Miguel’s Paradise in Costa Rica

Miguel is a fortunate person to have grown up in an area and stay there to be grandfathered into the Las Tablas Protected Zone, which was established in 1981. Las Tablas Protected Zone, in South Puntarenas area, covers about 70,000 acres.

From San Vito, Bob and I bicycled through Sabalito and a couple villages before reaching LaLucha, where pavement ended. It was Sunday so Bob and I were lucky to find one small store open. Muffins and water was all they had. Not much fuel for what was ahead of us, but it was something. We carried energy bars which we ended up using about half way up that mountain.

It was a brutal four hours to climb 15 km (9 mi). Bob and I ended up pushing our bikes part of the way. Within a mile of our destination, we crossed a mountain stream so we took a minute to cool off. It was just what we needed on a hot, dusty road.

Mountain stream that Bob and I cooled off in

Miguel and his family are among the most welcoming people we have ever met. We were fed an abundance of homemade food. Perfect for a couple of ravenous bike-packers.

An excellent carpenter, Miguel built the waterwheel that houses a generator to supply electricity for the house.

Waterwheel that Miguel built

Here is another glimpse of his property:


The exterior of the house, which Miguel built, looked like a typical Tico house, but the inside is stunning. The house was handcrafted with care. Bob and I were seated in the dining room but we could see the kitchen. The cabinets, table, chairs, floor, ceiling – everything. Unfortunately, I did not take photos of the inside.

Bob and I spent only one night at Miguel’s. We could have easily spent more time up there to hike around. Maybe someday we will.

Wilson Botanical Gardens – Costa Rica

Wilson Botanical Garden is located in the San Vito area. Bob and I visited there during our 2016 bike-pack trip in Costa Rica. That year was unusually hot and dry so things were not as lush as it normally would be, but Bob and I still enjoyed our time there.

B.Wil.Yellow     Bamboo


Wilson Botanical Garden offers both self-guided tours and guided tours. Bob and I opted for the self-guided tour.

They also feature cabins, a restaurant, and a gift shop for visitors who want to spend more time there.

To get there, from the main intersection in San Vito, take Route 237 toward Ciudad Neily for 6 km (3.7 miles). The entrance is on the right.

Bike-Packing to Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Back in 2011, Bob and I attempted taking the only road to Drake Bay. We had a late start because we were fascinated about the process of making thatched roofs. One of the camp’s huts were being worked on while we were there. It was a great opportunity to talk to the workers and ask questions.

Once we got to the road to Drake, the series of hills we tackled got steeper. At the point where Bob and I turned around, we had already encountered four hills; two of which I had to push my bike. It was one slow step after another to reach the top of that fourth hill. The heat and humidity hit me bad. The thought of having to turn around bummed me out, but my endurance was pushed beyond my limits that day.

After Bob got home from his trip this past March, he told me that the point we turned around at was only about a fourth or a third of the way to Drake Bay. We would have never made it there before dark.

Here is Bob’s description of the road as emailed from an Internet source after he got back out from Drake Bay.

It was all hill climbing like we left it for 4 more km. Nice hard packed road. I made all the climbs except the last 300 meters, because I thought it would go on for the next 1 k or so with the unseen bends. I was gassed making all of the climbs pouring out sweat like a roasted pig. If i knew there was really the end of the first 12 k of climbing right in front of me, I could have made that; but I said sheeeeet, this is time to stop before my heart blows or my legs blow out. Visualized that was twice as easy as what was next to come.; not including all the dump truck hauling gravel to drake airport. They are extending it bigger – dusty nasty gravely giant hills. No fun at all. Impossible to continue riding for anyone. Steep

Rode 125k to Drake. Got a bus ride out this morning at 4 a.m. It was wicked the last half ride in there. Worst roads ever. Truck traffic; dusty with rolling stones and tall climbs with slippery shoes; all after doing 115 k already.. Help Mr bus driver.

Did I tell you about my bus experience this morning?

While we were un-roping my bike on the roof 10 feet up on the bus to unload, a guy on the street yelled to the bus driver that the bus n rolling towards a car. He flies off the top to the ground and runs in to the door to stop the bus from hitting the parked car while I’m on top. No big deal – PURA TICO – hahahaha.

I was laughing – chuckling while I was on the roof. It was like nothing out of the ordinary for them. The bus rolled 5-10 feet with about 10 extra feet before a parked car was in front of it.

I remember thinking, WOW how fast he flew down off the roof to the ground. Didn’t hesitate a second when he realized the bus was rolling. He was off the roof fast. I was just trying to get braced on the rack – haha.

If only Bob had a camera.