Arrived in Liberia and traveled up to Los Chiles!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2008
Trip End Feb 19, 2008

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Thursday, February 7, 2008

I had an early evening flight out of Seattle and my friend and I met up in Los Angeles at the airport. We had an overnight flight to Liberia, Costa Rica and landed in the morning. It seemed that just about everyone on our flight was being met at the airport, either by friends or family or by a rental car.  We stood outside the airport looking for a taxi and finally one showed up after about a 25 minute wait. The time waiting at least gave me an opportunity to duck into the toilet and change into clothes more suitable for the heat (Feb in Seattle is quite different from Central American climates).

We'd intended originally to stay overnight in Liberia but decided to just get started heading to the border. We had the taxi take us to the Terminal Liberia bus station. Luckily, before leaving home,  I'd scoped out the buses we'd needed to take. We had about a 30 minute wait before the next bus left Liberia for Canas (our first transfer point) and we were one of the first on and got a seat. It was standing-room only almost from the start.

When we arrived at the Canas bus station our next bus to Upala (transfer point two) was pretty much already loaded and full and ready to leave. The driver only let us on because we said we were going all the way to Upala. He had to re-open the luggage compartment underneath to load on our packs. We also had to board by the back door and stand on the stairs. It's a 2 hour ride and we spent much of it standing.

At Upala we had to ask a few people for the bus to Cano Negro but we made it on and got seats. Since this bus only runs about 4 times a day we were lucky. Or so we thought. The road between Upala and Cano Negro is mostly unpaved, bumpy and dusty. The bus had all the windows down for cooling and all of the dust and grit was coming inside.

When we were almost to Cano Negro we found out that the bus didn't continue on to Los Chiles. Instead it turned around and went back to Upala.  When it returned to Cano Negro IN 5 HOURS it continued on to Los Chiles. We chose the option of sitting in the central park of Cano Negro for the 5 hours rather than riding the bus around on it's circuit.

After sitting in the park for about an hour (with only about 2 cars coming by) I thought I might try to flag down a car to see if we could pay someone to take us to Los Chiles. Shortly after this I saw a newer SUV come down the road and I walked out to flag it down. It turned out to be three German backpackers who, after traveling for 3 weeks by bus, had rented the car for a few days to travel around Arenal in northern Costa Rica. I told them our predicament and they not only agreed to give us a ride to Los Chiles but they also decided to stay the night there as well. I'd told them about the Cano Negro Reserve and they were going to take an early morning boat ride on the Rio Frio in the Reserve.

When we got to Los Chiles the hotel nearest the dock was full. Since our drivers were also looking for a room we had the convenience of the car to drive around looking for a place to stay. We found an available place not too far from the dock but it was horribly depressing. We kept looking and found the Cabinas Carolina on more of a side street. The farthest from the dock we could get and still be in town but it was great. Comfortable, clean and with AC!
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Where I stayed
Cabina Carolinas
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Martha on

My mother's family is from Los Chiles. They were some of the first families to settle in that area from Nicaragua. Her father was a very well known cattle rancher and he did a lot of things to improve life in that little town. Until this day if you can find one of the old timers and mention his name they remember him well and will treat you like royalty.

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