Friday, October 7, 2016

Costa Rica Recap : Post 7 : Atirro, Cartago

Check out my other posts about our trip to Costa Rica! Everything from penny-pinching flights ($250 round trip from MN!) to our Car Rental, to our Accommodations, to the places we visited. Scroll to the Costa Rica Section of this page for more!

Manuel Antonio was good to us. We are very glad we included that town in our itinerary. But it was time to make our way, across the country, to the Puerto Viejo area. Why?

Because for months & months leading up to booking our trip, I had been following the blog This American Girl. Camille is from the U.S. but moved to Puerto Viejo after falling in love with the town. Her pictures made me want to see it. So, to wrap up our two-week trip, we made sure to add this place to our plan. 

But first, we needed to make it to Atirro, Cartago. We had this stop planned so we could rest & not have to make the entire crossing in one day. Which was a very good plan. That trip was already long!

But boy, were we in for one hell of a ride. 

This was one of the good bridges. Trust me, we went on a few that looked like death. I held my breath many-a-times during this ride.

The roads were quite rural & small, driving through the mountains, crossing the country. Some even had drop-offs right on the edge, like the one shown.
The ride was exciting, but so fun! We were on roads that only a few locals even go on. At one point, when the road was really bad, we past a run down shack of a bar on the side of the road. There were 3 guys sitting there & they looked at us with quite the shocked faces.

But the views...

... they were great.

Yes, this is a ROAD.

Yes, this is the route our GPS took us to get there the fastest.

We stopped a few times to explore... we could stop in the middle of the road, as no one was coming. We were lone wolves! This was also after hitting a huge rock...

During our long drive, we saw maybe 3 cars on these mountain roads. We were driving around Costa Rica like locals.

These roads look decent, but trust me. Some spots were almost impassable. The rocks or ruts in the roads were enough to do damage!

But we're so glad we took the drive. I'm so glad Jim is as adventurous as me! We got to see some farms, like this one.

I actually didn't get a lot of pictures during the really rural parts of the ride. I was too busy watching for any sign of civilization. These photo's were towards the middle of the drive, when it was a bit more civilized, but not by much!

I caught a glimpse of a truck ahead. Whoo! A person!

The road suddenly became tar & we were getting closer to the city.

After driving for HOURS, we stopped in Cartago & ate at McDonalds. Cartago is just south of the capital of San Jose. We were back into the civilized world. After driving some more, we found our place. Trust me, it was NOT easy. We took some VERY unsafe roads. To this day, I am amazed we made it out with no damage. But thank goodness for FULL COVERAGE.

Our place in Atirro had some amazing views... It was a horse farm ran by a German woman & a Nicaraguan man.

We hiked to the top of the hill to see views of the mountains & volcano. (This is also what some of the roads looked like on the way here!)

We were on a very rural farm. Not many other houses nearby!

This was the factory in town. It processed sugar cane.

This was man-made & used to wash out the water from the plant.

We took a tour at Golden Bean Coffee. We were the only 2 people there! No surprise - we didn't see a tourist for miles near us.

This was the pool at the farm we stayed at.

And our room! I loved the country look & feel.

Their monkey.

Their breakfast was great! We stayed there with another couple from Germany, & some girls who were there to learn about horse farming. The girls were from other countries.

Coffee Beans!

Golden Bean Coffee.

Dried coffee beans.

This stop was our least favorite about the trip. We liked the looks of the farm & the thought of staying at a horse farm in Costa Rica, but that was it - a stop on the way to where we were going. We did see 2 cockroaches in our room while we were there, but we know that they are found easily in Costa Rica. Still, it wasn't the greatest feeling, knowing there were roaches in the room. 
The coffee tour was interesting. If you drink coffee, I highly recommend going there & seeing just how hard they work to make a few bags of joe. We brought some bags back for family & friends & they LOVED it. Said it was the best they ever drank. 
TIP: If you do this tour, go to the gift shop at the end. They have samples of chocolate-covered coffee beans. I don't like coffee, but these were SO GOOD.
I really did appreciate our hosts in Atirro. It was a very unique stay. 

Now onto Punta Uva! 

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