22 Miles in an hour and a half

Trip Start Jul 24, 2012
Trip End Jul 28, 2012

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What I did
Volcano Brewery

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Thursday, July 26, 2012

    One can imagine that "as-the-crow-flies" stuff (see the previous entry), it may seem to be relatively short, but I was told the "road" between Monteverde and Tilaran would take about 2 1/2 hours to travel. The distance by signage is only 37 kilometers, that is like less than 23 miles. I was surprised by what I was being told. I couldn't imagine how bad the road could be. Boy was I mistaken.

    From the Cloud Forest we started on a dirt road and the road way remained dirt and mud until about 3 kilometers outside of Tilaran. The road was steep in many places and very curvy. The width of the road was not quite wide enough for two vehicles, the dirt had a high crown and the edge had drop offs of several feet. I have uploaded a couple of videos of the experience, AND then  it began to rain pretty well. So now the mud was turning slippery. Every few kilometers there was someone on either a bicycle, motorcycle or someone driving their vehicle too timidly. Oh, and several guys on horseback also.

    Our vehicle is 4 wheel drive and had some pretty good ground clearance, but there were several moments in which I thought we had left our oil pan in the road. I am not sure that Kathy appreciated this part of the trip. I am use to dirt roads in Wyoming but those are super highways compared to these. When we finally got to the outskirts of Tilaran, we had been through an ordeal. And time was getting away from us. Looking toward the Volcano, the cloud cover was pretty far down the mountain side and it looked as though we wouldn't get to experience the volcano.

    Luckily we saw the sign for the Volcano Brewery, the only microbrewery in Costa Rica, and it was only 10 kilometers up the road. The brewery overlooks Lake Arenal and is in a very nice pastoral setting. The brewery had been in existence for about two years and actually is part of an all inclusive hotel. Rooms are available for $99 a night and includes all you can eat and drink. The brewery is set in a well established garden area and claims to grow and ranch all of the vegetables and meats (pork, chicken and beef) on site. This could very well be a nice place to stay while exploring this area of Costa Rica.

    We shared a small salad had a sample of their beer, wandered the grounds and then it was time to get back on the road again. The road around the north end of the lake was paved, but we passed a sign that said the entrance at the foot of the volcano was still 30 kilometers away and we were about 140 kilometers away from Puntarenas. I really did not want to travel the back roads in the dark. I think it would have been ok once we were back on the Pan-American Highway, such as it is, but out here in rural Costa Rica, that would have been challenging. (We had already experienced that Costa Rican drivers did not turn their headlights on under darkening conditions and it did not appear that they understood the concept of turn indicators).
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