Mountain exploringMarch 18, 2018 in Costa Rica ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C
Marty, as you know, loves to explore. The steeper and more remote, the better. We loved the cool air and less populated areas of the mountains so much that we stayed up high for a few more days. We set off to visit the ruins of a catheral from the spanish conquistador days, only to discover that there is another town called Ujarres, but it is on the other side of the mountains nearer San Jose. However, we did end up high in the valley, on roads that are not meant for rental 4x4s and we loved it! We gave Anthony a ride, up to his farm, where we met his father (Alexis) who is retired from working at Dole, and is now exploring being a farmer on his wife's families' farm. It was incredibly dry, no rain for three months, but the rainy season replenishes the water so well, that water was running from the hills in all sorts of creeks. They had a tomatoe and bean crop ready to harvest to sell in town, that without the water would have shrivelled in a day. We were, again, driving around without a place to stay, and didn't want to drive all the way back to Buenos Aires which was closed up for Sunday had been stifling hot and was an hour down a dirt road. Would you believe that Anthony's uncle owned the only accomodation in the valley? Anthony lept on his bike, without a helmet and powered up the hill ahead of us, the hill I hadn't been so sure we should drive down, and hurled down the hill on the other side. A river crossing, and we ended up at a 4 room lodge, where we were the only guests and there was a pool!!! No cooking facilities, but his cousin found a pot for us and we cooked over a fire as the cicadeas (massive 3 inch beetles that flew into our room at night) and toads and stars came out. It proved to be still warm in the mountains during the day, but cool at night.
We drove off the next day, and up up up into the cloud forest, where someone had left a bit of forest and not burned it off for pasture. After visiting a school, (there are schools everywhere) we found a town that wasn't on our map, where we picked up Anita and her grandaughter Diane. Diane goes to a school, where the teacher drives 28 km one way from Buenos Aires that takes an hour on an insanely steep and twisty road. And all for 8 students. Anita invited us back to her house for lunch, a house that was built before she moved here 34 years ago to be with her husband. They work for the ranch owner and grow cilantro to sell in town. They have a Toyota jeep, and motor bikes and a horse, and live in a very simple house. She cooked for us on a wood stove and talked about her five children, two who have started families in the village, and one who has gone off to university. I asked about the upcoming election and what was important to her: Peace, a roof over her head and education for the children. Jorja loved playing with Diana, and they managed despite not being able to speak to each other! It was a treat to meet them.
Our next day found us up the roads of the next valley, again visiting indigenous territory, where they are proud to have not succumed to the Spanish. Many people riding horses, for work or to pick up the kids from school. It looked like a poorer area, but still water treatment plants and schools. We stayed cool swimming in rivers, and drove down cart tracks that could have been the road back to the highway, but sometimes ended at a farm or a washed out bridge. It was with relief that we finally hit pavement and allowed our teeth to reconnect to our skulls and headed to San Vito. We enjoyed our respite from Costa Rica tourism, and the chance to meet and learn from people. Read more