Ride South — Storing a Motorcycle in Costa Rica

As I mentioned in my last post, when I checked into my hotel in Liberia I stepped on my camera battery, which killed it. It’s ironic that all my abuse of it, including the very wet and hot hike I took it on in Ometepe left it unharmed but this would be its final straw. Unfortunately, being not so clever, I had no backup battery.

That means far worse, and far fewer shots to conclude the 2016 segment of the Ride South. Pardon the photo quality in this post!

January 22nd was here, which meant my girlfriend got in! I rode out of town in little more than a t-shirt and she was, shall we say, very happy to see me:

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We had a nice easy-going time in Liberia and set out to find her a helmet. We found one in a sort of odd store that sells everything, seemingly on layaway. A common type of store here. They were rather surprised when we paid for it all at once.

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The next day, we’d ride down to Playa Montezuma:

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The stretch on the east-most side of the Guanacaste peninsula was kind of a disaster. Supposedly it was a fairly new road, and it was even marked as yellow on Google Maps, which would make you assume it was a paved road… but it was a really rough, rocky trail that made me worried that the load of my girl and all her and my stuff on the back was finally going to snap my HP2’s weak rear subframe.

We made it across, though! It was a pretty long day riding and ended up taking us about seven hours or so. Beers were well deserved at this point.

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Costa Rica is so fantastically beautiful. It’s a country that truly relies on its natural beauty to sustain itself, being highly reliant on eco-tourism. That means the vested interest of the locals and government is to maintain is natural beauty, and it shows. Costa Rica is (relatively) clean, with many protected parks and a wealth of biodiversity that is not threatened.

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We spent a few days down in Montezuma just vacationing like a bunch of hippies.

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Enjoying good food — and not gallo pinto for once…

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I gave her a pair of pants I had bought for her in Guatemala!

We played jungle kids with vines:

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I got to play in puddles:

And generally enjoy Costa Rica’s fantastic beaches.

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This particular beach was Malpais, and this fun little hippie town was on the other side of the Peninsula. Cars and the likes took a roundabout way to it, but we took this route:

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It was one of those roads the locals called nearly impassable and ‘not fun’.

Fun!

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I happen to LOVE those kind of roads!

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Ah, double the eye candy:

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But, all good things come to an end: it was time for us to go home.

The beautiful windy road out of Montezuma is a delight. We barely made the ferry to the mainland, from where we took a quick highway slab to the capital of San José.

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Beautiful views from the ferry:

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This part of our trip to Argentina was limited by my time away from work and home, and I had to go back. That meant storing a bike in Costa Rica.

When you leave the country, your vehicle can’t stay: it’s stamped in your passport and your paperwork requires that your vehicle leaves after no more than 90 days. Costa Rica lets you get around this by storing your vehicle in a bonded storage of sorts, known as an Alamacen Fiscal. There’s multiple near the airport in San José, the Costa Rican capital.

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My girlfriend flew out first.

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We had stayed at the Hilton near the airport, but it was a bit pricy for my taste. Assuming I’d need a few days to sort out all the particulars, I had four nights in the super-cheap pizzeria-and-hotel combo Berlor hotel about a 5 minute ride down the road.

I did some research and found that the cheapest one was also the closest to the airport. Unfortunately, it’s not covered, and it’s still $3 per day. Negotiating got me nowhere, so I decided to go with them.

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Storing the bike was surprisingly easy. First, I had to do some paperwork in the actual bonded storage office. Once that was all completed, I simply rode the bike into the designated spot, prepped it a bit for storage.

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I wrapped some parts in plastic and covered as much as I could — they would also tarp it later. They then take the key, and stamp your paperwork to confirm your vehicle is now in their custody.

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With those papers in hand I took the 3 minute cab ride to the customs office. It’s adjacent to the airport, and I should’ve really just walked it. It was a quick and easy process to get the suspension of the temporary vehicle import papers done, and all copies were done by the Aduana officer.

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How cool that this officer in particular rocks a Ride Earth sticker on his computer!

After completing that, I was free to go. I kind of regretted assuming this would take so much time. The guys at the hotel were very nice, and really helped me get around town when I was motorcycle-less. I stayed for one more night in my adorably strange (but incredibly cheap, by Costa Rican standards) hotel / pizzeria and caught a flight out the next day.

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Back home to the usual life… until I return.

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