Costa Rica Travel Diary Day 14 – Manuel Antonio to Puerto Jiménez

Today we have a 135 mile drive south to Puerto Jiménez. It’s mostly a straight run down the Pacific Highway, then we turn off onto the Osa Peninsula and basically drive until we run out of tarmac.

Warning sign – Ox carts

As today’s journey is predominantly just one road, it’s not the most interesting drive. And we don’t even need my expert navigational skills! We pass through mile after mile of palm plantations with the occasional palm oil refinery belching black smoke into the atmosphere.

Palm Oil

The further south we go, the narrower the road gets and the old man drives closer to the edge than I’d prefer. I spend the journey leaning to the left as if this will somehow affect the car’s balance if we get too close to the ditch. Finally, after 90 miles, we turn off the highway onto the more scenic Route 245 which takes us to Puerto Jiménez. The last 40 miles skirts 3 sides of the Golfo Dulce. It’s very remote; just us and the jungle (and, judging by the noise – several million crickets). But at least there’s tarmac.

Golfo Dulce view

We reach Puerto Jiménez around midday. The old man has gone from one extreme to the other. After our poky room in Monteverde with its little, rickety bed, today we have a family suite (designed to sleep 6) where we will be outnumbered by beds. We also have a kitchenette on a balcony overlooking the gulf.

Cabinas Jimemez

It must have been a very nice place once, bit it’s a bit run down and dilapidated now. Plus it’s rather grimy; the dust, kicked up from the constant stream of 4x4s back and forth to the port, airport and National Park on unpaved roads gets everywhere. But there are comfy chairs on the balcony, plus a fridge to keep our drinks cool and the view is amazing; with the bay in the background, whilst in the foreground the trees are teeming with scarlet macaws.

Balcony View

Puerto Jiménez is on the edge of Corcovado National Park – that’s what brings most people here – last stop/passing through on the way to the park. We take a walk into town, which my guide book describes as a ‘vaguely Wild West outpost’. That pretty much sums it up. There’s a street lined with a few bars and stores and everywhere is dust. The only difference is, here everyone rides bikes instead of horses.

Puerto Jimenez

Our accommodation has bikes we can use, but they don’t have brakes; to stop you have to pedal backwards. Cycling these over bumpy, dusty tracks, flanked by 4x4s is too terrifying. So we decide to ditch the bikes and walk instead.

Cycling at Cabinas Jimemez

After a trip to the supermarket, we return to the hotel, and I spend the afternoon reading by the pool while the old man crushes candy.

Cabinas Jimenez Pool

We cook dinner in our kitchenette, and have an early night. It’s been a long drive and we’re exhausted. The ‘extra large double bed’ turns out to be an en extra large double mattress on a double bed frame, so you have to be careful not to venture too near the unsupported edges. I lie in bed trying to sleep whilst something scurries around on the roof outside. At least I hope it’s outside! I decide to leave the light on and finally fall asleep listening to scratching and squeaking above my head.

Cabinas Jimenez balcony

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