We spent three weeks in Costa Rica, mostly hosted by an incredible chef named Erin. Although her occupation involved the sports industry, cooking seemed to be a midnight affair for which she had a passion. Passion which we tasted in her many baked treats, lasagna, Thai dishes, lamb leg, breakfast bread pudding, and the most delicious banana bread we’ve ever stomached. Her hospitality was difficult to deny, and we felt like royalty after our many weeks of trivial travel through Central America.
We feel as if a majority of our voyage has been dictated by our failing motorbikes, and our quest for replacement parts. Costa Rica (CR) was no exception. SAVA Honda of San Jose sold new xr650ls and had the brains for repairing it, yet again, the nearest parts were sitting in the US. So, we went back to figuring out how to get parts in a timely manner. Another obstacle opposed our travel. Costa Rica has a 65% or more import tax. $1000 in parts essentially doubles in price after import tariffs and shipping costs.
After a little research we found a rule. Ever six months any single person can enter the country with a gift under $500 dollars. And, we found the solution to our logistical problem.
Our friends Larry and Molly Mclaughlin we flying to CR to vacation shortly. Garvis Honda of Des Moines sourced our parts and repackaged them as a single “top end kit” with a pick ticket for under $500.00. The three parties worked together flawlessly, and we got our parts in ten days. Much better than the 50-90 days offered by SAVA Honda of Costa Rica.
In the meantime, we felt the need to repay Erin for all her trouble, for which she accepted no money. We devised a plan to build a fire-pit in her backyard, something she had wished for so some time. Costa Rica made it much easier to execute construction plans because the infrastructure was far more developed than Guatemala. A store called EPA was utilized and reminded us of the building material suppliers back home. Easily finding our supplies we had the fireplace flame retardant in four days with dry times. She loves it. And we loved her cooking. It was a mutually agreeable experience.
It took Sava Honda nearly a week to get things put together, but from what we can tell, they finished the job that should have been completed in Guatemala. We put the rubber to the road on February 2nd and headed south from San Jose with the best running bikes since we left the US. The first day we went easy on the new piston and made many stops to let the engine cool and properly seat the rings to the cylinder. After nearly 120 miles we were just outside of entering Panama and the sun was setting so we found a local hotel to take cover for the night.