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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Costa Rica Part 2

Beginning the next leg of our Costa Rican vacation...for the first part CLICK HERE

Day 4- Tuesday March 11th

Tuesday was the day we checked out of Rio Celeste and headed to our beach resort on the West coast of Costa Rica which is the Pacific side.  The East side holds the Caribbean Ocean.  We had breakfast, checked out and drove about 3 hours to the beach. We loved driving with the windows down enjoying the changing landscape of winter rain forest to the dry summer landscape with views of the mountains in the background.

More pineapples

almost there

our first look at the ocean
We arrived a bit before it was time to check in so we changed in the hotel bathroom and headed to get our first taste of Costa Rican beaches.  After check in we settled into our room and since we skipped lunch due to our mini road trip we ordered club sandwiches through room service. 


from the lobby looking out onto the pool

Later that night we went to a restaurant recommended by the hotel called the Golden Shrimp that was right on the beach.  We listened to the ocean and talked as we waited a good bit for our food.  We both got seafood and it was good although a bit bland.  After dinner we took a walk on the beach...the moon was about full so there was plenty of light to enjoy the beach and ocean at night.  We also went to a local grocery store a short walk from our hotel to get bottled water and snacks for the beach over the next couple of days.  We realized quickly that we were in tourist country because the prices in the hotel skyrocketed compared to our previous hotel in the forest.  After getting rid of the sand and sweat we watch an old classic and  a movie I love Working Girl.  Hendrik had never seen it but I think he liked it good enough...for a chick flick. LOL

Day 5- Wednesday March 12th

On our 5th day of vacation true to form we started with breakfast and weren't really prepared for the itty bitty breakfast room the good sized hotel had especially when it was made smaller by the team of 30+ rugby players that were very hungry and very rowdy.  After an omelet breakfast we hung out in and around the pool for about an hour.  That was just long enough for Hendrik to get "bored" and want to do something so he went to the beach to ask about massage pricing.  He came back and after disussing the pricing we decided to get massages on the beach underneath trees, each an hour long full body for $45 each.  We thought it was a really good deal compared to pricing at home so we went with it.  Not only were they super relaxing since they were ocean side but the ladies who massaged us were really good and nice.  After lunch we drove to Tamarindo about 20 km away to check out the town and also to hang around until dinner. We had recommendations from a man in San Jose that there was really good sushi there.  It was a tourist beach town with a hippy flare.  Not only where there tourist of all ages and classes but I saw many backpackers and several hostels.  It is also known for mild surfing that is great for learners.  Hendrik surfs at home on the lake behind his boat so he was anxious to take a lesson.  I lounged in a chair and read as he took his lesson and learned the ropes of ocean surfing.  He got up and did great the first few times and then he said he started getting aggravated and tired so after a two hour lesson he was pooped.  We walked around some more and then had an early dinner at a sushi restaurant that was hidden down a stone passage between to souvenior shops.  It was really good sushi although different than we were used to and the atmosphere of the restuaruant was so relaxing and secluded from the happenings of the street.  That night after returning from Tamarindo we crashed in our room to rest for our sun filled day ahead. 

Day 6- Thursday March 13th

Thursday was our last full day at the beach before heading into the city so I wanted to do an activity and as you've probably figured out the man who wanted nothing but a beach vacation gets bored at the beach easily...I think if I want a lay in the sun and read all day type of beach vacation that is going to be a girls trip. LOL  After breakfast we headed back to Tamarindo so Hendrik could rent just a surf board and try it out on his own since he had the lesson the day before.  I think he enjoyed going out into the waves and figuring it out and he did great.  Around noon we headed back to our hotel because I had booked us a snorkel trip on a catamaran for the rest of the day.  A car picked us up around 1:30 and took us to the bay area where all the boats anchor.  They don't have docks so water taxis took us out to the catamaran.  We sailed out for about an hour and half, had drinks, visited with each other, and just enjoyed being on the ocean.  Once we hit our snorkel spot we got our gear and off we went.  It was pretty windy that day and the current was pretty strong as well but we held hands and snorkeled and saw lots of neat fish and sea creatures together each taking turns pointing out stuff to each other.  We snorkeled for about 45 minutes to an hour before swimming back to the boat to have a light lunch and more drinks.  On the sail back to the  bay we struck up conversation with a couple from Rhode Island.  We loved talking to them and learning things about their state and also comparing our Costa Rican experiences.  Note:  they had a VERY similar situation with their rental car so it is just that way not a one time incident with us.  After we returned from our snorkel trip our light lunch had worn off so we decided to try a restaurant we had seen while walking around the area near our hotel.  We got fish, rice, chips and guacamole, and I had a salad.  We really didn't like the food at this restaurant and I pretty much ate my entire salad and sent the rest of my plate back pretty much untouched.  We went back to the hotel to crash after getting a lot of sun that day and I stayed up in the bathroom all night long with a horrible horrible stomach ache.  I chocked it up to the salad since every time I eat salad out of the US I get disentary. The salad was also the only thing that I ate a lot of and Hendrik didn't everything else had been the same and I also had been drinking tap water the entire trip so that couldn't have been it.
eating popsicles to cool off
it was a hair raising day

Day 7- Friday March 14th

We checked out of the Flamingo relatively early after breakfast because we weren't really sure how long it was going to take to drive from the coast back to San Jose, especially since I was still very sick with my stomach ache.  We headed out about 9:30 and we arrived at our hotel in the city right at 3.  We checked in and decided to head to the rental car office to return our car.  We had originally made plans to return the car the next morning at the airport but seeing we weren't familiar with the area and the man we were meeting spoke strictly Spanish we felt more comfortable returning it the day before to the office where we rented it and then taking a shuttle to the airport.  Less confusion and also less stress at 4 in the morning.  What would normally take 15 minutes took an hour and half due to bad traffic.  The workers in the city get off at 4 so it was right in the middle of rush hour.  Once we got back to the hotel we walked the pedestrian boulevard which is full of shopping and things to see right in the city center.  We had to do all this at night since it took us so long to take the car back but we did get to see city life.  I also have a confession about this night....due to my stomach bug and not eating anything for 24 hours I really didn't want to risk getting sicker and flying the next morning so I was a complete American and even made Hendrik participate and we ate McDonalds for dinner that night:( I know shameful but I had been comlpletely emersed in Costa Rican culture for the past 6 days and I really didn't want to chance it.  We turned in to our hotel around 10 and I did get a bit of sleep that night even though the bathroom was frequented.


Day 8- Saturday March 15th

We woke up dark and early at 3 to get checked out and a shuttle to the airport.  It is a good thing we got up early because even though we had to wait around an hour before boarding the security lines were pretty long and we also had to pay a tax before leaving.  We left San Jose around 6:45 Saturday morning and arrived in Phoenix for our connecting flight around 11:45. We got my checked luggage and made the trek through the airport and waited in the most ridiculous security line that I've ever been in in my life....lets also remember I would fly into Baghdad, Iraq and it wasn't this bad.  We were definitely not impressed with Phoenix's airport.  It was crowded with equipment, set up was not functional, it was outdated with contributed to the first two gripes and just all around a mess.  Our outbound connection was delayed 30 minutes due to cleaning the ancient airplane we got on which then made us late arriving into Dallas...about 3 hours late.  Since we were late leaving Phoenix that means we didn't miss the mega storm that hit Dallas.  DFW was shutdown and our plane got diverted to Austin where we sat (ON THE PLANE) for 2 hours waiting on DFW to open. finally around 7:15 we go word that we could take off and we arrived in Dallas around 8:45.  The Marriott shuttle picked us up and took us to the north hotel where my car was parked.  Boy after long travel days and detours we were exhausted.  Hendrik was also looking forward to eating some non fast food but by the time we got out of Dallas into somewhere that had eating joints it was after 10 and too late.  We hightailed it home without stopping at at 11:30 that night I was making spaghetti noodles and pesto for supper.  My belly needed the carbs and it was good, let me tell you! LOL

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