Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where the Streets Have No Name

We are now in the land where the streets have no name...

We have gotten to know Costa Rica intimately by driving it.

Getting here was fairly painless. Got up at 3 am. Plane left the airport at 5:30 am. No delays. Got to Costa Rica at 2pm local time - 4 pm my time.

Our hotel, per their website, is 6 miles from the airport. It took us 5 hours to find it. Yup, 5 HOURS!! We could not find a marked street to save our lives and no one seems to be able to give directions because none of the streets have signs. Plus, we don't speak Spanish. There was alot of gesturing and instructions like,"turn at the sign with the big mouth" and "it's the street after the Panasonic." I even called the hotel and got instructions like "get off the highway at the Office Depot and turn on the side street by the Holiday Inn."

After that experience, we were nervous about getting to our ziplining trip the day after. The website said it was suppose to take 4 hours from our hotel. My husband met some people who had already made the drive and they told him it took them 6 hours. We had to be there by 11 am. So... my husband decided to book us into another hotel that he thought was 10 miles from where we were ziplining. We drove there the following day. It took us 4 hours to get there.

That night, I tried to get more directions to where we were ziplining. Ummm... the location was 4 hours from where we were! Distance-wise, it was only a little over 100 miles. Looks like you can drive it in less than 2 hours. However, it's a dirt goat-path up and down and around the mountains. Plus, we were in the cloud forest region so we were literally driving through clouds with no visability. None of these streets had names either but it didn't matter at this point because most of the time the only "road" was the dirt path we were on. We left our second hotel at 6:30 am. We got to the ziplining place at exactly 11am.

I'd have to say though, ziplining through the cloud forest was worth it! Some of the lines were over half a mile long. The other thing we discovered is that it is very misty and rains on and off all day long up in the cloud forest. Ziplining took about 2 hours. We then toured a butterfly garden and a hummingbird garden. The last thing on our schedule was a "canopy tour" that had us walking over 8 suspension bridges over the forest. It was only 2 miles so I kinda pushed everyone to do it. Then I regretted it. It started pouring down rain. The bridges are WAY up high and the half of my family that is afraid of heights were pretty freaked out but didn't have a choice at that point. We got out of the cloudforest at 5 pm and found our car to be the last one in the lot.

Then we had to drive back "home" to our first hotel. My husband wanted to avoid the dirt roads as much as possible because they took FOREVER to drive and shook your teeth out. We mapped a route that had us to the Pan-American Highway in 1.5 hours.

The Pan-American Highway is the "superhighway" that goes up the middle of Central America. It's actually a paved road with one lane going each way and no lights. If you get behind a truck, you end up driving 30 mph. People pass in the on-coming lane all the time. We were the fourth car back behind a truck at one point when a school van passed all four cars and the truck in the on-coming lane of traffic going uphill in the dark! It took us a total of 4 hours to get back to our hotel.

That was yesterday. We are relaxing today. Tomorrow, we are getting up at 5:30 am to go white water rafting. It's suppose to take 1.5 hours to get to the place. We are giving ourselves 2.5 hours.

The kids have decided that any paved road in this country is called a highway. I have learned how to get directions on Google Maps using GPS coordinates because nothing here has an address!


  1. So cool! Looks like so much fun! I also had to get use to looking up stuff on google map on my phone...I still hate it! :) Glad you had a wonderful trip! (so far)