6 September – Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica
After a few days of rest in San José and the surrounding area, Fr. Miguel, Ignacio, and Eduardo were ready to resume their prearranged itinerary. Their hosts were waiting for them all along the route, and they were eager to move.
The remainder of the route is all within Costa Rica, beginning in the north at the border post of Peñas Blancas and continuing south to the capital of San José. By skipping Nicaragua, the route was shortened by about 200 miles. But Fr. Miguel and his teams in the U.S. and Guatemala spent a lot of time and energy during the delay working on behalf of The Little Mountain School, so the time did not go to waste.
On Monday, Fr. Miguel, Ignacio, and Eduardo made their way to the Nicaraguan/Costa Rican border. On the way, they took a short detour to the Pacific Coast.
A little exploring on the beach and a dip in the ocean were a fun way to break up the trip.
Peñas Blancas is not really a town. It’s just a border station, with a few businesses that are usually found at the border, such as restaurants, souvenir stalls, and money changers.
A small hotel near the border was a convenient place to spend the night.
Apparently, humans aren’t the only ones needing a convenient place to spend the night. This bat wanted to share Fr. Miguel’s bed! ?
Doña Carmen, the owner of the hotel, gave the travelers a warm welcome. She provided them with a dinner of tamales and coffee and a large helping of kindness.
7 September – La Cruz, Costa Rica
The next morning, the team woke up to heavy rain. Instead of making their usual early start, they waited until 6AM to set out for the day.
But the rain didn’t let up, so eventually the team had to just walk in the rain.
This is the first day of the whole Camino that the team has had to walk in heavy rain.
They shared the road with some children who were walking to catch the school bus.
Rain ponchos came in handy…
…as the rain continued.
But eventually, the rain eased up and Ignacio could shed his poncho.
He looks so relieved!
With no shoulders on the roads, there wasn’t much room to walk. But Fr. Miguel reports that drivers in Costa Rica are very respectful and used to making way for pedestrians.
By lunchtime, the team had walked about 13 miles from Peñas Blancas to La Cruz, Costa Rica.
La Cruz is a charming town on the PanAmerican Highway.
It is strategically located near Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste National Park, and Bahia Junquillal National Wildlife Refuge.
Just minutes from La Cruz are the beautiful beaches of Salinas Bay…
…and some of the best surfing in Costa Rica.
Maybe the guys should try surfing. Ignacio looks a little skeptical…
At the end of the day, Fr. Miguel was welcomed to his room at Holy Cross Church by the Missionary Mother of Perpetual Help.
So let’s review: After beginning in Palencia, Guatemala, the team walked over 400 miles through El Salvador and Honduras, stopping in Choluteca, Honduras to wait out their Covid isolation. When they were able to leave Choluteca, the team took a bus back to Tegucigalpa and flew over Nicaragua, through Panama City, to San José, Costa Rica. (Google Maps won’t let me show the flight over Nicaragua as part of the walking route, so just use your imagination. ?) After spending a few days around San José, the team made their way north to the border with Nicaragua. (This portion of the route is also not shown on the map.) And now Fr. Miguel, Ignacio, and Eduardo are walking again (from the black dot on the map just below the “H”) and hope to arrive back in San José by September 20.
As always, we need to remember why Fr. Miguel, Ignacio, and Eduardo, along with their support teams in the U.S. and Guatemala, are going to all this effort. If we are going to continue to provide education and nutrition for the children of Palencia, we simply have to raise the funds to support The Little Mountain School. Without the funds, there will be no school. And personally I don’t find this an acceptable option. Please watch what these parents have to say about what we are doing, and then tell all your friends!