I was really excited to visit Costa Rica. While there I learned plenty. Although there were a few bumps in the road it was an amazing trip. I would have loved to spend more time there, but I only had a few days and made the most of it! I would love to go back and I hear there are lots of amazing guided Costa Rica tours so they may be worth looking into!
Arriving in the San Jose airport, I noticed many people were in the Duty Free shop near baggage claim. These were people who had just gotten off their flight. As I saw them coming out many had huge bottles of alcohol or big boxes of wine. The question many had was, why are they buying duty free alcohol? The answer ended up being pretty simple…it was apparently cheaper then purchasing it outside of the airport. We didn’t go that route and left the airport to get to the rental car company.
After waiting a good while for the shuttle to the rental car everyone started getting ancy in the hot sun. Just when a plan was formed to grab a taxi, the shuttle showed up and we all piled in. Most rental cars there are manual so we had to make sure to get an automatic. Once we got the GPS working correctly we were on our way to our Airbnb in Esterillos Este.
We were extremely happy to have that GPS seeing as there are no street signs at all. We would make several turns many times in what appeared to be very different streets, but according to the GPS we were on the same road! Everything seemed so close to the road as well. It almost felt like we were in the house or business right from the car. After a good amount of time we were driving on what seemed like more of a highway and were paying a few tolls to keep moving.
After hitting traffic due to construction and many areas only having 1 or 2 lanes to drive, we finally got near the Airbnb, but stopped at a store/soda. We were starving at this point and got some pizza which was really good and only $1.86 for a slice. We also got some snacks, water, and they got some alcohol. Once we reached the house the sun was almost finished setting. It was such a beautiful house called Casa Tucana.
After we roamed the house inside and out we decided we would hang out by the pool a little and unwind. While I was in the bathroom changing the lights went out. I thought maybe it was just in my room and had to feel around for my phone to use it as a flashlight. I would soon find out the entire house lost power. After my friend played with the circuit breaker we realized the entire neighborhood lost power.
We searched the house and found electric tea lights which didn’t emit much light and placed them around the pool. With that, an iPod, and portable speaker we hopped into the pool and swam around in the dark with lightning appearing in the distance. After a few hours the power came back on and it began to pour rain. We just kept swimming since we were already wet. Getting hungry and my friends running out of alcohol we tried to go to the store.
It was about 9pm and stores would be closing up soon. We put some clothes on and hopped in the car. As we were driving it began to rain horribly and nothing was open or everything was closing so we went back to the house empty handed. After a few flickers the lights went back out and we had chips and water for dinner. This time we had a couple of lanterns.
Around 2:20am the electricity came back on. It was pretty loud and woke me up. I was happy to have the air conditioner back and I immediately jumped up to charge everything possible just in case. Sadly I couldn’t go back to sleep and was up for the rest of the day. We had to be out the door early to go zip lining.
We stopped at a soda near the meeting location to get some breakfast. The meeting location was at the parking lot of Quepos Airport which is very small. We had a beautiful view of the mountains and watched a small plane take off and land over and over. Finally the shuttle came and we followed it to El Santuario Canopy Adventure. It was such an amazing experience, especially flying over the tree tops on the longest zipline in Central America.
After zip lining and sweating (98 degree weather with a 100% humidity) like never before we got back in the car to head back to the house. I ended up dozing off in the backseat after being up for so long. Once we got back to the house I hopped in the shower and changed clothes. We had to get ready to go horseback riding on the beach.
We arrived to The Riding Adventure ranch earlier than expected. We didn’t realize it was so close to the house we were staying at. I called the owner to let him know we were there early. Once he arrived he started to round up the horses and feed them before he saddled them up and we rode out. I have always wanted to go horseback riding on the beach. It was so beautiful and peaceful and I really enjoyed it.
Once we were done we headed to get dinner and stopped at the store again before heading back to the house. I was exhausted and laid down for a bit while everyone else hung out in the pool drinking. Soon after, I hung out in a hammock before just calling it a night. Some people slept out in the hammocks, which sounded fun, but even here the temperature drops a lot at night and I thought I’d be cold. If you are planning to sleep outside in a hammock, then hammock underquilts help with cold weather. We didn’t have any here, so I decided to sleep inside.
We woke up somewhat early to gather our things. We were leaving the beautiful house and staying at a hotel close to hotel cocal. It was in such a beautiful area. Before we headed back we stopped in Jaco to walk around and get some breakfast. We found a cute spot to eat outside. The food was really good and an iguana stood their like a dog waiting for a bite.
After breakfast we walked over to the beach. The sand wasn’t your typically sand. It reminded me of a sugar charcoal facial scrub. I saw people sitting down covered in it. I took my flip flops off and dipped my feet in the warm ocean water. The views surrounding the ocean were beautiful.
After we were done at the beach we walked barefoot down the street looking for a place to rinse off out feet. We found a place at a little RV spot that had showers. It looked a bit run down, but it got the job done. We headed back to the car to head to San Jose where I fell asleep in the back of the car. Once we arrived to our hotel we unloaded everything and took a walk over a bridge to buy some souveniors and then grabbed some food.
We decided to drive to Central San Jose, which took some time because there was traffic. As we got into the area I noticed street signs for the first time. The amount of people I saw reminded me of Times Sq. times 5. The amount of police was nothing like I had ever seen on a normal day. Huge bus loads of cops where being dropped off and picked up. Every cop had a partner as they walked around. It was so different going from hardly seeing anyone to seeing so many people.
Central San Jose seemed very seedy. We watched some street dancers, saw the beautiful Teatro Nacional, and got some ice cream. We walked up and down the streets and saw people selling remote controls and begging for money. After purchasing some coffee my friend’s spidey senses felt it was time to go so we headed back to the car. As we drove away we realized we liked Costa Rica, but we certainly didn’t feel the need to come back to this area of San Jose.
Costa Rica was an amazing time and I would certainly go back. Next time I may consider more nature tours, like this bird watching and photography option from CostaRicaFocus.com – wouldn’t it be cool to take some photos of toucans? The biggest draw to the country though is that there is so much to see and do. It is a beautiful country and I am glad I got a smattering of it. I look forward to returning.
Have you been to Costa Rica? How was your experience?