restaurante las Iguanas
Locals with iguana
Big iguana on wall
Another iguana walking around

The food was pretty good, and they had milk-shakes as well, which hit the spot while waiting for the rain to let up a bit. 

New Years at Tilajari Resort

We had reservations for the night (New Years Eve) at the Tilajari Resort..she had found he place online, and it seemed a decent towards on the nicer side for somewhere to stay. Jim and Dave rode with us until we found the place, gave some parting words of advice, then headed back towards Atenas while we got checked in. Well, this was it- the end of our guided tour, and also the last night of reservations in advance...

The Tilajari was nice, probably a bit nicer than we expected- we were trying to find a balance somewhere between ‘safe, clean and affordable’ and ‘nice,’ with a few extravagances now and then, with this being one of the extravagances, considering it was New Years Eve. Evidently the Tilajari was built and owned by a former Texas cattle rancher, whom we met briefly later on that night at dinner.  

Lots of unique (or to us, at least) flora and trees were neatly landscaped on the property, and unlike some places in CR, Tilajari had both ‘real’ hot water and air conditioning, something we'd come to appreciate on this trip :-)

Tilijari Resort
Tilijari Resort grounds
Starfruit tree
River behind the resort

I de-geared and relaxed a bit, and found the  Starfruit tree pictured above, and brought one back. I think it was my first time trying one...not bad, but I prefer oranges :-)

We came across another iguana, this one not quite so amenable to human company nearby, but got a few shots as it scampered off into the woods.

We really didn’t like the idea of riding at night in general, nor do either of us ride when we’ve been drinking, so we got reservations for their New Years Eve dinner party , which was overall OK. As we planned on being on the road and heading around Arenal the next day, we turned in relatively early for the night.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings..