As you can see, I have returned. While it was a good trip, I am always glad to get back home. I took the TRACOPA bus from the Frontera to San Jose and the round trip price was about $20. The trip is about 7 hours by bus and that makes the trip about the same as a bus trip from David to Panama City. As always I took photos to give you a taste of what the trip was like.
I am going to only post some of the photos I took here. The rest are in the Chiriquí Chatter Photo Album.
After getting my passport stamped on the Panama side, I headed to the Costa Rica area to get it stamped for entry to Costa Rica. With the passport stamped on both the Panama side and the Costa Rica side, the trip is ready to begin.
Here is the TRACOPA bus waiting to be loaded.
I still think that taking one of these buses or the ones that run from David to Panama City is taking your life into your hands (or better said the bus driver’s hands). Still, if you want to see the countryside, either driving your own car or taking a bus are the only alternatives.
Before boarding the bus all bags are opened and inspected to insure that no contraband is entering Costa Rica.
Everyone is in an assigned seat, but if the bus isn’t full you are free to move to wherever you want. I am sure that you would like to know where the following photos were taken in Costa Rica. Well about ½ of the ones that I took from the bus were taken about midway back on the left side of the bus and the other half were about the same location on the right side. Other than that I haven’t a clue where I was. I just took photos.
This ride to San Jose is pretty much a ride through the mountains. On one side you may only see vegetation because the road is next to a steep incline. On the other it may look off into a canyon. Much of the drive followed a river that was full and flowing. With only a few exceptions all of the of the photos were taken with the bus in motion. Because of this you will see parts of some photos that are affected by the motion.
Here are a handful of shots between Paso Canoas and the first bus stop for lunch.
The bus stop for food and bodily needs is shown here.
Food was served cafeteria style and all priced in colones. The current exchange rate is 520 colones to one dollar. I am glad I don’t have to do that conversion everyday. It would drive me nuts.
Just past to food stop that was a lot of cultivation going on. Here is one ready to plant. The only thing I saw growing in that area was pineapples so maybe this is going to be the same.
I will have to say that the road from Paso Canoas to San Jose was in very good condition. I didn’t see a single pothole. The road is only two lanes and is a pain to drive because of all the 18-wheelers. I would not want to drive this road. I think the road from Panama City to David is easier even with the potholes.
There were three areas where the traffic went to one lane but not because of road construction. They were laying electric cable and had huge rolls of orange cable spread for miles. I took this photo of a pickup soccer game at one of the places where we had to wait for our turn to move.
Here was a little town we passed by.
Here are a couple more shots in the mountain area.
With the last shot the fog had set in and it was either fog or rain for the rest of the way to San Jose. It is a pretty exciting drive when you are in thick fog, behind a couple of 18-wheelers that the bus driver doesn’t want to be behind and the road changes directions every 40 yards. Not for the faint hearted.
Now it is the following morning and the rain has gone. Here are some photos of the house I stayed at.
The first is the doghouse. Luckily, I didn’t have to bed down with the dogs.
This is another shot of the large back yard.
This was really a beautiful house. I would guess it to be around 3,000 square feet or larger. It had 5 bedrooms, an office, TV room, huge family room with a fantastic fireplace. The kitchen was large and there was a large are for the washer and dryer and freezer. I am probably forgetting something. The construction price was about $80,000. I was impressed. Of course I am sure a gringo would pay more.
Sunday we went to a beautiful church. We got there a little early and walked around a soccer field that was across the street from the Church. Here are a few photos of that area.
Here was a wild orchid that was growing on a tree.
Here is a school at the other end of the soccer field.
At the end of the church service, I took a few photos in the church. The stained glass was beautiful and came from Innsbruck Austria.
Here are some more photos.
On Monday we prepared for a morning in San Jose. Each day we started off with a typical Costa Rican breakfast. They always have tortillas, a rice with black beans, scrambled eggs with several condiments, fried cheese, and plantain. Yum!
Here are some shots taken in downtown San Jose.
This was taken in the Ministry of Education. The people are waiting in lines in hopes of getting a teaching position in Costa Rica. So many lines. Probably so few positions.
Some more photos in San Jose.
I paused a few minutes here expecting Tom Cruise to exit the building. Guess he wasn’t in San Jose.
Here is a photo taken inside an art museum. I didn’t go past this point because they wanted to charge $5.00 for foreigners. It is free for citizens of Costa Rica.
I think it rained at least 50% of the time I was in Costa Rica. The last night we were there we went to a restaurant that served typical Costa Rican food. It was La Casa de Doña Lela. It is apparently a well know tourist place to eat, but the prices were very reasonable. I only took a couple photos to give you an idea. The first was a chicken tortilla plate.
I had a pork fajita plate. Both of these plates ran less than $5.00.
Here I am enjoying the company of my host family.
The next day around 11:00 Am we left for Paso Canoas. No photos of the reverse trip because it rained the entire 7 + hours on the road. To make it worse with all the rain we couldn’t open the windows of the bus. Even though it was very cool outside (much like Boquete), it was very uncomfortable on the bus. Except for the return trip in the bus I had a great time.
Remember more photos are in the Chiriquí Chatter Photo Album.