My "make no plans" strategy for the extra 5 days I'll be in Costa Rica has already given way to a loose plan of attack. I spent a few hours with my map of CR and guidebook and decided that if I didn't at least formulate a loose plan, I would end up wasting too much time once there. Or I'd end up spending the five days sitting on a beach and not doing a whole lot of anything that I haven't already done there.
But most importantly, I needed to come up with driving routes and check distances. Being that I'll be flying into Liberia (northwestern corner of the country), I decided to rule out visiting the southern Carribean coast. Instead, I'll head south along the Pacific coast towards the town of Quepos. This will let me visit the Carara Biological Reserve (world-renowned scarlet macaw nesting ground) and Maneul Antonio National Park (pristine beaches, jungle hikes, and tons of wildlife). This will give me time to confirm a reservation at the Summit Lodge on the shoulder of Mount Chirripo, the task that pushed the need for some sort of plans.
With some luck and cooperation from the weather Gods, I'll climb the 12,330 ft Mount Chirripo. This will be a nice way to do some fast hiking and climbing through a host of environments. It's a 12 mile climb, so I'll hopefully spend two nights in the Summit Lodge, thus allowing plenty of time to hike the side trails to the glacial lakes and to make the push to the true summit, the second highest point in Central America. Apparently, the climb is all about the weather and not technical in nature. But the chance to stand atop a mountain and view the width of the Central American continent from the Carribean to the Pacific in one spot is too much to pass up.
If all goes well, I'll return to Tamarindo on Sunday and just hang out on the beach relaxing. Maybe I'll pop in on the innkeepers we stayed with a couple years ago and see if they remember me. And before I know it, Monday will come and Kristin and my friends will arrive, and my body will be weary enough that the comforts of an all-inclusive resort will sound pretty alluring.