Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with tons, seriously tons to do and see. The only bad thing is all these things aren't close to each other. There is a lot of travel time in-between and roads aren’t great so it makes for curvy, bumpy and long drives in squeaky vans.
To do Costa Rica properly you need at least a full 7-10 days if not more. We crammed in as much as we could over the 4 day weekend which maybe wasn’t the smartest thing in the world.
We came in late on Friday night so we stayed in San Jose. As a side note, can I just tell you that the Hampton Inn, yeah, I said it, Hampton Inn was a real treat. I used to stay in them when I traveled for work and I had forgotten how nice it is just to have a basic hotel that’s super clean, a staff that is super friendly and a breakfast with the things I like to eat for breakfast. If you’re traveling domestically and need a good place to rest your head you can’t beat it.
Anyway, Thursday we headed out to Arenal to see the volcano. After about 3 ½ hours of driving we reached the city and were lucky enough to grab a few glimpses of the volcano before the clouds came rolling in. Apparently it hadn’t erupted in 3 weeks but it wouldn’t have matter. That night it poured and poured and we couldn’t see 2 feet in front of us much less the volcano.
The next morning we made our way to Monteverde. First you take a boat ride across Arenal Lake and then another long ride through the winding roads. Our hotel there was nestled in a lush setting and was a welcome sight after fighting the motion sickness.
Just as we were getting ready to walk out the door to our zip lining trip I went to wash my hands. It was then that I noticed a horrible rash covering them. Needless to say we had to skip the trip so I could take a Benadryl and wait to see if whatever it was spread and I needed to go to the doctor. (Update- been to Dr. and thankfully I don’t have jungle rot or leprosy- just some weird reaction to citrus fruit and the sun- yeah, I don’t know, but he seemed pretty sure and it is starting to fade.)
We got back on track that night with an evening forest tour. It wasn’t as creepy as I had thought it would be although the mating tarantulas did make my skin crawl.
We were up early the next day for our tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest tour. It was really great. We got to see some animals, birds and it was just nice being out in the fresh air.
It is a much cooler climate there so we got to enjoy a reprieve from the San Juan sun and heat. I think my favorite was the hummingbird sanctuary at the end. Hundreds of them feasting on sugar water. It was a lot of fun trying to capture them with the camera. The pics that are there are just a few of hundreds I had to take to get them.
Later that afternoon we went out to a small co-op coffee plantation which was very interesting. I’m not sure who is getting screwed more, the growers who get paid $5 for a box that contains like 10lbs or us, the consumers, who pay $20 for 1lb of organic coffee.
The owner of the plantation was very sweet and hospitable though and I’m glad we took the tour because it means more money for his family.
We enjoyed dinner at our quaint little hotel that night and headed off early the next morning for the ride back to San Jose.
It was another whirlwind weekend with too much to do in too little time. This weekend we’re headed to the Dominican. We’re skipping the beaches and staying in the city to get a little history and maybe a rocking chair…apparently they’re famous for them. What’s a few more kilos in the luggage at this point?
Posted by MAV at 3:03 PM