Back to the 'cool' of San Gerardo de Rivas

Trip Start Jan 21, 2013
Trip End Feb 21, 2013

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Sunday, February 17, 2013

Decided to break up the trip back to San Jose by stopping at our favorite stopover, the Roca Dura in San Gerardo de Rivas.

With ease and calm we made it on the 9:00 a.m. bus from Puerto Jimenez heading to San Isidro de General.  The driver did hit us up for extra because we had more than one bag apiece to put under.  Small price to pay to not have to keep up with it. 

Once again as we left town am reminded how important the bus is to people who have to depend on it for their transportation.  As a result the first part of the trip was slow going, with people getting on and off the bus.

After several hours had a 20 minute stop  at a big truck stop style place  with resturant where we all got off and stretched our legs, bathroom break, and get something to eat if you wanted.  We of course had eaten quesadillas earlier and snacked on Marie's and peanut butter along with carrot sticks.

Got to San Isidro and there was some sort of huge rodeo parade going on so the bus had to slow to a stop.  Interesting to watch all the folks on horseback.  Found out there was an Expo going on. 

We saw people in lawn chairs, back of pickups lined up so there must have been some sort of parade getting ready to happen.  They were outfitted in their finest  in "cowboy" apparel and so that made me think it had something to do with possibly a rodeo. 

Then we started seeing hundreds of men, women and children on horseback with numbers on their backs like people running a races have.  Robert made the comment that he bet Luis was somewhere in the group of people on horseback.

We got to the private bus station, unloaded, paid the bus driver his baksheesh for the bags,  and Robert went in search of a taxi because we had taken the later bus from Puerto Jimenez.  We knew from prior trips that he bus to San Gerardo de Rivas had already left for the day.  Cost $30 .
Our taxi driver was very good on the steep gravel drive up the mountain, drove slowly over bumps and had lived in South Carolina at one time and talked about his experiences there.

Got to the Roca Dura and sure enough, Luis was in San Isidro and Oliver was running the show.  We had never met Oliver but he showed us a room at the back complete with bano privado.  Our windows gave us views out over the ravine with the river and to the mountains.  Very lovely and a great price, $30 a night!

We also knew from prior experience that the handmade hotel gets a little loud due to the bar floor sharing the ceiling of some rooms.  Robert wears earplugs and sleeps through it all.

Got luggage arranged to my liking and took a short rest and then down to get something to eat.  There was a futbol / soccer game on the TV with great cheering going on. 

Both of us had to casado, Robert with fish and me with meat.  Both were quite satisfying.  Found out the game was a major national match between San Jose and Alejuela and was a great rivalry

Then Luis and some of his friends arrived, his friends obviously feeling no pain.  Joined in the cheering and shouting about the game, having shots and generally just having a good time.  We talked to a guy from Colorado who had a group in the town doing volunteer work.
Didn't stay up too late and had a very pleasant and cool night.

Just a bit about the village of San Gerardo de Rivas and the surrounding countryside.  It is at the base of Chirripo, the tallest mountain in Costa Rica.  On previous trips we arrived two days before the Cerrera Chirripo and the second time just after.

The Cerrera Chirripo is quite a race and this year marked the 25th anniversary.  It is a race up Chirripo and back down. 

Sounds simple?!  Not quite.  Chirripo is the tallest peak in Costa Rica and the 38th most prominent peak in the world.  The Race starts at the Plaza de Futbol which is 4,429 ft.  The race goes to the Base Crestones and back down again.  Base Crestones is about 8300 ft up the 12,532 ft. peak!  The race is 21 miles long and the fastest time has been a little over three hours!  Needless to say, these are very conditioned runners. 

This year we were a week to early so would miss the festivities.  The one year we were here for it, quite by accident, it was great fun to interact with the race contestants before the race and after at the Roca Dura restaurant which is right across from the Plaza de Futbol.  Some of the more interesting were the indigenous runners who had crossed the mountains with their family to participate.

Down into the Magic Garden Behind the Roca Dura

The Roca Dura (Hard Rock) Cafe y Hotel hangs on the ridge above the Rio Chirripo.  The rooms are below street level and build on boulders with the tropical greenery all around. Got up the next morning, fixed coffee in the room and then decided
to walk out the bottom of the hotel down into the jungle garden campsite
and the river. 

Someone has built a cabin next door and there
there has been some trimming going on and it looks like fences have been
put up to make sure everyone knows who owns what.

 The sad news
was the tree where we had observed toucanets nesting in a hole for the
last two trips had been cut down, probably because it was rotten and had
blown down?.

The hummingbirds were very active in the bamboo
along the path to the river.  There were two violet sabrewings that were
evidently doing some mating dance we thought!  Gorgeous birds, much
bigger than the hummingbirds we see back in the US.  

campsite looked about the same as it did before,,,, the toilet seat now
missing and the shower back broken... Probably just as well we stayed up
in the hotel this trip.

Headed further down to the beautiful
river.    The river was rushing along and very beautiful.  We watched it
for awhile feeling very peaceful. 

The birds were coming to life and were flitting about here and there.  The hummingbirds were the most active.

We made the fairly steep climb back up the path to the Roca Dura .

upstairs and sat out on beautiful wood balcony and had Marie's cookies
and peanut butter along with the last of our pineapple and coffee. 
There was some bird activity but not a lot, but some of the trees were
blooming beautiful flowers and we could see nice view up the side of 
Vulcan Chirripo.

As you sit out on the balcony, you can look up
and see Chirripo looming over the other mountains in the area.  It is a
very peaceful place to relax into the scenery.

Chirripó National Park | San Gerardo Costa Rica
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