Traveling with your own vehicle provides great freedom. It allows you to get to remote places, to cut travel times by half, to stop when and where you want, to sleep in the same bed each night, and essentially have your own home with you while you travel. The downside is that the endless miles take its toll on every car part. Dealing with car problems when you don’t have your local mechanic to trust can be extremely stressful.
Car problems have been no stranger to us; we have spent many hours with mechanics and have even camped out in 2 different mechanic workshops. So when Priscilla just refused to start, on our journey towards the Nicaragua border, our assessment and problem solving skills kicked into gear. Mike tried everything he knew, determining that it was electrically in nature. The positives were that we were at a gas station at a major intersection of 2 roads in Costa Rica and there was a tow truck business next door.
It is always so reassuring that when we have been in trouble that local people come to our aid to assist us in our moments of need. This occasion was no exception. The local mechanics contacted a nearby Toyota workshop, which then directed us to an electrical technician in the town of Canas (a 40 min drive away). Murphy, Mike, Keira and I piled into the front of the tow truck with Priscilla secured on the flat bed. On the way, we heard loud honking horns and people directing us to stop. The cover had blown off the roof top tent and Keira’s boogie board that was underneath had blown off. A motorist behind us had collected it from the road and followed us to return it. We had one happy girl with us!
The electrical technician determined he could fix the problem, which we knew had something to do with our alarm system, which had been giving us problems throughout the trip. Unfortunately he needed the vehicle overnight, which left us with no option but to stay in a roadside hotel for $70 USD per night. The hotel was very basic and we begrudged paying so much for a very basic room. The one saving grace was that we had hot water showers. Murphy couldn’t help but laugh at the noises of pleasure that escaped the bathroom as Keira and I took our first hot shower in many weeks.
The next day we were underway again, heading to Finca Canas Castillas, close to the Nicaragua border, for a much-needed rest.
Finca Canas Castillas is a beautiful Finca (farm), run by a Swiss German couple. They have cabins, and have set up the place to meet the camping needs of overlanders. The property itself is set in an amazing location with hiking trails that follow the river and extend through the property with beautiful views. The wildlife is what makes the location so special. There is a crocodile that lives in the river, spider and howler monkeys in the trees, a wild adult sloth, bats living under the fireplace and in the trees, a variety of wildlife, chickens, turkeys, horses and best of all a baby sloth.
The baby sloth had been rescued by Aggie, the owner of the Finca, when they had found the baby sloth on the forest floor. We learnt that sloths are not good mothers and will often abandon their children if they are unable to take care of them. The baby sloth was kept in a secure indoor enclosure during the night for protection against other animals, and in a fenced treed enclosure with the turkeys during the day. Aggie hopes to be able to release the baby sloth back into the wild when it is older and able to take care of herself. Aggie places food on tree branches and in places that the sloth has to work to get the food. She also tries not to handle the baby sloth directly but uses a towel as an interface between the sloth and herself. Keira was able to assist Aggie with the care and feedings, carrying the baby sloth to and from each enclosure. This is definitely one of the many highlights of Keira’s trip. We can highly recommend a documentary called “ A baby sloth called Velcro”, available on Netflix and a good resource for information about sloths and their plight.
THE BABY SLOTH:
We were planning to only stay one night at the Finca, but stayed 2. It was definitely a place we wish we had more time to spend.
After our second night, we headed to the Nicaraguan border at 5 am, wanting to cross early as we had heard the crossing was a bit challenging.
We had enjoyed our time in Costa Rica, spending time with our close friends and enjoying experiencing the wildlife up close, however we were eager to move on to a new and less expensive country.
ROOSTERS:: OK, can someone please explain what is happening to the rooster populations of the world? Roosters throughout Sth and Central America seemed very confused, crowing extremely loudly not at dawn when I believe they are supposed to, but are starting at 4 am instead, when it is definitely still pitch black outside! And of course, like males in all species they have to strut their stuff trying to outdo each other by crowing louder than all the other roosters in a 10 km radius. There are many roosters’ lives that have been threatened during this trip. The walls of the tent are a little too thin to keep this crowing from piercing our sleep!
HIGHLIGHTS/CHALLENGES OF THIS AREA:
MOST VALUED POSSESION: a tow truck
BEST EXPERIENCE: Mike-Everything about the Finca ; Keira- taking care of the baby sloth ; Riss- the baby sloth
MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE: Mike- dealing with car problems; Keira- leaving the sloth/being car sick; Riss-dealing with car problems
BEST FOOD DISCOVERY: Mike-, definately not the Chinese food; Keira-nothing this trip, I was a little sick; Riss-nada/nothing
BEST CAMPING SPOT: Finca Canas Castillas
HIGHLIGHTS/CHALLENGES OF THIS AREA: Priscilla’a flatbed ride. “Two Gypsies, One Princess, One New Yorker - One Hotel Room. Mike almost getting his personality shot off while peeing on a fence. The sounds girls (mom and daughter) make during their first hot shower in a loooooong time. Car alarms were going off outside.
MOST VALUED POSSESSION: Camera and hammock
BEST EXPERIENCE: Howler monkees, Spider monkees, 10’ Crocodile, The look on a 5 year-old’s face when she gets to carry a baby sloth.
MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE: Roosters!!!
BEST FOOD DISCOVERY: Rooster : )
BEST CAMPING SPOT: Right next to a baby sloth at Canas Castillas
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.