March 27–Since I hadn’t slept for a couple of days (trying to get my work in shape to be gone for a week so that my co-workers knew what was going on with all my clients) we went back to the hotel and I slept—until the next day. I don’t think I’ve ever slept that long, but woke ready for my adventure. We had a very nice breakfast buffet at the hotel ($30,000 Colones—sounds so scary!) where I had my first taste of sweet passion fruit, which I wouldn’t have had a clue what it was if the waitress hadn’t brought over a piece for me to try. It was very strange looking inside, and with the crunchy seeds probably my last taste of it as well. We then took the taxi to the Intercontinental Real. You could see the hotel from the Courtyard but we figured we didn’t know the neighborhood, and walking with luggage probably wasn’t the smartest move. The taxi was only $2 USD, so well worth it.
When we arrived we immediately met our guides, Fico & Korey. Fico is from Costa Rica and has been a guide for 15 years. Korey is from California, is a history teacher and a whitewater rafting guide. They gave us our welcome gift and information for what to expect that day (pretty much that we were on our own). We also got a few welcome gifts, which included a duffle bag that was folded like a small portfolio, money pouch, lanyard and ABD pin (and we received a pin daily afterwards that went with our day’s activities), pens, handwipes and luggage tags. We got our room key and dropped off our carry-on’s then headed across the street to the mall. It was huge! They had all the major stores as well as a lot of designer stores. We first went to a bank to get some Colones ($50=$26,000). This was a different experience—the line in the banks was like going to a DMV in the US! The lobby was packed and it looked like you might take a number. I think everyone waits for Saturday to hit the banks, although the upcoming week of Easter might also meant a holiday for a lot of people as well. Costa Rica is mostly Catholic and this is one of the biggest holidays for the entire country. After lunch in the food court we went back and explored our hotel. It’s very nice with 3 pools, hot tub and 3 restaurants. The grounds and hotel are beautiful. We had dinner on the patio of the Italian restaurant Alfredo in the hotel then called it a night. We were told to drink a lot of water and Disney provided a large bottle of water in our rooms each night. They sure came in handy, as it was very hot the whole week!
You can see pictures from the trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/themouseforless/albums/72157662447955234