Awoke at 5:30am, had breakfast at the hotel, took a cab to the bus station and was on the road by 8:00am for the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. Although as promised there was no air conditioning the trip was totally doable and the heat hit when we got off the bus. Our bags were taken to our hotel, Hotel Escape Caribeno and our rooms were little cassata scattered in a beautiful garden of lush perfectly groomed lush tropical vegetation. Adri said we need to be prepared to awaken to howler monkeys in the morning. The last howler monkeys that we awoke to was at Tical in Guatemala where we stayed inside the park on our Belize trip. Looking forward to la mañana for sure.
Tomorrow (6:30 am) we are heading out on a day long trek to a national forest with promises of lots of animal sightings. Will report back.
Saturday evening. 3/19/16
At 7:00pm we met our CEO (Chief Experience Officer) Adri who makes the word “gregarious” seem subdued. She is a bundle of comic energy and with out a doubt she will make this trip so memorable. We have a great group with a mother and 14 year old son from Manhattan, a couple about our age from the UK, one single young gal from Germany, two guy friends, one from Canada and the other the UK and two young gals from Dublin Ireland. So altogether with Adri there are 12 of us.
Will be a fun trip for sure!!!
We had a great dinner with just 7 of us plus Adri who provided continual comic antidotes about her adventures being a travel guide. I have found my food groove with beans, rice or pinto Gallo (which is beans and rice combined usually served at breakfast) and tortillas.
We’re taking off from the hotel at 7:00am for a long bus ride to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica to Puerto Viejo. Transportation will be a public bus without air conditioning so will get a real feel of regular tropical life.
March 19, 2016
Woke up to a beautiful sunny day with expected rain mid day so we will need to head out walking with umbrella and hooded jacket.
Started the day with a great buffet breakfast with lots of fresh fruit, Tica rice and beans, plantains in a sweet sauce, two types of eggs, sausage, cereal bar, rice pudding, bread bar and a selection of fresh juices along with delicious strong coffee. Not even close to the breakfast buffets in China but pretty darn yummo.
And speaking of a delicious breakfast I forgot to mention the ginormous cockroach that greeted us at the airport on our way to go thru customs. We both looked at each other and said “protein ” as Wayne stepped over him.
Spent most of the day wandering San Jose and due to it being the beginning of Samana Santa (Easter week) we encountered a huge parade of priests with a statue and full marching band. All while the bells of two churches tolled on and on. The full procession was about a block long.
Along our way we stopped for a couple of photo ops.
We meet our tour guide and group tonight and then all go out for dinner.
March 18, 2016While at the airport waiting for our flight we reflected on what a great meal we had at The Daily Grill on Century Blvd in Los Angeles last night for Wayne’s bday dinner. We started with an artichoke and spinach dip with perfectly toasted crostini which came after the home made bread right out of the oven which was divine but overshadowed the appetizer a bit. Wayne had the short ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes topped with shoe string onion rings and those potatoes with the onions were delicious. Wayne loved the short ribs which were presented off the bone. I opted for a baked potato and everything I could imagine to top it with was on the side. What a feast I enjoyed. For Wayne’s bday they gave us a huge bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and had two moist brownies on the side. Absolutely wonderful bday dinner and we will pop back in on our trip home.
We had a great night sleep thanks to a complementary night cap from the hotel for Wayne’s bday on a really comfy bed at La Quinta but unfortunately we had to be up at 4:00am to catch the 5:00am shuttle to the airport.
No traffic to the airport and the Trek thru the airport was a breeze with TSA pre check.
Our flight was a gem with the free tickets we won at Wayne’s 1/2 marathon in Washington and the upgrade to 1st class with air miles for the trip down. Sure hope I can score the same for our trip home.
Customs was a breeze and then we were met by Eddie from GAdventures and he called Juan our driver. Our trip to our hotel was rather long due to traffic congestion caused by a major road closure. It was a fun trip as Eddie quizzed us on our Spanish and gave us lots of good info about Costa Rica and our tour.
We arrived at Autentico, our hotel, and after going to our room to unload our bags we set out to find an ATM to get some Colones and then on to the supermarket to score a little hooch. Both missions accomplished we headed for the hotel bar to celebrate our arrival. I ordered a Tanqueray and Wayne had a Jack Danies on the rocks and paid $3.60 each or $2,000 colones. The exchange rate is insane with a $10,000.00 colone bill equaling $18.00.
We decided to just chill at the hotel and had dinner out by the pool. Wayne had pasta bolognese and I did the grilled vege plate. His was really good and mine was a lot of eggplant which is not my favorite vegetable. There were a lot of grilled red onions also so dinner was redeemed and moved to the palatable side of the plate. Wayne enjoyed the addition of the eggplant to his menu.
Will feel good to get to bed tonight as 4:00am was a long time ago.
Hasta mañana amigos.
My cutie 73 year old man in Costa Rica and my grilled vegetables.