What the hell have we gotten ourselves into??? Ecotermales Quepos

As we were driving through Costa Rica, we decided to visit our friends and old neighbors in Uvita. On the way, we decided to check out the Ecotermales Quepos. They are a few pools of natural hot springs located just outside of Uvita in the town of Quepos.

As per the usual, google maps took us on the longest and most extreme off road route during rainy season. We took the turn off that Google had suggested and started climbing the mountain. It seemed like a really simple and straight forward dirt road. Not unlike any that we’ve been on previously. About 1/2 way through the drive, we encountered a man with his cattle. He stopped us and told us that he was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to pass, and pleaded with us to turn around. We’d been on the road there for about 40 minutes, and we only had a few miles left to go. Google said that our destination was only 27 minutes and 11km (6.8mi) away. I didn’t want to turn all the way back around and have to travel back an hour to arrive at the same place that was so close.

We decided not to heed the shepherd’s warning and continued on. About 1/4 mile after seeing this man, we came to a point in the road where it was a little muddy and wet, and across the road was red plastic tape, being held by two sticks in the mud that read “Peligro,” meaning “Danger” in Spanish.

Doing our due diligence, I got out of the car and walked down the hill to see what we were dealing with. The ground felt pretty tacky and stable. So Bronson drove down slowly, making sure to keep rolling traction in the wheels. The last thing we wanted was to break traction and slide into a ditch. So far, so good. No problems. The ground got a little more saturated and slick the further down the road we got.

When we got down to the last two miles, google was telling us we were still only 15 minutes out, so we continued on. The road was getting worse by the foot. We had to avoid landslides, huge ditches on both sides as the saturated ground became slick as snot. Before we knew it, it began raining more and our vehicle was sliding towards the ditches, having broken traction. We pulled out our traction boards and literally inched our way down the hill the last two miles.

We stopped for a minute and re-evaluated our situation. We were now only a mile away from our destination and the road was becoming increasingly horrible. We literally were at the point of no return. If we turned to go back, the road was so slick, we’d have to use our recovery tracks all the way up the hill, and it was starting to rain steadily and heavier by the minute. This was the first time we ever used our recovery tracks for ourselves.

After making it down the hill, mostly sliding even using the recovery tracks, we figured, the worst was over and we were only about 3/4 mile from our destination. The road seemed to get a little better, but then Bronson started sliding again and this time we were coming up around a corner, with a 4 foot ravine on the driver side. If he continued to slide, he’d end up in the ravine, and then we’d have to figure out how to get our front end out of it.

Ultimately, we decided to continue using our recovery tracks until we were on flat ground where it was more tacky and less slippery. We had made it down the mountain and through the worst of it… So we thought. At this point, our 27 minutes we had left turned into almost 3 hours. It probably would have been better for us to turn around when we met the shepherd who pleaded with us to turn around.

We were finally back on flat ground, when we happened to come across some deep, slippery, take-your-shoe-off mud. I knew that we’d get stuck and have to pull the recovery tracks back out. Bronson started slipping down the tiny little hill that was covered in this super slick mud and got to the deep muddy section before trying to spin the wheels to offload some of the mud from the tires, trying to gain traction. It didn’t work. So… Out came the recovery tracks. Again.

We were able to use the recovery tracks to get us out of this shoe removing deep mud and as we were putting the recovery tracks back on the vehicle, a farmer who had been out walking her dogs, took a look at us and, stating the obvious, told us that we were covered in mud and showed us to a hose just up the road for us to rinse off. She then asked where we were going, and after we told her, she explained that there was a much easier way to get to our destination, that would have cut our trip down to 20 minutes from the main highway.

After a grueling 3 hours for a 1 hour trip and those 2 additional hours all came at the last 1.5 miles. Stupid Google!!! However, we arrived, set up camp and had two very peaceful nights here and were able to soak in the thermal pools after a long trip.

If you want to check out the video of this adventure just click on the video below.


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