For 15 years Shawn Thomas has traveled the world as an official BMW tour guide and off-road riding instructor. His daughter Hailey has always been in love with motorcycles and inspired Thomas to combine his passion for riding with the joys of parenting. Father and daughter have shared several motorcycle adventures throughout the US, Central and South America.

Here’s Part 2 of their latest adventure into the villages, beaches, and rain forests of Costa Rica.

Hailey at hotel
A disheveled Hailey takes in the morning view from our hotel balcony in Manuel Antonio.Shawn Thomas

Adventure Log Day 2: Crocodiles!

Location: Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa.
Weather: Sunny, humid, and hot throughout.

Wow, what a view! Our morning hotel was on a mountainside overlooking the water, but it was only when the morning sun came up that we could enjoy the sights. Our resort keeps old airplane parts strewed about, apparently even setting up a fuselage as a hotel room (we stayed in a traditional room).

We had an early start today. Part of the ride included a trip on a ferry, taking us from the mainland to one of the western peninsulas. The ferry had an 11 a.m. departure, meaning we had to make the hours-long trek in a hurry. There was a lot of high-speed riding to start with, plus a quick stop to check out a group of crocodiles that seemed to enjoy congregating under one of the overpasses. They were huge, probably the biggest I’d seen in person. Hailey took some awesome photos; I think her career as a shutterbug might be taking off.

On the way to the ferry I got a flat tire. The pressure warning system went off, and I was able to use my Sena comm to warn the guide of my troubles. We were in the middle of nowhere, but the leak was slow and I decided to keep riding until we found a gas station. I managed to find one just as the pressure dropped to 17 psi, about as low as I was willing to ride on. The station attendants sprang to work and had us patched and moving in less than five minutes. Nice! It also gave me the opportunity to help Hailey understand the difference between a tubeless tire (quick repairs) and tubed tire (Satan's curse on adventure riders).

Hailey drinking coconut milk
Hailey reluctantly tries coconut milk, freshly cut by a local street merchant (she ended up having two more).Shawn Thomas

The ferry ride was uneventful. It took about an hour and a half to make the trek, and we enjoyed relaxation and snack food. It was hot when we arrived on the peninsula, and we picked up the pace in order to convert sweat into cooling vapor. The roads took on a more remote feel, the rain forest encroaching into the lanes and trails. We saw some howler monkeys, and they went crazy at the sound of the motorcycles. Hailey came across a strange plant that closed when she touched it; not quite a Venus flytrap, more of a fern. We took to calling them “touch-me-nots” since our guide hinted at a stomach ache if we licked our fingers after touching them.

Shawn and Hailey
Hailey and I await the Puntarenas Ferry. The heat is intense and we look forward to stripping out of our riding gear.Shawn Thomas

We ended the day on a spectacular beach; the forest, sand, and water each ending in impossible lines of beauty. A local merchant used a machete to open green coconuts, which he promptly sold to tourists to enjoy. Hailey had three.

Tomorrow will be our longest riding day, according to the guides. Looking forward to it!