Los Chiles -> Cano Negro (by boat) -> San Rafael de Guatuso
As I mentioned there was a television in our room at Los Chiles and we used the excuse that it was a good way to practice Spanish to justify vegetating in front of it in the evening.
Soon after sunset we heard the familiar patter of rain, but as it got louder we noticed something strange. It sounded like it was coming from the window, not the roof.
By the time we pulled back the curtains and looked out it sounded like a horizontal downpour, and we were shocked to see that it wasn’t a cloudburst at all but thousands of inch long black beetles beating themselves senseless flying at the light. They started squeezing in through the crack under the door (construction techniques in Costa Rica tend to be a little loose) so we turned off the light.
They must have liked the blue glow of the television even more because the intensity of the bombardment seemed to increase. We stuffed a towel under the door, turned off the TV and went to bed.
The next morning we rode down to the river dock and hired a boat and guide to transport us south through the wildlife refuge, and across the everglade like lake, to the village of Cano Negro. The birds, monkeys, reptiles and amphibians were fantastic. We highly recommend visiting Cano Negro.
Our guidebook described the road west from Cano Negro as “bone jarring, and in the wet season, slipperier than a greased pig,” but we were looking forward to an easy 30 km.
The owner of the hotel had stopped by our room the previous evening because he was curious about bike touring, and had assured us that that road was “absolutemente plano” (totally flat) and better than pavement. We should have known better, the locals are fiercely loyal to their regions and often described things as more copacetic than we ultimately found them. Besides it’s always easier to believe good news.
After three hours of bone jarring, round rock road that rolled over many hundreds of meters of topographically invisible hills we met up with the main road. We took a left and headed south towards Bijagua.
After about 10 km we stopped at a soda to get a cold refresco naturale (natural fruit juice) and confirm that we only had 8 or 10 km to go. When the guy behind the counter insisted that we were still 25 or 30 km from Bijagua, we got the map out and discovered that we had turned south about 6 km to early and were headed towards San Rafael de Guatuso.
Luckily the road we were on and the road we had thought we were on converged after about 40 km and the only real consequence of getting lost was that we spent the night in San Rafael instead of Bijagua.
La Fortuna de Arenal (La Fortuna de San Carlos) is a tourism paradise and a great place to go if you are looking for a little low cost luxury.
Our sixth wedding anniversary was coming up and we decided to head there.