Costa Rica Trip Report – Day 3
We were very sad on Thursday morning to say goodbye to the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Our bus was not coming until 2 in the afternoon so we got up early to do as much as possible. For breakfast we had omelettes, more of the famed Gallo Pinto and sampled many of the fresh juices. After breakfast we headed over to the beach with our fingers crossed that the flag would be green and we could get in a quick watersport. No such luck, the surf was too rough and it would be a pool day for us. To make up for it we decided that we needed to try all of the tasty sugary frozen drinks at the swim up bar – non alcoholic versions, of course!
In the afternoon we packed our bags and headed out to meet up with our “shared van” from Interbus. Now we were ready to start on the adventure part of our trip – and adventure we received! We spent a significant amount of the whole trip traveling and this particular ride was probably the hardest. Since it was a shared van we had to go 30 minutes in the opposite direction to pick up some other passengers and then drop them somewhere. We also stopped at some point to pick up the drivers sister and friend and bring them somewhere else. These things made the journey extra long, but the worst and scariest part of the ride was the roads. Costa Rica is a mountainous country so if you are traveling any distance you have to cross over mountains on windy old roads. Sadly, the route we took was not just old roads but dirt roads. Our five hour journey included about an hour of going up and down steep dirt roads in an old bus that didn’t have the stickiest tires or brakes. Oh, and did I mention it was getting dark.
Despite the nerve-wracking, nausea inducing ride we managed to arrive at our next destination in the Arenal Volcano area in one piece. We were staying at Hotel Montaña de Fuego and from the road the hotel looked very nice. The front of the complex is an open air restaurant, which was all lit up for dinner. The young dude at the reception desk greeted us, got us checked in and answered all of our questions about activities. He and his colleagues were very friendly and helpful. After we checked in one of the other employees insisted on taking us to our cabin. Normally, I refuse help with my luggage and prefer to find my own way, but I am glad he did not make his assistance optional. It was now pitch black out and the walk to our room was through the dark. We were a bit skeptical when he took us down a little path between two cabins and onto a porch with no lights. We hung back for a minute or so while he turned the lights on before making our way inside. While the guide showed us how to use the air conditioner, TV and other features I couldn’t help but be a bit taken back by the room. This was a cabin in the woods with gaps in the walls, older bedding, and a shower I didn’t want to step into. I’m sure my attitude wasn’t helped by the fact that we were coming from a 5-star resort but it just felt a bit skeevy.
After the guide left us alone in our room we twiddled our thumbs for a bit, unsure what to do. We weren’t really comfortable in the room but we were in the woods in the pitch dark so there was no where to go. We still had the bottle of wine our travel agent gave us when we arrived and wanted to open it to make ourselves more comfortable. We couldn’t find a corkscrew though and looked at the mini bar menu and it said an “oxwagon” was $30. (I think this is a corkscrew – we never quite figured that part out). We also saw that the candles available in this musty room were equally as expensive to use.
Put off by all the little charges and scary room we decided to head over the restaurant. For $25 we ordered a bottle of wine and used the free wi-fi for a while. We ordered some fajitas to share for dinner which were average. After this we were pretty exhausted and headed off to sleep.
By the end of our stay we had gotten more comfortable in our room and realized it was not nearly as bad as it seemed in the dark on that first night. It just took us a bit to reset our expectations.
Read Day 4