September - October 2017
  • Day0

    September 24, 2017-arrival in San Jose

    September 24, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Dean has wanted to go to Costa Rica for years, so we finally decided to go. We had enough credit card points to pay for the airfare, and we exchanged timeshares for a two week trip. Our friend, Bruce went with us. He left from Phoenix airport around midnight, 9/23. We left the following morning.

    We arrived in San Jose in the evening and were picked up at the airport by a shuttle driver and taken to our unit, Villas Palmas. When we arrived, Bruce was in the unit, resting after his long day. There was a delay in Miami due to mechanical issues. Then when they finally flew to San Jose, they could not land due to weather (rain). After circling a while, they were getting low on fuel, so had to land in Nicaragua. It was not a friendly area, and the passengers were told, “Do not leave the plane!” He was so glad to finally arrive in San Jose!

    We took a little tour of our condo: two floors, three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms. It is like an apartment! But we were surprised to see bars on the windows, even on the second floor!
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  • Day1

    San José

    September 25, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We got up early (didn’t know that the time was actually an hour behind what we thought). It was a beautiful morning.

    Pic: Waiting for our free breakfast/tour package presentation–we look pretty rested, don’t we?Read more

  • Day1

    Afternoon tour of San Jose

    September 25, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    After lunch, we went on a sightseeing tour of San Jose. Although it was raining (it is the rainy season after all!) we saw the highlights of the city and learned about the economy, history, and culture. The main industry is tourism and there are many national parks for such a small country. Costa Rica is a socialist country. Everyone pays into the National Health Care system. There is no welfare. School is required until age 16. The utilities are all run by the government. Everyone has bars on the windows and razor wire around their property, so it feels strange, like maybe it’s unsafe, but it is considered a safe country. There is no military, but of course there are police. And the driving is crazy! They might be really nice, easy-going people, but not when they get behind the wheel. No one pays attention to stop lights, stop signs, or yield signs, and if there is a hole in the traffic, someone fills it. We were really glad to be transported around by the tour bus.
    See pictures: National Stadium, built by China, 2011
    National Monument - the five central American countries defeating US Citizen William Walker’s army, “The Filibusters”, who were trying to take over
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  • Day1

    National Theater in San Jose

    September 25, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    This beautiful theater was financed by a tax on coffee, and completed in 1897. It was designed for everyone to access music and dance.

    See the statue in the lobby, the interior of Theater, first floor, and the Ballroom/meeting room on second floor with beautifully painted ceilings. The painted figures seemed to look in different directions as we walked around the room.
    The painting on the stairway wall was done by a foreign painter did not know the culture; coffee pickers wear the basket with a waist belt.
    After the tour, we went shopping for groceries. Rain was pouring down, but we had to go! Tomorrow will be an early start, so we need sustenance.
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  • Day2

    Sarchi woodworking village

    September 26, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We ate a quick breakfast of cereal in our condo, before we met the tour group at 7:15 for the excursion to Arenal Volcano. On the way, we stopped in the woodworking village of Sarchi, famous for its painted oxcarts which have become the national symbol. A craftsman was in the workshop and it was fun to talk with him. The souvenir shop had lots of beautiful items; we bought a trivet made of various woods including Purple Heart.
    See the oxcart, and paintings on the walls of the shop. Note the coffee pickers wearing a basket with a belt. The birds with the long tails are Resplendent Quetzels. We never saw one, so this is the next best thing.
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  • Day2

    Afternoon at Arenal Volcano

    September 26, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We stopped for lunch, and we could see the volcano from the restaurant. We ate a traditional lunch called Casado, which is beans, rice, fried plantains, sautéed onions and peppers, cabbage salad, and a choice of meat. We chose sea bass, and it was all wonderful!

    After lunch, Bruce went ziplining along with another couple in their 80’s! The rest of us went on a boat tour of Arenal Lake, where we got another view of the volcano.
    (See pictures of boat trip)

    Then we went to Baldi Hot Springs resort, which has about 20 thermo-mineral pools of varying temperatures, and a steam cave—all heated by the volcano. It was very relaxing to sit at the wet bar in the hot water and enjoy a beer! Then of course, it rained. We changed clothes and had a buffet dinner at the resort. Delicious!
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  • Day3

    Tirimbina Reserve

    September 27, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Tirimbina Reserve: Lunch was served here, and was delicious as always! Then we walked in the rainforest, including the longest hanging bridge in the country. We saw lots of wildlife, including the little poisonous frogs and a small, coiled viperous snake in the path.Read more

  • Day4

    Morning Drive through the Cloud Forest

    September 28, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We drove through Alajuela and Heredia provinces where we saw coffee plants growing under canopies to protect them from the sun, and fields of tropical plants grown for export as houseplants. We had lunch, and then drove through a cloud forest to get to the park. There were some plants with huge leaves, nicknamed Poor Man’s Umbrella, which only grow in the cloud forests.Read more