Friday, December 29, 2023

Costa Rica Days 2-5: Playa Conchal

If you've read our first Costa Rica entry, then you know that we arrived in the dark. When the sun rose the next morning, we were able to see just how lucky we were. We'd been given a unit on the top floor of a small apartment building perched overlooking the forest. In the distance, we could see the ocean, and our ears quickly filled with the singing of tropical birds and the deep grunts of nearby howler monkeys. 

A 15 minute walk down the dirt road brought us to a sandy beach. We were pleased that it seemed mostly to be filled with locals and as a result we've already used more Spanish than we did over two weeks in Spain. The water was warm and the ocean floor sandy, and there were gentle waves perfect for leisurely splashing in.

There was also a pool on the grounds of our hotel with a large deep end and sweeping views of the surrounding forest and hills. A restaurant helped us get through our first full day before we could venture back out on the bumpy roads to secure some groceries. 

F working on her dives!

Craig and Erin realized that it had been a long time since we'd ventured to Central America, or anywhere of the like. We'd been to Costa Rica, specifically, for Christmas 13 years ago, but since the arrival of Adventure Girl, travel hadn't included somewhere quite this adventurous. 

F got her first glimpse of a very different way of life than ours in Canada and is so far handling the change well. This includes things like cold showers, frequent power outages, rundown public bathrooms without toilet paper, etc, and seeing people's homes that look very different from ours. She seems to be understanding some of the benefits of a life different from what she sees in Canada as well as appreciating what she has. 

It is with great pleasure that we also announce that Adventure Girl has shown a keen interest in continuing her own travel blog (she wrote her first post before we even did!). Her first piece is up on her own page at:

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Costa Rica Day 1: A True Christmas Story

You'd think it would be a good thing when you can say that a 7 hour international flight plus arrival through customs and immigration goes smoothly. But buckle up because the beginning of this trip is about to get bumpy! 

We're going to skip through the annoyances at the car rental place because really, who has ever had a quick, positive, economical experience at one? (The answer is No One. Ever.) So let's just say we're now two hours (and $700) behind schedule, meaning we're travelling cross-country in the pitch dark on the night of Christmas Day when we can only assume everyone has been consuming. We make it within 5 kilometers of our booked accomodation without any incidents and then we turn off on to the side road. Remember, there are no street lights here. With trees arching over the roadway, it's pitch black. We begin to encounter holes in the road that can only be described as craters deep enough to swim in. Roots entangle the sections that were originally flat. We slow to a crawl as we dip up and down and pray our newly acquired rental car does not get stuck. Adventure Girl is in the back, engrossed in a podcast episode of Chester's Book Club. (Thank you Mom and Chester for this incredible distraction). It takes us half an hour to go these last 4.5 km but we finally make it, hours past when we thought we would arrive. 

At this point, we realize Craig's SIM card that he pre-ordered is not working and we have to find someone cleaning up at the accommodation's bar to get us on to their WIFI because we still don't have check-in instructions from our VRBO host. Thankfully there is someone there to help us but when we get logged on, there is still no word from our host. Craig tries calling the off-duty bookings office of the complex we're in and they've definitely heard of the person we've rented from. They used to be a renter of one of the units...with an emphasis on "used to." 

Now, we're pretty well-travelled people. Check our sidebar, if you don't believe us. We've run in to a little scam here and there over the years. But to be preparing your seven year-old for the fact that the three of us might be spending the night in the back of our now not-so-sparkling rental car after a 14 hour travel day is not a place you want to be in.

We are incredibly relieved to be able to say that this lovely Costa Rican gentleman saved us. He found us a unit in the complex that was available for the next five nights and he reduced the cost so it was close to what we were paying for the original place. We trucked all our stuff up to the third floor of the building and were able to put an exhausted child to bed in an actual bed. Not the best start to our trip, but here's to hoping that it can only get better from here. 

Erin's not pregnant and there was space at the inn but this story had a few too many connections to a familiar Christmas story for our liking!