my spoiler-free review of costa rica (i.e., part 2)

On Day 3, I ditched the rental’s keys and boarded a tourbus for Arenal Volcano National Park.  Five minutes into the trip, my bride asked if I was enjoying this traveling better that the previous two days’ journeys.

Me:  Infinitely.


We befriended folks from such foreign lands as Puerto Rico, Poland, France, Denver, and Indiana.  We learned about what we were passing instead of wondering about it.  I didn’t give a shit about traffic or young pedestrians.

We passed the extinct Chato Volcano, which is part of a mountain formation called the “Sleeping Indian.”  I renamed it the “Sleeping Indian with Morning Wood” upon closer inspection, however:

After a stop that allowed some shopping for local goods (to include cigars for me), we went to the hot springs at Tabacon:  a series of heated pools and water falls below the volcano.  They were wonderful.  So much, in fact, that I actually got out to piss behind some palm trees instead of going in the water, because I didn’t want to soil the wonderful creation around me.

Damn right it felt good.  We stayed in the hot water for 3 hours before a pretty good meal and then a trip to the base of the volcano after dark to marvel at the glorious eruptions of rock and lava and fire storms to follow.

But we were there on one of the 80% of evenings in which the cloud cover prevents seeing anything.  So, we stood in the dark with a bunch of strangers and stared into the blackness and nothingness for 15 minutes instead, while I made out loud observations about how screwed we were if the tourbus didn’t return to pick us up.  Luckily, the bus came.

The next day we boarded another tourbus at 7am to try, again, to see Poas Volcano National Park.  This time, it was clear:

We did some hiking and took pictures.  On the way, we stopped at the Doka Coffee plantation for a tour and the chance to buy 7 bags of damned good coffee.

And after the volcano, we saw La Paz Waterfall Gardens (we actually found it this time, when someone else was driving).  An earthquake rendered part of the hiking trail to 3 additional falls impassable, but we were able to see 2 of the waterfalls and a bunch of wildlife.

We headed back to the hotel, and I begin to notice something odd.  Just about every home or business we passed was surrounded by bars, fencing, and/or concertina wire.  It was as if everyone was Scott Stapp and created their own prisons.

Blue bars?  Really?

Good fences make good neighbors, right?

What if there’s a fire?  Damnation.

Just in case you thought you’d climb the wall to visit this place (which wasn’t a prison, by the way).

Even the friendly neighborhood abogado and notario need bars on the windows!  Sadness.  I reckon it’s to keep out the clients.

We got back to the hotel just in time for deep tissue massages before going to bed.  I think the woman rubbing me was blind, like in that shitty Val Kilmer movie with Kelly McGillis.  I was sore for 2 days.

All in all, a pretty good trip, considering the difficulty in “getting away” when both parties are self-employed and Type A by nature.  And the whole pregnancy thing kept us from the white water rafting and zip lining I wanted to do.  Maybe next time.

We’re talking about bringing the children with us on a vacation sometime soon, like summer ’11 (something we’ve never done before–we prefer to ditch them and travel alone).  God help us.

Feel free to check out additional pictures on my flickr page!

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  1. Don’t tell me where you had to stash those seven bags of coffee in order to smuggle them back into the USA…
    .-= Dave2´s last blog ..Imitator =-.

  2. I love the Indian chub picture.

  3. If you happen to ride the Alejandra Bus Line, it’s named after my stepdaughter – No shit (Her grandfather owns the tour transportation lines in Costa Rica… and her Great uncle is the president… again, no shit!) Looks like y’all had a nice time.

    • @Clark Kent, That’s cool! Next time we go, I’ll have to let you know in case you can hook us up with freebies. By the way, how’d the December surgery go?

  4. i think you need to start a separate album of “places i’ve pissed” for real. those pics always crack me UP. look gorgeous. costa rica, not the pissing 🙂

  5. “Two Type-As on vacation”. Does that actually qualify as a vacation? Where’s the lazing around the pool drinking margaritas? And seven bags of coffee is such a type-A souvenir.
    .-= headbang8´s last blog ..I refuse to participate in your neurosis =-.

  6. Dude, where can I get a bus like that?!! I NEED one! The other pictures are beautiful and Costa Rica looks great, but the bus!
    .-= Windsor Grace´s last blog ..ATL Chicks know how to throw a party! =-.

  7. I can’t tell, is the place kid friendly or not? I’m one of those jerks that take my kids everywhere just to annoy the hell out of the other vacationers. Would I have fun?

    • @faiqa, I think it would be if using tour buses or a driver. We did see some other kids at the Marriott at breakfast. You might want to do less adventure and hiking and more beach lounging with them…if you don’t mind their seeing some boobies.

  8. In that pic where you’re balancing against the sign, looks like you’re peeing and hoping nobody’s watching.

    Just thought that might be a more truthful caption…

  9. P.S., morning wood. That’s funny.
    .-= Fragrant Liar´s last blog ..I’m Not Paranoid, But They’re Out to Get Me =-.

  10. HA! I reread that part. Guess you WERE pissing.

    Tsk, tsk.
    .-= Fragrant Liar´s last blog ..I’m Not Paranoid, But They’re Out to Get Me =-.

  11. THAT’S morning wood? Wow. Um, not to give that Sleeping Indian a complex but, yeah, Playgirl isn’t calling.

    So, do you think Costa Rica is moderate Alzheimer’s friendly? Ty’s aunt is taking his extremely-forgetful and not-happy-when-she’s-away-from-home grandmother there in two weeks. Yeah. I’m thinking that’s going to be a trip fraught with missing senior citizen alerts.
    .-= Coal Miner’s Granddaughter´s last blog ..My Father-in-Law Hates Me =-.

    • @coal miner’s gd, Poor Indian. I think you’re right. As for Ty’s aunt…I don’t think that’s such a good idea. But, if they stick to guided tours, perhaps they’ll have a good time, but I don’t envy his aunt!

  12. I actually didn’t recognize you in that first picture without your glasses!
    .-= Miss Britt´s last blog ..The next time someone says “are you sitting down?”, I’m going to hang up. =-.

  13. Boarding a tour bus @ 7am does not equal vacation.

  14. Why would you have to hide cigars from Costa Rica? Or were they Cubans?

    And are you sure you had a good time? I somehow sensed a backhanded compliment to Costa Rica. 😀

    I can’t tell if I’d want to visit Costa Rica or not, with the bar-bedecked windows, and the all-American co-travelers. That doesn’t sound like “getting away” – although we don’t have Indian with Morning Wood.
    .-= Margaret (Nanny Goats)´s last blog ..Retro Desserts: There’s a Cake For That =-.

  15. @margaret, It’s very pretty. But I prefer Hawaii. CR is a shorter flight, though. And cheaper. I don’t mean to be a hater…it had just been played up too much by folks I know who’ve been several times.

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