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  1. #1
    Dishwasher
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    Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Costa Rica – Day 1
    Our Spirit Airlines flight was delayed. We arrived 2 hours late. The flight was very rough. There were quite a few dips that had my stomach turning. The landing was not too bad. We had planned to drive while in Costa Rica but cancelled the car when I read there would be rain. I called the hotel for a pick up. Our driver Christian met us outside with a mini-van being there are 5 people in our party. He spoke very limited English but tried his best to communicate with us on the 3-hour journey. When he found out we were Jamaican he promptly switched the radio station to an all reggae station. The music was great as they mixed oldies and new songs. They had dub plates and sound effects. I kept thinking that Costa Rica had a FM station dedicated to Reggae and South Florida with a large Jamaican population did not.
    Christian tried in his best “English” to tell us about Limon where many of the people were descendants of Jamaicans. Along the way Christian pointed out waterfalls and cities. We stopped at a town called Jaco for a “bio-break” at a shop his friend owned. This is the typical “hook up” that most drivers in the Caribbean have. My wife bought a few earrings.

    We arrived at the hotel late that evening. We were welcomed by Cesar who I had spoken to a few times when planning the trip. They provided us with a fruit drink at check in. Anthony the other front desk person took us to our room. The ocean view room was awesome. There were 3 bed rooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, a living room, dining area and kitchen. The appliances were up to date. We unpacked and relaxed before we went down to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. It was an open air building overlooking the pool and the ocean.

    The restaurant manager, Chris, was very nice. He was an American living in Costa Rica. His wife was Costa Rican. We ate and went to bed early as we were still in USA time which was 2 hours ahead. We found that throughout our time in Costa Rica we went to bed early because of the time difference.

















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  2. #2
    Dishwasher
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Day 2
    Before Breakfast we asked at the front desk if we could go down to the hotel’s private beach. They told us the tide was high and suggested we go after 2:00 PM. Two of my daughters tried to walk down to the beach. It was a very steep dirt road. They came back up the hill as they said it was too steep and very muddy. We learned that the hotel had a van that could take us down there.

    After breakfast we went to the pool and hung out there for most of the day till noon. We walked out to the main road to the supermarket down the street. We bought groceries. The prices were similar to what you would pay in the USA.

    We had lunch back at the room and arranged with the front desk to have their van take us down to the beach. We met a family from Orlando who were also going to the beach. They were basketball fans so we had a great conversation while we waited on the bus and when we met again the beach.

    The beach had very rough waves. It was also very rock on the shore. There were some unique rock formations around. There were also few iguanas along the shore. The rough waves made the beach fun as my kids and I played in the water. This is the Pacific Ocean so the rough seas were expected. We stayed on the beach for 2 hours as this was the time we told the drive to pick us up. Just as we left the beach it started to rain.

    We had to use umbrellas to get the hotel’s restaurant to have dinner. After dinner we made arrangements for a guide to see the Manuel Antonio National Park which was not too far from the hotel. Chris the restaurant manager recommended we go to the national park early in the morning as the animals don't come out mid-day when it gets hot.
















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  3. #3
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012















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  4. #4
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Day 3
    We were up early to meet the tour guide who would take us to the Manuel Antonio National Park. They had an 8-seater van. Our tour guide’s name was Juan. The park was less than 10 minutes from the hotel.

    There were many different groups at the park waiting to go in. The walk through the park was great with a guide as he saw things that we would have never notices if we walked in by ourselves. Juan explained what they were called and what they do. Karen (my wife) and I knew many of plants from Jamaica but it was good to hear the explanations of what they can do.

    We went off the main trail and this is where we saw a group of monkeys. They came very close to us as they moved from tree to tree. We spent a little time in the area taking pictures of the monkeys. We then got back on the main path where we saw toucans and sloths. The main path ended on a beach. This beach was very nice as it was located in a cove. We stopped there for a while as many of the people in our group were going to stay at the park and swim. There were also monkeys around. They were probably there for the food people left on the beach. After about 25 minutes we proceeded to exit the park. The exit had a small stream you had to cross to leave the park. There were men there with boats. For a fee you could step in the boats to across the stream. We opted to take our shoes off and walk in the stream.

    Before we got back on the van I bought coconuts from a man at the exit. It was very refreshing after a long day in the park.

    When we got back to the hotel everyone except me went down to the pool. I stayed in the hotel and slept. I was awoken by thunder and lightning. The late afternoon showers have arrived.

    The rain stopped long enough for us to leave the hotel for dinner. We took umbrellas
    .
    We went to Cafe Agua Azul which is home of the “big a**” burger. One of my daughters had a “big a**” burger. I had a chicken sandwich. We left the restaurant and go back to the hotel before a big rainstorm started.




















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  5. #5
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012



















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  6. #6
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Day 4
    After breakfast we checked with the front desk about the schedule of the bus going into the main town. On the way to the bus stop in front of the hotel we saw Chris the restaurant manager. He told us to see the stone ball at the entrance of the town. He explained it was unique as no one knows how it was made and it was featured on National Geography.
    After about a 15 minute wait the bus came. It was packed so we were able to get seats. There was a mixture of local and tourist on the bus. It was a modern air conditioned bus.
    We were in the town in less than 30 minutes. We can off at the main bus terminal that was surrounded by stores and an open market. We walked around the town just observing and searching for the stone ball Chris mentioned. We asked a lady in a store but she spoke no English. After about 45 minutes walking around, we went back to the terminal disappointed that we did not find the stone.
    Our bus pulled up to the terminal and Chris got off. He was in town to buy some supplies. We told him we could not find the stone and he offered to take us there. It was less than 5 minutes from the terminal in the median to the entrance of the town. We had come close it when we were searching before.
    We went back to the hotel for lunch in our room. The plan was to go back to the town and beach by the Manual Antonio Park. It was getting cloudy and setting up for the late afternoon showers. We aborted the plan. Everyone went back to the pool while I took a nap.
    We had dinner again at the restaurant at the hotel due to rain. We arranged with the front desk for transport to, La Boruca, the bed and breakfast we were staying at just outside San Jose. The cost was a bit high so we called Ken the owner of La Boruca. He found us a driver for $50 less. Ken was very helpful to us when we were planning the trip and told us thing so to do when we go to Costa Rica. We spoke by Skype quite a few times.

















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  7. #7
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012




















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  8. #8
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Day 5
    We had our final breakfast and said goodbye to Chris. We had carried Grace ready- made mix of salt fish fritters which we made before the pick-up.
    Check-out was smooth and our driver Victor was 20 minutes early. He was an older gentleman in his late 50's. He spoke English very well. We learned along the way that he was from Peru. He lived in New Jersey in the 1970's but did not like the cold weather. He left there after a year and moved to Costa Rica.
    It was great having an English speaker as we spoke about current events, politics, immigration and the names of each town. On the way to San Jose we stopped at a bridge Ken (the owner of La Boruca) told us about. It had a river with alligators.
    Victor dropped us of at the entrance of the bridge. We would walk across it and meet him on the other side. There were other people walking across the bridge. We counted 26 alligators on the river bank. The water was brown and dirty. Victor mentioned it went out to the sea.

    On the other side there were some little shops. We had a bio break and bought some coconuts. I was a bit disappointed as they had no "jelly". We also bought some local snacks made from coconut. We shared some of our salt fish fritters with Victor. He loved it.

    The rest of the journey was non-eventful. We drove through downtown San Jose where there was lots of activity. Victor pointed out major buildings in the city and gave us some history. La Boruca, the bed and breakfast we were staying at was in a small town in the mountains.
    The drive reminded me of going up Blue Mountains in Jamaica. La Boruca, was at the top of one of the mountains. When we stepped out the van we were met by the owner Ken but also some very cold air. It is winter in Costa Rica and in the mountains it was cool.

    Ken took us to our rooms in a 2 story building that was behind the main house. It had 4 rooms. We had the 2 upstairs rooms. The rooms were cozy and nice. There were extra blankets. The rooms were equipped with computers and a large screen TV. It was hooked up to a large movie database. It started to rain so we stayed in and watched movies till dinner time. Ken was the best host. He chatted with us at dinner. We talked about Limon and he told us his friends there. After dinner we went back to watching more movies.





















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  9. #9
    Dishwasher
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012

    Day 5
    We awoke early to pack and eat breakfast. We also had hoped to see a volcano Ken mentioned. He said it could be viewed from the top of his driveway on a clear day. We walked up the driveway but did not see it because it was too cloudy.
    Victor was our driver to the airport. We said our goodbyes to Ken and we were off to the airport. The roads were empty. Victor told us the names of the towns were passing through to get to the airport. We arrived at the airport to join a long line stretching outside the airport. It was the departure tax line. Victor mentioned “You pay to leave Costa Rica”. It was a tone that seemed to say “the place is so nice you had to pay to leave”.
    It was a great vacation and we hope to visit Costa Rica again as we would love to see the volcanoes and Limon where all the Jamaican descendants live.

















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  10. #10
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    Re: Costa Rica Trip Report June-July 2012















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