I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on an Adventures by Disney trip to Costa Rica and what an adventure it was! My husband and I flew to Florida since we needed to take care of some business there, plus we could get nonstop flights from there. Good enough reason for me! We had never flown JetBlue, so that experience started our trip off on the right foot. I loved their larger seats, more leg room and most of all, the individual TV’s! The TV and movies made the flight go so fast! I wish they flew out of the Midwest and I will try to fly them whenever possible. It doesn’t hurt that you don’t have to pay for your first bag!
March26–We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica the day prior to the start of our Adventure and stayed in a Courtyard by Marriott. It was a great location, plus just a few minutes from the hotel we were to meet up with our guides the next day. If we had flown in the same day as the Adventure they would have met us at the airport and transferred us to the hotel. As it was we went to the taxi stand inside the airport where you tell them where you’re going, and pay. The rates are set, which was nice–$21 USD. It took quite awhile to get there and was our first experience with traffic in Costa Rica. Not sure why we didn’t take the freeway, which looked like it went right by the airport, but we went through smaller roads, giving us a good view of the country as well. Traffic there was quite an experience! Most roads are about 1.5 lanes wide and no one is in a hurry (which is good since you never know when a car will just stop in the road). People seemed to just stop wherever they want and leave the car right there. Even if there was space to move off the road they still left some of the car in the traffic lane. With the narrow roads, it could be a challenge to get around.
The houses appeared to all be connected, but we were told people buy their piece of land and the house pretty much takes up most of that land, making the houses built right next to each other. I’m still thinking they were connected! The roofs were mostly corrugated tin, all houses and windows had bars on them, although I was told that crime is mostly petty theft, and most houses had locked fences around them. In general the country seems to be poor, then you come to some really nice homes although mostly they were more like shot-gun homes. Most houses we passed had the front and back doors standing open where you could see through the house, and see the shiniest floors I think I’ve ever seen! They might not have much, but they were certainly clean!
We finally arrived at our hotel, which was very nice. It was a bit of a challenge at times with the language barrier. I know basically about 5 words in Spanish and although a lot of people there speak some English, it’s not the main language. There were several times during our trip that we weren’t always sure what we, or they, were saying. The location of this hotel was great, with several restaurants beside it for lots of dining choices, including an Outback. We checked in then went to eat since we hadn’t eaten since we’d left Florida. We decided on a steak house called Terrcino, which was very good. This is one time the language barrier came in to play. There were a lot of amounts on the check, which was in Costa Rican Colones, and we weren’t sure if the gratuity was included. Amazingly, the server had mostly understood us during the meal—until we asked him about this. We found out later that 10% gratuity is included with the dining, so he got a great tip! The exchange rate was about 536 Colones to a USD.
You can see pictures from the trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36539945@N03/sets/72157624037563496/