week 5 fulltime (turrialba)

Week 5 of full-time living in the van was spectacular… so far the best views I’ve camped in the van so far. “Living” at the foot of the Turrialba Volcano is simply amazing, I was so aware of how doing this is both scary and exciting. It took me back to when I lived in Ridgway, Colorado, 8,000 feet up in the Rockies. 

Every time I drove down the hill with views of the San Juan Range, I had to make sure I was paying attention to the road. 2 years in it would still happen, I just couldn’t believe I was in such a beautiful place. Camping the Turrialba Volcano gives you this same sensation, you sit there with your morning coffee and think – “wow, that’s an active volcano right there”.

It was a great weekend, only because the campground opens weekends only. I drove up to Hacienda La Central, it was a give and take, I wanted cooler weather but the weekend came with crowds and having only a couple full days to enjoy the spot. I certainly got what I wanted, with our dry season, nights were cold at 7ºC and the nights… wow. The first night was unbelievable, I remembered well that during this season the sunset would reflect off the volcano, and it sure did. That brown/orange glow moving up on the volcano with the blue skies, it’s simply breathtaking. 

These are my rooftop deck moments, the main reason why I wanted that upper space, so I could sit there, above everything else and focus on beautiful things. Watching the sun glow on the tip of the volcano was the closest thing to an ‘Aspen glow’ that I’ve ever seen in Costa Rica. Wow, just wow! Moment like this are EXACTLY why I chose to live in a van, live these experiences with no plan, enjoy little moments that would not happen if you’re sitting in the comfort of your home every evening. 

That same night, the full moon appeared over the volcano. It was – perfect. 

Being the week before Christmas I had to cut it short. There’s some really great cabins just below the Irazu Volcano named Secret Garden. It’s one of those places that make me feel like home, where the local people embrace me as their own, remember my name, Taco’s name. So on my way down to San Jose I stopped at Secret Garden for a few nights of camping and a couple night of cabin life. It was the best way to work on my anxiety levels for Christmas and work ahead to spend some time with my kids. 

Dropping into San José was nuts, the traffic, the noise, the people. It’s almost like normality has sunk in, those pre-Covid times where people were going crazy on the streets before Christmas, restaurants packed to the door, supermarkets crowded, long lines outside the shopping mall. Yet another reminder of why I love life on the road, this city craziness is certainly not for me, nor is the materialistic traditions of the Christmas season. 

And that’s how this week closed, a very simple Christmas weekend followed by prepping the van, cleaning it out, re-arranging gear and setting it up for driving into 2022. 

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