BootsnAll Travel Network


The road from the Panamerican Highway leads onto the Osa Peninsula, home of Corcovado National Park, one of Costa Rica´s many highly-touted reserves. Costa Rica is rightly famous for its policy of setting aside wilderness areas and doing something to protect them. In the past we have visited several of them, so we were excited to be heading to one that was regarded as one of the highlights.

Ironically, the Panamerican Highway in Costa Rica is in the worst condition we have seen out of all the Central American countries. It is ironic because Costa Rica is considered to be among the wealthiest of countries in the region. Nicaragua, Costa Rica´s neighbor next door, is second in poverty only to Haiti. However, their roads are in fine condition. A few interesting things we learned may help explain this; that assumes of course you find these things interesting. First, Costa Rica offers health care to its citizens at no additional cost to them. Sure, you probably have to wait a while for treatment, but have you been to an ER in the US recently? Did they give a bill? So, they have set aside money to patch up their citizens, but the roads remain unpatched.

Another factor is Costa Rica´s lack of military. They have a national police force, but from what I understand, no military force. No military means they do not have to move troops around the country. In the US, our interstate highway system, our Eisenhower interstate highway system was spurred on by the military´s desire to move troops and materiel around quickly and efficiently. At least I think that´s right. So, less money goes to the maintenance of a highway/troop transportation system.

Finally, the political situation in the country, according to our Costa Rican friend Rafael, has ground to a halt in terms of promises. No one really wants to take on new projects because there is so much bickering between and among parties.

The result is that you have cars and trucks on the highway driving in completely unpredictable ways. You can be driving along, completely minding your own business enjoying the scenery and from the other direction, oops, an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer is dodging a pothole and it is doing it in your lane and the closing speed is over 100 mph. Very exciting.

It was a bit of a relief to get off the Panamerican at this point and head into the wilds of nature and onto one of Costa Rica´s many unpaved roads. If the so-called paved road sounds exciting, you should get a load of the unpaved ones. From the small town of Rincon which is towards the middle of the peninsula to the coastal town of Drake (say Drah-kay) there are 25 miles of road that are passable mostly in the dry season and with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Yippee, I finally get to kick in the ol´4WD. The road starts casually enough; dirt, gravel, some mud, no problems. After 30 minutes of loosening our dental fillings on the jarring surface we come to the first life-altering decision- do we cross the rickety-ass, crumbling bridge with a 20 foot drop, or do we go through the stream, possibly to be swept away downstream, screaming uselessly in air-conditioned comfort as scraggly horses stare? I got out of the truck to check the depth of the stream. Yep, it is pretty deep and pretty fast. However, it was not deep nor fast enough to convince me that the world´s most pathetic bridge would hold us up. We crossed the stream.

More rough road, more streams, only 24 more miles to go!

After about an hour we passed a sign that said, “Tourists! Don´t cross the stream! Come inside for information!” Yeah, I am going to fall for that. That is the oldest trick in the book. Come in for information and we leave with a time-share next to McDonalds in Duluth. No way. We continued. Around the next bend was a river, yes, sir. There it was, a river.

Fording a river



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One Response to “Corcovado”

  1. Amy DeCicco Says:

    How did you get across? I’m at the edge of my seat here!

  2. Posted from United States United States
  3. Dan Says:

    Amy, sorry to keep you in suspense. If you would like to continue with the story, please insert your credit card into your computer´s port. Actually, sorry, a combination of expired time on the internet cafe computer, carpal tunnel, and lunchtime conspired to make this a cliff-hanger. I want to post a picture with this story, but I am not sure when I will be computered up.

  4. Posted from Panama Panama