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  • Writer's pictureXPLORid

Pura Vida!

Costa Rica is even greener than Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua combined. It's like cycling through the jungle. A sign warns us for crossing howler monkeys, deer and coatis. We hear the monkeys every day, but spotting wild life is still on our list.

Come and knock on my door

On the first two days in Costa Rica we’re already way above our budget. This is not Pura Vida, but Cara Vida.

Beautiful sunset from our hotel room on the 1st night in Costa Rica

We decide to knock on doors again. The search for friendly-looking houses has begun. Maybe we’re lucky to meet some expats. Many foreigners have a (second) home in Costa Rica.

Playa Potrero

Manifest your dreams

On the third day we bump into Fabio. He's just walking his 4 dogs. When asked if we can stay with him for the night, he immediately says “Yes”.

Playa Penca

While Fabio goes to a meeting, we enjoy his swimming pool. The finishing touch is a really hot shower. These are hard to find in Central America. With the heat and high humidity, a cold or lukewarm shower is no punishment at all, but our muscles sometimes crave warm water jets. And then there's also a guest bedroom with a queen size bed.

This is heaven!

Fabio runs a coffee shop in Playa Potrero in Guanacaste.

By the time we leave, we are one of the regulars.

Haven't had such a tasty latte and cappuccino in a while!


A new plan

Initially we were going to cycle along the entire coast of Guanacaste, but we have a new plan.

Not a bad idea because there will probably be more flooded dirt roads | Pura Vida!

On the ferry we enjoy the last sunset in Guanacaste

We leave Guanacaste via Nicoya. The ferry takes us to Puntarenas. In this way we arrive in Esparza in time to meet Rein and Paola, the “servants” of Ronron the cat. We take care of Ronron while Rein and Paola go on holiday to… the Netherlands. It’s a mutual benefit: Ronron can stay in his familiar environment and we have a nice home to stay for a while.

House and cat sitting Esparza

We help Rein and Paola with the care of Ronron. And they help us. Thank you! You give us the opportunity to escape the sweltering heat and high humidity. We are a bit jealous because we would also like to see our family and friends in the Netherlands and we are really craving for “Rinse” apple syrup, “bitterballen”, English licorice and so on.

We haven't had any comfortable cycling days since Palenque in Mexico at the end of May.

It still feels like we're cycling in the sauna.

We are soaking wet by sweating all over after less than 10 minutes of cycling. Due to the high humidity it doesn’t dry out. So we’re cycling in our wet outfits for more than 5 hours every day.

Ultra slow

We want to postpone our cycling days as much as possible. Hopefully the delay will last long enough to continue our journey at lower humidity. We really enjoy this ultra slow travel. We decided to enrich our way of life with house and pet sitting. We both love animals. If we would not be traveling as much we would have a dog and cat of our own. Moreover, we encourage this “pay it forward” concept.

House sitting San Isidro

In 3 days we cycle to Playa Dominical. A pickup truck transports us to San Isidro; our new dog sitting address high up in the mountains.

Upon arrival it turns out that the dog Milka, a chihuahua, has died. He did not survive an attack by a coyote.

While crossing the Crocodile Bridge, we spot a few American crocodiles | The Tarcoles River has the largest population of this type of crocodiles in the world

Traffic signs alert drivers to cycling farmers


We visit Rainmaker Conservation Park near Quepos. The vast majority of the 1,500 acres –more than 80%– is virgin rainforest, and home to almost every imaginable species known in Costa Rica. 

Our guide Roy does an amazing job spotting some beautiful nocturnal animals during a night tour. The red eyed tree frog is one of our favorites. 

We also visit Nationaal Park Manuel Antonio. This park is a combination of rainforest, beaches and coral reefs. The forest is home to 2 and 3-fingered sloths, toucans, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys, howler and white-faced monkeys. 

Parque Nacional Los Quetzales

You can spot 13 different kind of hummingbirds in Costa Rica! We spot many of them in this park. The Orange and Yellow Flame-colored Tanager and the acorn woodpecker with its red crown are a lust for the eye as well.

There are 6 different kind of toucans in Costa Rica | In the garden of our house sitting location in San Isidro we spot the yellow-throated toucan

House and dog sitting Uvita

For five weeks we take care of 2 year old Milo near Playa Hermosa in Osa. Uvita is 8 km to the south. The owners Karla and Jose are going to see their relatives in Spain and are having a holiday in Thailand.

We enjoy caring for Milo in their tiny Tica casa. We love the location: nice and quiet, remote in the jungle. The many windows and the porch and bedroom with ocean view make it very spacious and it feels like you are one with nature. 

Milo is a sweet and energetic dog.

Together we enjoy numerous walks, playing with sticks and coconuts, going to the beach, Uvita-waterval and rivers.

The Whale Tail

Because dogs aren’t allowed in Marino Ballena National Park we visit the Whale Tail without Milo.

During low tide, the water recedes to reveal a marvelous formation of rocks and sand in the form of a “tail”. It’s been affectionately named the Whale Tail. 

Panama pets here we come

The humidity is still extremely high. Our plan is to cycle to Panama City within 2 weeks and continue our cycling house and pet sitting nomadic lifestyle.

Just before we cross the border some scarlet macaws make our day. They are flying right above us. Red, yellow, green and blue feathers in a blue sunny sky. That view and feeling of pure nature in Costa Rica will always remain in our memories.


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