Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Are you sure this is the way?

We had seen pictures of the Villa we were renting in Costa Rica, and we knew it was way up a mountain and remote enough that a 4 X 4 was strongly recommended to get here. I decided to download a Costa Rica Map for my old GPS, and bring that with me, but when asked the Villa owner did not have GPS coordinates to give me. Instead she sent me a Google Map and instructions that her son had created. It looked pretty straight forward for the first part of the trip. We had to get out of San Jose and pick up highway 27 which we followed for about 50 km until we came to highway 34 which took us towards a town on the west coast called Jaco. Here it got a bit sketchy. We had to turn right after a river and climb up the mountain. There were about three turns along the way but the roads were all called “Unnamed road”. I pulled up Google Maps and located this route, but was not actually able to see the house itself on the satellite imagery. I decided I'd be able to find it when we got closer.

It did not work out so well. Google Maps told us to turn and the directions seemed to make sense
Waterfall Washout
until we ended up in someone's driveway, no way on a mountain. We backtracked, looking at the owner's quite detailed instructions, but could not find any of the landmarks she gave us. We did however have the housekeeper's phone number and called her, but she did not answer. Finally we stopped at a restaurant on the highway and asked for directions to the tiny town we were supposed to look for at the top of the mountain. The owner of the villa said it was 3 km up the mountain, but the friendly servers at the restaurant said it was 5 km back and at least 10 km up. At least the server's directions got us to the turn, but it was at least 10 km climbing a rough mountain road. We reached a town, but there was no name, and the “Park” where we were supposed to turn was simply the school yard. We were told to look out for a restaurant called “Rancho Shady “ . . . . . . Really? Who names your establishment “Shady”; oh wait we're in Costa Rica, they are literally bragging that they have shade from the sun. However when we did find a place called “Rancho Shady”, we finally realized we might be on the right track.

Next step was to find an entrance to the actual “community”, two large stone walls and a gate. Through the gate, and old man and his wife sat on lawn chairs guarding the entrance. We mentioned the owner's name and we were waved through and down a washed out narrow road where only a 4 X 4 could go. Here we were driving down the mountain and realized that we had no idea where the villa was. We had pictures but realized there were not pictures of the front of the house. We had to drive up two driveways where it was almost impossible to turn around without falling over a steep precipice. Finally we came to driveway with an open gate and our friendly housekeeper, Nora, was waving to us.

Up, Up and more UP!
It was really a trial finding this place, and I cannot imagine how she gets rentals with the sketchy directions. We had to work to find it.

However, once we pulled into the garage and walked out onto the terrace we realized that it might just be worth the trials.

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