Going to Costa Rica

Apparently, Sandy doesn’t like how I’m able to wake up early and be in a good mood.  I know this because she told me.  The alarms went off at 4:45am, first Sandy’s and then mine.  We had a long travel day ahead of us and the pep that I started the day with would be drained out of me by the end.

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Ugh! Can we go yet???

Our taxi took forever to come.  Apparently everyone was going to the airport at the same time as us.  It did get there eventually though, we breezed through security, boarded one of the smallest planes I’ve ever flown in and crammed ourselves into the tiny little seats.  Then we sat there.  Apparently Philly had an “all stop” for air traffic and we’d be stuck on the tarmac for the next hour waiting for things to open back up.  Of course we don’t just wait at the gate… the plane works it’s way to the end of the runway, to a small parking area for delayed planes, and shuts it’s engines down.  Then I sat there and watched out the window as plane after plane taxied by, working their way into position and launching off into the wild blue yonder while we sat there stuck.

We did eventually get the okay.  The flight was short but because of the delay we had to run to catch our connecting flight in Philly (although another flight from Boston was even later than ours and it had a whole troop of youngsters destined for Costa Rica so it turns out we had plenty of time).

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Costa Rica forests below

The flight was uneventful (as all good flights should be).  I had a window seat so I was able to watch the Costa Rican landscape pass beneath us as we approached San Jose.  Lots of forests and rivers as well as some small lakes.  The sun hits the lakes at an angle that really lights them up and gives the water an almost metallic look, like a little pool of mercury.  As we near San Jose I see more fields and the trees become sparser.

We were an hour late landing.  We had rented a car from Alamo because they were at the airport.  Except we discovered this wasn’t really true, they had a desk at the airport but they shuttled you offsite to a facility where you actually did the paperwork and got your car.  Here’s where we learned a trick.  If you rent your car from the airport (including our case where they just picked us up there) you have to pay a 13% airport tax.  For us that amounted to nearly $100.  However if you take a $5 taxi ride from the airport to the car rental facility then you don’t have to pay that airport fee.

The process of renting a car is so painful.  I really wanted to get to our hotel before dark but we were at Alamo for over an hour as the sun slipped closer and closer to the horizon.  After reading lots of horror stories regarding people getting stung by charges for damages from car rental agencies we had decided to get all the insurance when we booked the car (at a cost of $320… almost as much as the car rental itself).  At the dealership though, they managed to find an additional insurance that wasn’t on the website.  Another $80 fee.  Ugh!


View 2013 Costa Rica trip in a larger map

Once we finally managed to extricate ourselves from the rental agency, we had a three hour drive to our first hotel, Arenal Kioro.  Dusk was already falling so the drive was going to be in the dark.  The first hour wasn’t so bad but after that we hit the serious mountain roads.  These roads twisted and they turned and they went up and they went down.  I am certain the roads were less than the width of two cars but that didn’t stop the locals from speeding by as I clutched the steering wheel in terror.  The last half hour of the trip improved.  The roads seemed to straighten out somewhat after we went through the town of La Fortuna.  And finally we reached our destination.  The hotel staff was wonderful and got us checked in and made sure that we got dinner reservations in the hotel restaurant.

Okay… this was the hardest day of the trip.  The rest of my blog entries will be much more fun to read.  I promise!!!

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Heading off to the hot springs to relax after a long day

1 Comment to “Going to Costa Rica”

  1. By Tim, February 24, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    Ah you poor thing. An unpleasant day of travel only to end in a hot meal and hot springs.

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