Emel Noguera put the Terracross into 4×4 and kicked in “the chancho” differential lock function to make the steep climb up a narrow mountain trail in a coffee plantation in Zaragoza. As we made our way up the loose, rocky, rutted surface, I wondered if a normal 4×4 could make it up, or a motorcycle. Even a horse would likely find this ascent challenging. But in the Terracross, he says it was a “piece of cake” when we reach the top, for a panoramic view of the distant beaches of Barco Quebrado, Barrigona, Samara and beyond.
In January, seven new Terracross all-terrain vehicles arrived in Nosara, the first of their kind in the area. The vehicles were made in Japan and imported from the United States. Noguera and his partner, Eduardo Alfaro, of Puro Tico Tours in Playa Guiones, are renting them out and incorporating them into their tours.
These two-seater vehicles are strong and fast, designed for safety, stability, comfort and power, and they seem to be a little quieter than quads. They have harness-style seat belts and netting, padded seats, good suspension systems and traction for handling curves and mud, with 60-horse-power, 625cc engines. Even when we’re going over the roughest patches in the roads, the ATV absorbs the bumps and passengers can lean their heads back against the headrests in comfort.
Puro Tico Tours offers a mix of tour options, such as a coffee plantation, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, beach and horseback tours with a barbeque cookout. Noguera and Alfaro are both locals who know some of the best spots in the area. “This is my town. I’ve gone all around with my father. I like the mountains, the jungle,” Noguera related. “I know all of the farmer’s trails.”
The tour they take us on is a combination of mountains, coffee plantation and river. When we reach the coffee plantation, Howard Kramer, an expat that has lived in Zaragoza for about 8 years, explains the planting, harvesting and drying process to us, and then treats us to a cup of the most gourmet coffee we’ve ever tasted. He insists we try it without any sugar or milk first, and it is smooth, without the usual bitter aftertaste.
After the coffee break, we drive up narrow trails and across a small wooden bridge to the highest point closest to the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste, at 745 meters, with breathtaking views of the coast. Then we head back down the mountain to Nosara, where we drive along the river and the dike. Noguera tells us that there are 28 river crossings in the Nosara area. We see egrets and pink spoonbills take to flight as well as locals swimming or doing laundry in the river. For a little while we switch seats with the drivers and take our turn behind the wheel. The Terracross is automatic, easy to drive and super fun.
The Terracross ATVs rent for $90 per day, with discounts for longer periods and for low season. They are street legal, in case you need to run an errand in Nicoya, as long as you have a valid driver’s license. For more information, stop by their office near the main entrance to Guiones beach, next to Cacho´s Surf, email [email protected] or call 8783-7334.