Turn Right at Jesus

Was it turn right at Jesus or was it 100 metres north of KFC? These aren’t existential religious or political questions, I’m simply trying to find my way to the Guayabo National Monument. It’s always fun trying to get around in Costa Rica when you’re used to actual addresses.

Turn right at Jesus.

Turn right at Jesus.

Ask someone their address and they’ll say something like ‘100 metres east past Coca Cola, red door’.  Or how about this, for a popular new restaurant I tried to find: ’75 M Oeste Del Blue Valley, Oficentro Trivium’. Or ‘ 1st blue gate past the guanacaste tree’!

There are some very developed cities here and I’ve found those locations somewhat easier to find. After all, they usually involve a church or fast food outlet or lots of people to ask…it’s the ones in the country where blue seems to be a popular colour for a gate that often baffle me.

50 metres south of the blue gate

After driving through heavenly countryside with clouds below us and many a hairpin turn we did eventually find Guayabo and it was worth the drive…so I guess it was ‘turn right at Jesus’!

Clouds rolling in

Guayabo is a partially uncovered archeological site which appears to have been inhabited from 1,000 BC to 1400 AD  and was used for ceremonial purposes. We walked in through the rain forest on the slopes of the Turrialba Volcano – still active as of this week.

Ruins from above

There below us lay precisely placed stone mounds, platforms, aqueducts still running into stone pools…

Ancient pools

and a road so sturdy it would make the Romans envious!

Ruins ground level

Apparently there are networks of these roads still to uncover and given the state of many roads in Costa Rica they should study them carefully for tips.

 

 

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49 Responses to Turn Right at Jesus

  1. restlessjo says:

    Sounds like you’re having a terrific adventure 🙂 And a little fun along the way…

  2. Cecilia says:

    Beautiful photos, they make me feel like I was there personally. Great!

  3. Sartenada says:

    Love your beautiful photos and the directions!

  4. You had me wondering when I read ‘turn right at Jesus’ and that made your writing interesting.
    The way your post read kept me interested and the photos played their part.
    I enjoyed it because it was typical of the pleasures and challengers of travel.
    For Pauline and I getting lost in foreign places has been a lot of fun, in most cases.
    It is like water colour painting full of happy accidents.
    The colour runs not where you wanted but often the effect is pleasing.
    My pommepal;s comment prompted this thought “Go with the flow.”

  5. How lovely and green!
    Having grown up in America where we navigate by route numbers and road names it was a culture shock here to be given directions using pubs!

  6. Seçkin Esen says:

    What an attractive place! Love the photos.

  7. Oh I missed this post .. how did I do that! How wonderful to be there .. love the photos, so very lush and green. 😀

  8. pommepal says:

    Well those sort of directions can surely lead you on a directional adventure. I love that sort of travel, just go with the flow. You certainly found some very interesting places, despite or maybe because of the vague instructions…

  9. Sheryl says:

    Directions in rural areas in Costa Rica sound surprising similar to directions that I’ve gotten in rural areas of the US. People will say things like turn at the school house (the only problem is that the school has been gone for 50 years) or turn at Smith’s house (but the Smith’s moved away 20 years ago). And,the weird thing is that I soon start using the same missing landmarks when I give directions because everyone seem to understand the weird direction code.

  10. I love the catchy title. I’m sure that it got you some interesting (and surprised) visitors to your blog. You know; when you click on a title and get there and say: “Well that’s not what I thought this post was going to be about.” Also, I’ve been to Costa Rica and getting around there can be a challenge, but like most places, some trial and error and a bit of Spanish works wonders. ~James

    • Yes I’ve had some surprise visits to posts myself over the years – not what I expected! I agree that sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination and you couldn’t find more helpful people than Costarricenses! Thanks for your visit.

  11. Now I’m curious what you would have seen if you’d turned left at Jesus? 😉

  12. margaret21 says:

    Well, we’ve both been doing antiquity recently then! Those ancient peoples certainly knew a thing or two about road-building. Enjoy the rest of your holiday – or the memories of it if it’s over. You might never get back if you have to follow those amazing road directions.

    • Yes I think our respective ancient peoples overlapped – funny to think of a world where the ancients of Turkey and Costa Rica existed simultaneously but completely unaware of each other. Today we seem to be almost TOO aware of each other.

  13. Sue Slaght says:

    So gorgeous and love the directions!

  14. A wonderful glimpse into a part of the world I know little about. Looks beautiful!

    • This would be a long trip for you alright! It’s a nice little country and a comfortable place to escape the winter. They did away with their military many decades ago and unlike other Central American countries they have public services like healthcare and social insurance. Interesting culture.

      • I have connections with the Colombian community, although not much now. I always wanted to see Central and South America – but that last trip to Europe gave me long distance fatigue. And there is so much of Australia that I haven’t seen yet. So I suspect the next years will be spent much closer to home.

  15. joannesisco says:

    I soaked up the implied warmth from these photos as we sit through another frigid day. It looks so lush and gorgeous …. and warm!! Definitely worth the risk of missing the right turn at Jesus! 😉

  16. sheila katz says:

    If you think Costa Rican addresses are complicated, try Managua, where the references are “where the kiosk used to be before the earthquake (40 years ago)!

  17. Were you looking for the new restaurant and ancient roads on your horse or did you actually have a car? I was thinking the horse might automatically know to turn right at Jesus – our milkman’s did!

  18. agnesashe says:

    The misty valley shot certainly captures a site that looks brimming full of mystery and enchantment. Did the ancient people of Guayabo leave smaller pieces of sculpture that have survived? – always a hit and miss matter of chance I guess. Hope you enjoy the remainder of your stay.

    • In the original archeological digs they found some gold statues and jewelry in the tombs and these now reside at their excellent National Gold Museum. There are carved stones around the site but all the most impressive finds reside at their museums. Supposedly these peoples were neither Aztec nor Mayan (indicated by the styles of their gold jewelry and figures) but not much else is known. Vanished into the mists of time all right.

      • agnesashe says:

        ‘Neither Aztec nor Mayan’ sounds like the surviving art could be the topic for a few PhDs. It’s always interesting considering peoples living at the edges of major historic civilisations. Modern viewers could be encouraged to get past the impressiveness and glamour of gold and find the makers behind the work.

  19. Nancy says:

    The views are beautiful. It looks so lush and so green. And an active volcano….
    Enjoy!

  20. Lavinia Ross says:

    You’re in some beautiful country, Carol! Enjoy your time there!

  21. Gallivanta says:

    Looks gorgeous. Sounds like you are learning your way around quite comfortably.

  22. cindy knoke says:

    How completely lovely!

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