@alyvanblake Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Axor house

now called Hotel Arizona. still very nice building and clean inside and out but it's on a pretty trashy street in a run down neighborhood. we paid 425k for 7 nights for a double room with AC for 2 people and 2 dogs while we waited for our van to arrive. has a mini fridge but no cooking area.

Persepolis Gastrobar

wonderful Persian place! excellent ambiance and decorations. the food was high quality and inexpensive for the area. the drinks were very fancy designer drinks that were tasty but more expensive than the plate of shawarma. they even offered hookah options delivered right to your table, but we didn't try.

Colombian mobile providers: Foreign phones banned after 1 month without registration

we just got our SIM cards from a big claro store and they were able to register this number while we were there. they did not automatically offer this, but were happy to do it when we asked about it.

claro sales and service

giant claro store to buy SIM cards and get your phones registered. 40k for 12gigs or 100k for 80g. once your SIM card is working, don't forget to ask them to register the phone. it was an easy and fast process but they did not automatically offer that. there was a similar Tigo store like 2 blocks to the east if you prefer them.

Casa Bruja Brewing Co.

excellent craft brewery with great food and better beer. they are even doing spontaneous fermentation and barrel aged stuff upstairs. absolutely nailed every style and had 16 of their own beers on tap and 4 of their own hard seltzers. huge covered outdoor area and very small indoor area. dog friendly. 4.90 for most pints and the food was decently priced considering how tasty everything was. try the honey chicken strips! easily walkable from Overland Embassy.

Copa mall kiosk

right at this pin location on the second floor of the mall. if you are flying with dogs, you need to come to a Copa office like this one to tell them you will be flying with animals. this cannot be done online. we decided to buy tickets here as well to make the process easier as they can print your boarding passes and assign you proper seats with extra space for the dogs. we did this step last because we assumed they would require all of the paperwork, but they only asked if we had it, and didn't actually need it. so buy your tickets as soon as you know you're departure date and save yourself some time. this office was very friendly and fast and at least 2 of the people here spoke great English. took maybe 15 minutes.

Hippie Pizza & Camp

stopped here for a pizza and beer, only to find out they don't open until 5pm. while we were trying to find out where we were going next a guy came out to welcome us to the camping area and showed us where the bathroom was. unfortunately we were just hungry and didn't stay the night.

steep hill

this section of road is incredibly steep. our rig barely had enough power to get up this curvy bit. if you are very long, very heavy, or under powered then I would avoid this nasty section. the other way out of town is nice and easy.

height restriction

at this bridge there is a height restriction. we are 2.8m and did not fit. there is no sign but if I had to guess I would say it was maybe 2.6m. there is a nice spot on the town side of this bridge to drive down to the river.

sketchy bridge

we were trying to find out if this road connects, across the river, to the other side via a water crossing. according to our maps is doesn't, but Google Earth like like it's possible. coming from the lake we came across this bridge here. it's super sketchy wood planks on 2 tiny steel beams. we are 4 tons so I got out and walked around it. maybe you would be fine but there is no way I would drive across this. unfortunately I still don't know if you can cross that river crossing up ahead.

valley overlook

after driving down this road hoping to find a free spot overlooking the lake, which we didn't find, there is a small 50m spur off to the west that overlooks the pine forest and a beautiful green valley below. this spur is kind of off camber at the entrance but there is a nice flat spot for a couple of cars or 1 large van at the end. don't bother going down the road across from the main road here. it doesn't go anywhere and no where to camp, I tried. only 1 truck drove by in the early morning. we caught a guy walking back to the asphalt and said he worked at a farm further up the road that we should stay at, but we were already packing up to leave.

La Casa De Juan

you can park in the big grassy area away from the hangout area. for a "party hostel" I thought this place was pretty mild. music from 8am to usually 11pm but I didn't think it was excessively loud. good soundtrack at least. Rodger, the operator, speaks excellent English and is super friendly and can give suggestions for hikes around the area. wash and dry clothes for 6 bucks a load since nothing dries up here. 8pppn. dog friendly but must be on leash at all times even though their nice dogs roam freely.

height restrictions, we are 2.8m and had to push the hanging lights up a lot to clear.

Altos de Campana

we tried to find this as it looks incredible, but weren't able to find anything that looked like this. there is a really nice pull out to enjoy the view near here but it's very close to the road and I wouldn't stay there.

La India Dormida Hike & Waterfalls

I tried changing this from a wild camp pin to an attraction but the app keeps crashing when I try. there is absolutely no place near this pin to park to sleep. not a camping spot at all. beautiful hike though. worth walking from somewhere else.

Los Cajones de Chame

I don't know who thinks they own this section of road, but there isn't a single pull out within a kilometer of this pin. everything is intentionally full of large rocks, fallen trees, "tank traps", fence posts with barbed wire or other booby traps. near here there is one house that looks like it might be what this pin described, but when we came here the gate was closed and insanely loud music was blasting from an empty car. no one around for a mile in any direction. there is a bridge further up the hill you can pull over and rest but it's very far from this canyon and when we were there several cars of very drunk people were partying under the bridge. it's a very pretty drive, even if it's not open though.

Terpel Travel Center

laundry is now 1.50 to wash but still .75 to dry. this place in Santiago was 75 and 75. still cheap compared to Costa Rica. water spigot out back by the grass for filling up. dog friendly grassy area. wifi reaches the parking lot. outdoor patio is the closest outlet for power so you'll need at least a 20m cord to reach

terpel, va&ven

I never thought a truck stop could be this nice. it has everything. laundry is now on a token system. each token costs 75 cents and you need one to start the washer and another one to start the dryer. 1.50$ per load is great! the restaurant has pretty good food and large portions for the price. the showers are now warm! quiet at night considering it's open 24 hours a day. the outdoor patio in the back has an outlet that you can charge your stuff from but it's pretty to plug the rig into without being in the way.

Good overnight spot

we crossed into Panama and there weren't many spots on our route, but this spot is great. you can kind of hear the road down below but it's faint. for one night only 1 car drove by and 2 more in the morning. very peaceful and the noise from the forest is relaxing. nice paved road all of the way up here.

police checkpoint

there was no obvious signs of check point here

Rocking J's

first of all, the sign hanging from the arch to the reception area is 2.7m and not 3m, which isn't a big deal as this is only reception and not the camping area. if you are to tall you can pull over on the side of the road to check in and the camping area is in a different gate two driveways to the west where there are no size restrictions. they asked for 14 dollars but if you pay in colones they only wanted 7400c so a bit cheaper. it's a huge grassy camping area with several flat spots. my recommendation is to not park in the middle as this is a high traffic area and people are coming and going all day and night to the casitas and the big house is where it seems like the employees take brakes. very friendly and clean. for being a party hostel the main area has quiet hours at 10pm that were enforced and the bar area was open until midnight when they closed.

Siaxola/Guabito bordercrossing, Immigration and Customs office Costa Rica.

super easy border crossing. there are actually signs here! and people help out and point you in the right direction when you get that confused/lost look on your face. just checking in that we paid 15 per dog plus some fees that added up to 45 dollars, not 40, and that they "promised to email" the dogs paperwork but 2 weeks later and they still haven't. turns out what they gave us was enough to get our exit paperwork to fly south, but be warned that they may never actually email whatever document they are talking about. also make sure you get your insurance paper back. I don't know if it was supposed to happen, but the lady at the tip office kept our only copy. I guess since you need that paper to get your tip that you don't actually need that paper? Alejandro at Overland Embassy can get a new copy. lots of police checkpoints in Panama, they asked for the tip and drivers license but never for the insurance.

Kaya's Place

we just stopped here for some beers with hopes of asking to camp in our van. they said they don't brew beers any more and only had a terrible cider on tap. they didn't even have Pilsen! so we left without asking about staying.

Hotel Puerto Viejo

just tried to stay here and even though the parking area is empty, they say they do not accept pets, so we had to leave.

Trogon's Birding Lodge

This place is in wrong location - it is located at 10.37843, -83.94531

Reggae Bar Cabins And Campground

after a few days wild camping on the beach we reluctantly agreed to stay here for a night but were pleasantly surprised. I say reluctantly because we were worried about the noise from the music, but I thought they were pretty considerate with the loudness and it was turned off by 10 and wasn't turned on again until noon. it's a nice grassy area with direct access to the beach. the beach itself isn't very long in either direction but very nice and shallow water made it easy for the dogs to jump in and play. this place is dog friendly as they have 2 dogs themselves, plus a plethora of well fed street dogs and an ambitious cat. the food was very good and the cocktails were a 1000c less than anywhere else in this area of CR. the blackberry mojito was particularly good. super strong and fast wifi reached all of the way across the parking lot to or van and all of the way out to the beach. my only complaint is that the water from the tank on the roof that was used for the showers smelled foul. I told the guy that had helped us earlier in the day and he just shrugged his shoulders. sooo it was relaxing and accommodating, the whole point for us was too shower and fill up the water tank, which we didn't decide to do given the odor. they asked for 10 dollars, but if you pay in colones then they only ask for 6k.

Beach south of Puerto Limón

at the moment this trail is very overgrown and narrow but still passable if you don't mind leafy greens touching the side of your rig. trail is hard packed sand so you don't have to worry about getting stuck until your out of the bushes. big open beach with lots of space. you can walk for miles in either direction and not see anyone, but it's far from ideal for a lot of reasons. there is a bend in the highway right here that ensures that headlights from traffic heading towards Limon shine towards the camping area. so even though you're across the river, you are only 100m from the road and clearly visible to the highway. there is also a bridge right here that is only a single lane so trucks are constantly engine braking. even though it was a Wednesday with bad weather the soda across the river (I'm assuming this is where people are talking about getting showers) blasted music until midnight and then started again at 6am. I don't know if it's proximity to the river or what, but the no-see-ums were particularly bad here. it's a free spot on the beach, and that's about it.

Soberanos Brewers Escalante

nice brewery in a nice section of town. they didn't have either of the beers I really wanted, the saison or the IPA, but the others we tried were pretty good. way better than the Costa Rica beer factory on this same block, everything there tasted terrible and was very expensive. but where this place really shines is in the incredible Asian fusion dishes they have. so delicious! pints for 3500c and main plates for around 7000c. dog friendly!

VET Pet Cafe San Jose

like other countries, we stopped here for our health certificate for our dogs to cross the border. after sitting down with Juan Munoz, who speaks great English, and going over the paperwork we concluded that the Costa Rica every paperwork is valid for 90 days and designed for an entrance AND exit paperwork! there was also an issue regarding the rabies vaccine. in the USA we get the vaccine that lasts 3 years, but in Costa Rica the require it every year. the vet suggested not worrying about it as he thought it wouldn't be an issue and gave us his personal number for us to contact him in case things became a problem at the border. which it turns out we didn't need crossing on the Caribbean side. super easy by the way! he could have easily taken advantage of our situation and gave us a new health certificate and charged us whatever he wanted, but he didn't. we did get 2 boosters for other vaccines that were about to expire that came out to like 50k or something like that. highly recommended if you need anything for your pets.

Bar y Restaurante Lo Que Tu Quieras

we were also offered free camping here if we eat at the restaurant. the dinner was delicious and the view (if you aren't socked in by the clouds) is incredible! you are very high here and have a clear view of most of San Jose. more pretty at night. there were what looked like the beginning of a camping area mentioned by a previous post but also looked like it hadn't been touched for a long time. big grassy areas but only a few really level spots. dog friendly. very quiet at night since there isn't much past this place up the hill.

Mirador Tinamú - Camping Laguna De Hule

super nice area. only 2 spots really that have nice views of the lake. if you like your neighbors you could easily fit 4 or 5 rigs with views. a large parking area for the hiking trail that is level here just in case. the hike was awesome, and free if you camp. the road is closed from here on so you have to walk the 30 minutes down. there is a restaurant that served typicos with surprisingly good chicken and fish options for 4500c pp. we didn't ask how much it was to stay before spending a weekend here, we wish we had, because at first the lady was asking for 43k for 2 nights and 2 dinners! after a small freak out on my part it was discovered she meant 43 dollars... which is cheaper, but still 17usd a night! granted that it has a lot going for it, it's a beautiful spot with a great view, hot (widow maker) shower, restaurant with electrical outlets (none at the sites), flushing toilets, water spigot with a sink at the site, dog friendly, and a really nice free hike down to the lake. because there wasn't info regarding price on here I just wasn't prepared for the difference compared to the pin nearby. we didn't fit there as we were to tall, but they had a superior view of the lake and almost half the price. no height restrictions here.


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