One of my favorite questions on the planet is what is the best off-road vehicle known to man. A rental car of course.
For our purposes, a Toyota Yaris. This capable and economical sedan was pushed to the absolute limit. I know this because we found that limit. More on this later. For now, the continuation of the epic story of my friends visiting and stuff.
So after a night of social beverages and friendly exchanges. The group awoke early for a day of road tripping. We would be driving from roughly the area of San Jose, all the way up to Liberia, were we would then be heading out to one of two locations of Rincon de la Vieja, which is a great park/volcano up north. So we began, with breakfast burritos in hand to our destination. As a last-minute addition, we brought along a co-worker, who was only allowed to come after hooking up breakfast burritos for everyone.
After 5 or so hours of driving we dropped off the burrito wielding co-worker, and began our trip to estacion Santa Maria (this one allows camping, which I’m all about). Now to preface, I had called ahead to the ranger station to check how to get there, road condition, etc. Based off of my call, we were absolutely set. After the requisite asking for directions/ cross checking directions and bumping around until finding the actual route, we were presented with a road that eventually turned into a dirt road. This dirt road eventually turned into worn down rocks, which then after about 15km turned into straight up 4×4 trails. Now I have been on some 4×4 trails here, and let me assure you, this was gnarly.
After making it down a 20-30 degree hillside that I was not confident I could make it back up, we passed several folks who I confirmed with that we were indeed on the “road to santa maria”. As I’m sure you were expecting, on one steep climb, the trail consisted solely of worn in ruts from large trucks, which the Yaris became stuck on. After some lightening of the car and aggressive pushing, the Yaris powered up the hill. The group met to determine whether or not a continuation of this excursion made any sense, and a yes was agreed upon. With comical timing, no more than 20 feet past us getting stuck, a steep 100 meter decent, with a river at the bottom, followed by an equally steep 100 meter uphill stood in our path. The Yaris would surely have died in that ravine.
We then turned around, drove all the way back to Liberia, and then continued straight to the beach.
Camping is lame anyway.