On December 12th we left Zoe guarded by Beto who kindly took us ashore. The bus to San Jose’ was leaving from David (a few kilometers away from Pedregal) at noon, and it took nine hours to get to San Jose’. Even if it was quite a long ride, time went by pretty fast, as the bus was comfortable and we had a one hour stop at Paso Canoa, the village at the border, where we had to go through customs and immigration on both sides. We enjoyed the landscape along the coast, where we admired the extensive cultivations of palm trees for oil production. As soon as you cross the border from Panama to Costa Rica you immediately perceive a strong change in the landscape: lush and wild forest, mostly uninhabited, on the Panama side turns into cultivated land spotted by picturesque villages on the Costa Rica side.
In San Jose’ we had booked a very inexpensive room through Airbnb which turned to be nice and with a very kind host. We dropped the luggage and went to the restaurant where we had an appointment with Nello, the guy from the Italian embassy. He took us to an Italian restaurant where we had a great meal together. He talked about his experience in Costa Rica and shared that he was trying to buy a good-sized sailboat through an online auction for a few thousand dollars. We are anxious to know if he succeeded!
The following day we went to the embassy to renew the passport and we continued taking advantage of Nello’s company at lunch and dinner. In the afternoon we went to the National Museum which contains interesting items of Costa Rica history since the pre-Colombian period. We skipped the Museum of Gold, a cannot miss place, as we visited it a previous trip to San Jose.
We returned to Pedregal, but since the starter motor was not yet arrived, we decided to rent a car and to go to Boquete, where we spent a few days. This is an area about 1-hour drive north of David, at an altitude of approximately 1000 meters, at the foot of Vulcan Baru.
Boquete is a vacation spot for Panamanians and a retirement location for Americans. The village is colorful and friendly, full of nice café and good restaurants. It is surrounded by a lush forest and well-marked trails that give you a chance to keep up with your body fitness. The general atmosphere is very friendly and the cool weather made these few days of wait a great break from the marine life.
On December 20th we returned to David, picked up the new starter motor and visited the SOS Children Village – David, part of the SOS Children Village organization, that offers support to families in need. The village provides hospitality and education to children so to accompany them in a process of development to attain their self-sufficiency and to be active in the society. As we are supporters of this organization, we wished to see how it operates in different countries – we were very positively impressed.
When we returned to the boat and mounted the starter motor, we faced exactly the same problem, as the engine would at times not start. This was a real bad surprise, as we could not think of any other source of the problem. As usual in these situations, we relied on the knowledge of Mirko (our friend, marine mechanic), who reassured us it was something around the electrical system and suggested a test we previously excluded with our logic. To make a long story short, we solved the problem by replacing a simple wire!!!