I need to learn to put distance into perspective. It is about as many kilometers from Guatemala City to San Jose Costa Rica as it is from Ottawa to Thunder Bay Ontario, yet when I ask for directions the only answers I seem to get is “I don’t know” or “It’s very far”.
Once I was finished at customs in Costa Rica, I was told by a local that it would take about 6 hours to reach San Jose, four hours later I arrived. The map I have of Costa Rica is only a “tourist” map so it does not list distances or any of the minor roads. I ask for directions often just to make sure I am going the right way.
My conversations go like this.
Cuantos Kilometers? (How many Kilometers?)
No se. (no idea)
Cuantos minutes? (How many minutes?)
Esta cerca? (is it close)
No, es mucho. (no its far)
Any I then get pointed in the right direction and usually within 30 minutes I arrive at where I need to be. I have stopped using the map or asking for directions and just drive. All roads seem to lead back to San Jose anyway.
I decided after relaxing and resting for a few days that it was time for some adventure. I rode to the Tarcoles River for a crocodile tour. It cost only $30 for an hour and a half down once of the most dense crocodile populations in the world. We stopped counting after seeing 20 crocodiles within the first 10 minutes. The best part was when our tour guide got out of the boat and hand fed the wild crocs.
Since it did not take me long to reach Tarcoles I decided to go for a ride and ended up near Manuel Antonio National Park. This place is supposed to be amazing and worth a visit for a few days. I checked out a few hotels and found that they really range in price and quality; eventually I found one I liked but decided to come back on the weekend with some friends from San Jose.
I stuffed my useless tourist map in my top case, along with my rain gear and headed back to San Jose. I was no more than 30 kilometers down the highway when the sky opened up and dropped what felt like a years’ worth of rain on me. I did not see it coming and never had time to get my rain gear on. I got soaked but my map is dry.