ExperiencePlus! Blog

Tales from the Road: Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano - Costa Rica

At ExperiencePlus! we believe that a bicycle tour should allow you the freedom to travel at your own pace and the opportunity to experience another environment and culture in your own way. We provide you with tools so you have confidence to enjoy your exploration. Our chalk-dust navigational arrows ensure you won’t get lost, our daily handouts highlight and explain the interesting sites you’ll pass along the way, and knowledgeable, experienced, bilingual tour leaders are never that far away. We like to call it guided independence and over the years we’ve gathered countless stories from our riders who are accessible for memorable encounters with local people.  Here’s one example from a recent bicycling tour in Costa Rica.

Julia was enjoying a lovely day and had just begun, what tour leaders told her would be, a long climb into Monterrey, a little village north of La Fortuna in northwestern Costa Rica. As she struggled up the hill she kept her eyes on the road instead of looking around to avoid being psyched out by the climb ahead.  Suddenly she hears something, looks up to find that she’s about to run into a man covered in dirt, wearing a ragged shirt yielding what appears to be a very, very sharp machete in his right hand.

This is the end, she thinks.  Her mind flashes to every slasher horror movie she’s ever seen…  Maybe he just wants the bike. She takes evasive action and steers away to the center of the road.  The machete is in the air the blade glimmers in the sunlight… Who will tell my family?

Muchacha, quiere una pipa?

Voices of kids.  Laughter.  Two kids, more laughter.  A young boy is high in a palm tree harvesting the “pipas” (young coconuts).  His older brother catches them and puts them in a bag while their father stands by with the machete.

“Do you want a coconut?”

The machete falls cutting a precise opening at the top of the coconut.  A calloused hand presents the fruit to Julia, who stops, breathes deep, and smiles her gratitude before she takes a long, cool drink from the coconut.

Another cyclist catches up.  The machete falls again and the new rider immediately gets his own open coconut.   The riders don’t speak Spanish and the family doesn’t speak English so the kids communicate  using hand signals.  They point at a gap in the vegetation on the opposite side of the road.  The cyclists walk across the road and enjoy their coconut gazing at the best view of Arenal Volcano in the area.

We have regular departures to bicycle Costa Rica from November to March. Join us to enjoy summer weather this winter, meet the locals, and experience another culture at your own speed.