3

Costa Rica – Playa Flamingo Cycling – Cycling Around Playa Brasilito


The second and final part of my Costa Rican cycling adventure! This little ride was just mom and me in the morning of our last day in Playa Flamingo. For this ride, we decided to take it easy and explore the coast south of Playa Flamingo. As we head out, the area is obviously scenic and expensive:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Pretty quickly though we get onto dirt roads:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Small stretch of paved road before hitting Brasilito:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Brasilito is scenic:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

A bit farther and we hit Playa Conchal:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

While Playa Brasilito had hard packed sand, Playa Conchal’s sand is made up of coarsely ground sea shells. This makes for a very scenic beach:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

but a poor surface to cycle on! So, we continued on the dirt road right next to the beach for this stretch. We also stumbled upon an incredible lizard:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Talk about perfect camouflage. The dirt/sand road:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

And back to Playa Brasilito:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

At this point, it was agreed that mom would head back to the unit and I would attempt a dirt road heading uphill. This turned out to be rather interesting:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

There were sections that were so steep, so overgrown and so rough that I had to put my foot down every couple of feet. However, after a couple hundred feet, I was greeted by some rather nice views:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Of course, even here, the road was overgrown:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Yet another crazy section:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

And again:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

I actually gave up on this climb. I’ll blame it on the fact that I had shorts on and was scared of deadly snakes popping out of the vegetation. I enjoyed the part that I did though. Even with the heat. And humidity. And steep grades. And rutted surface. And invasive vegetation. It was still fun.

And once I got back down I even got to see some spider monkeys. Looking up, I saw a couple of monkeys:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Then I saw some more:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Videos:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

All told, there were at least a dozen monkeys. Pretty cool! After enjoying that spectacle I headed back to Playa Brasilito and headed along the dirt road up the coast:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

This quickly led to some awesome beach views:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

And, my one viewing of a leatherback turtle:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Sadly, deceased. With turkey vultures guarding the meat.

And, finally, the road back:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

And back to the expensive area:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling
From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Reward for finishing the ride:

From 2009-09-06 – Costa Rica – 1 – Playa Flamingo Cycling

Costa Rica begs to be ridden. If you find yourself in one of the coastal towns, go and rent a mountain bike. You won’t regret it.

And here is the route map:

Enjoy!

3

Costa Rica – Playa Flamingo Cycling – Monkey Trail


Finally, a new entry! I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling recently, but that has also meant no time for ride reports. Back now for the moment, I will attempt to catch up on the backlog! First, a very unique cycling adventure…Costa Rica!

I did not travel to Costa Rica for cycling. As such, I did not bring any cycling clothes or equipment along. I was not expecting to get on a bike at all during the time there. However, the pervasiveness of mountain biking in the country piqued my interest. Towards the end of our stay in Playa Flamingo (along the western coast..Liberia being the nearest big city) I found a nearby resort that rented mountain bikes. The bikes were even Marin mountain bikes – pretty funny to travel thousands of miles from California to Costa Rica and end up renting a California bike. Anyway, the bikes were relatively low end but just fine for our purposes.

So, our chosen ride was to head up from Playa Flamingo to Playa Potrero and then head inland on the Monkey Trail. This trail eventually leads to a monkey preserve over bumpy, steep, dirt roads. The first part, heading out from Potrero, however, is quite pleasant:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

A nicely maintained dirt road that meanders past picturesque farmland. My brother (aka Brendan) seemed to be enjoying it…or was at least was willing to be expressive…

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Heading out beyond the town into more rural countryside:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Action shot of mom:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

And an action shot of me to round things out:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Shortly after heading out of Potrero, the road started to meander up and down a bit more:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

At this point, mom decided to head back and spend time with dad (also, thunderstorms were threatening..):

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Brendan, being the awesome sport that he is, continued along with me. Not two minutes later and it starts pouring on us. I suppose we could have turned back…but that wouldn’t be very fun! As the rain is beating down, we hit the first of many truly steep sections:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride
From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

A video of the first steep section (click to view the video):

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

These steep rollers continue and continue…and the rain continues and continues…we are heading up stuff like this while being poured on:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Mind you, I took these photos on the way back after the rain stopped. Imagine riding up that with buckets of rain falling on you and rivers of water running down the road. So yes, fun times (actually, it was awfully fun!). This photo is a fair representation of the road surface shortly after the rain subsided:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

As we head back, a fun descent:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Further along, a wet and rocky section:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride
From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride
From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Brendan, happy and soaked:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Me, happy and soaked:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Nice shirt Bren:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Soaked:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Jungle, no?

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Cows on the way back:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

On the outskirts of Playa Potrero there is a plaza with a gelato shop…we were quite happy to find it (on the parents’ recommendation) after finishing the ride!

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

And, finally, dinner!

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

Fish and chips and beer on the water! In Playa Potrero there is an excellent restaurant right on the beach (forget the name, but easy enough to find…just head to the beach!) with great seafood and a casual atmosphere. To say that plate of food hit the spot would be an understatement.

After devouring our food and relaxing a bit we headed back to Playa Flamingo:

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

…and enjoyed the sunset (along with a few other people):

From 2009-09-05 – Costa Rica – 2 – Playa Flamingo – Monkey Trail Bike Ride

An awesome day of cycling (even without my own bike, proper clothes, etc). I really want to get a mountain bike now!

Here is the overall route:

Here is the Monkey Trail portion we rode (and the road continues at least a few kilometers beyond where we turned around despite google maps thinking otherwise):

So yeah, I know..not road cycling. But, if you happen to be in Costa Rica, I would highly recommend renting a mountain bike. So many great dirt roads to ride on! Just watch out for the rain ;)

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