Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arriving in Costa Rica

So the stars aligned for us this summer.  Mike was at a duty station where a certain long leave period was guaranteed, and it happened to be also when kids were out of school, AND grandparents were available to watch the kids.  We knew this was too rare not to take advantage of, so in the months before we were on the lookout for something to or someplace to go as a couple.  That's when a fabulous sounding groupon hit my inbox.  It was for a "Weekend Warrior" package to Costa Rica with a company called Desafio.  There was also the option to extend the trip, but 3 days of activities and lodging, plus rides to and from the airport were included.

Three months later we were on plane.  6 hours later we were riding through the hills outside San Jose, on our way to the western side of Arenal Volcano.

Here's me trying not to look at Mike as we drive past fields of fruit.

It was an over 2 hour drive, and the first half was enough to make me queasy.  It seems most of the road rules are kind of optional.  Our driver pointed out lots of  the sights and features as we went past.

After an hour, we paused to stretch a bit and saw a beautiful church in the center of a town.

But we didn't pause long as we and the other passengers were eager to get to our destination.  We had lost a lot of time, according to the driver, because we were stuck behind someone driving the speedlimit on the winding road.  So back into the car and through a sugarcane region.

Soon we got breath-taking views of the Arenal Volcano.

Finally in the town of la Fortuna, where it had started to drizzle as it normally does in the afternoons, we stopped at the Desafio headquarters to finalize the details of our stay and to have a shot of the local liqueur- delicious!

 Everything arranged, we hopped back in the van for the last couple miles to our assigned hotel, Manoa. The whole complex was spread out on a hill so every room faced the volcano, and it included a huge pool, a full-service spa, a restaurant, and their own natural hot springs that spilled into a swimming pool.  Both pools had their own sheltered wet bars, which we visited regularly in the evenings.  Walking around wasn't much of a chore, but if you didn't feel like walking or if it was raining, you could call the front desk and they'd bring a ride to your door in just a couple minutes.

The rooms were in duplex pairs, surrounded by landscaping, making most quite isolated in feeling.  From our  little porch, we could just soak up the tropical feel and observe some tiny neighbors.


 It rained every night, and most of the time is was a deafening thunderstorm and downpour on the corrugated roof that drowned out talking and almost the ability to think, but that's all part of the experience.  Besides, in the morning everything was always fresh and clean.

To be continued...

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