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Traveling Home

Day seventeen, Mick and I said goodbye to our friends at the Aussie Hut: John and Roxie, Ian and V, and Jake and Natalie.

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The Aussie couple who owned the place, Charlie and Paul, called us a taxi.

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I took one last moment in the hammock before we had to go.

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Mick had an appointment back in San Juan del Sur for a tattoo. We were late but time seems to be not a big deal down there.

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We stayed the night in San Juan del Sur and headed back to the border in the morning.

Day eighteen, we grabbed a cab at 6 a.m. and had to exchange some change at the border for the exit tax. Once on the bus, we went through several police passport checks at the bus stops.

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We knew we were in Costa Rica when the landscape changed back to blankets of green.

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We arrived in San Jose around 3 p.m., just in time for check in.

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It was raining, so we needed our raincoats to walk to the cafe where we had dinner. Mick had the best pinto he had tasted during our stay and I couldn’t help but order a chocolate milkshake even though I was cold from the rain.

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That night we slept well.

Day nineteen, I almost didn’t want to go to the airport. When our taxi driver asked us how was our trip, Mick and I responded in unison: “Amazing!”

I ordered one last delicious pastery even though my stomach felt a little jumpy.

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Once at the airport, we filled out one last customs form before going to our gate.

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Many thanks to John and Roxie, whose destination wedding made this incredible vacation so memorable!

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Avoiding Crocodiles

Day eleven in Costa Rica, we had breakfast and decided to walk along the beach in Tambor. It had rained the night before, so the water was muddy.

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We walked back to the creek we had passed before. It was wider due to the rain, but looked a lot less intimidating in the daylight.

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We decided not to cross this time because apparently crocodiles like to hunt near the surf where the water is shallow.

Instead we went to Tambor Tropical, the wedding venue, and enjoyed some pina colatas.

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We chatted with some folks who used to live in Michigan but who had bought retirement homes in Costa Rica. They invited the Canadian couple next to us back to their house because the couple was researching buying property in the area. Perhaps future neighbors.

They also told us that the owners of H&B have a second puppy because the first one they owned wandered down to the river after a rain and got eaten by a crocodile!

For dinner we ate where the local Ticos like to eat. Mick enjoyed his meal.

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I had steak and salad.

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I also ate a clove of raw garlic to ward off the mosquitoes. Maybe not the best idea for my stomach.

Our friends who got married are planning to travel to Nicaragua on Saturday, and we have a week left of vacation, so we’ll tag along. We’ll miss H&B Lodge and Restaurant!

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Traveling and the Elderly

Day ten in Costa Rica, Mick and I caught the bus to spend some time with the newlyweds and their family. We accidentally overshot our bus stop while Mick was enjoying a good book.

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We were about to walk back, but a friendly Tico picked us up and allowed us to hitch hike. He dropped us off at his turn, but another car carried us the rest of the way. The kind people who picked us up worked at Barcelo, one of the resorts.

Once there, the security guards at the gate made us call John and Roxie to permit us to enter Los Delfines, the gated community.

John and Roxie were catching up with family members. I had a nice chat with Wilma, Roxie’s grandma, who braved the journey to Costa Rica, even though she was in her eighties.

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Another wedding guest, Don, came all the way from Australia, even though he was 88 years old.

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Pretty remarkable!

When we were finished with the family dinner, we scoped out the wildlife area on our way to the bus stop. A flock of white birds was gathered in a tree.

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By sunset, we could see Macaws traveling in pairs.

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Fireflies glinted as we waited for our bus, but it was getting late so John ended up giving us a ride. Once back at our hotel, we enjoyed a delicious desert of fried plantains and coconut ice cream.

Then it started to rain, so we put on our poncho and rain jacket to see what we could find. We came across this colorful frog.

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We found a few birds whose eyes reflected the light from our head lamps, but mostly the rest of the wildlife was sheltered from the rain, so we headed back for a relaxing evening and fell asleep to the sound of rain on the rooftops.

Rental Cars in Costa Rica

Day nine in Costa Rica, we were tired from a long day of snorkeling the day before, so we hung around the hotel till afternoon and then headed to Cabano for more souvenirs. We stopped at an amazing smelling bakery to buy strawberry pastries.

We filled the rental car with gas at one of the service stations. The gas is not self serve anywhere, so we paid the attendant to fill up the tank. We paid $36 for half a tank of gas by the liter.

We returned the rental car at Budget in Tambor and headed back to the hotel for a nap. At $65 per day, the rental car was by far our most expensive purchase, even more than the room.

On the way back, in the trees across the street we saw our first two monkies. They were about 50 feet up and looked about the size of cats but with longer tails.

Dinner was delicious as always. I ordered casado with fish, rice, beans, salad, corn, and fried plantains.

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You know you’re on vacation when eating and sleeping are on the top of the agenda.

Snorkeling at Tortuga Island

Day eight came, and the group of wedding guest stragglers decided to go snorkeling. There were almost 20 of us, so we loaded into two boats.

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The boat I was on was called the Isabella. The view from the boat of the aquamarine ocean was stunning. We passed some sea turtles making love. They spotted us and dove deeper until they were out of view.

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We anchored at our snorkeling spot and put on our snorkeling masks and flippers. I had never been snorkeling before and quickly found that glasses prevent the snorkeling mask from suctioning. I treaded water and attempted to put my face under water, but each time I got salt water in my eyes and up my nose. The more I bobbed, the more my goggles fogged up. I was able to get a few fleeting glances at the island sand from under water, but it was clear I wasn’t snorkeling right or my equipment was not working properly. I swam back to the boat with a few helpful pushes from Mick to get past the waves. Mick got to see lots of fish and apparently could swim as good as one.

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The group made our way back to the boat and we stopped at Tortuga Island for lunch. While we were waiting for our food, a wild boar walked under our picnic table and invited the girls in the group to pet her by alluding cuteness.

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There were pot belly pigs there too but were not such hams for attention.

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We were also introduced to two Macaws, who were also not as friendly and who were more interested in eating fruit.

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The locals served us fresh coconut, which we could eat with a thin layer of the shell, which tasted a little like a almond.

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The group was served a main meal, with our choice of chicken or fish.

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We took a short swim in the ocean before loading back up on the boats. We had another chance for snorkeling more, but I don’t really like putting my head under water and I couldn’t wear contacts or go without glasses, so I enjoyed watching some yellow fish come to the surface when we offered them pineapple and rice.

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Our boat was going too fast for us to see dolphins, but the passengers on the other boat reported seeing one or two.

That evening, after dinner and a nap we drove to Montezuma for another hangout session on the beach. Many of the guests were returning home the next day.

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What a great opportunity to spend time with friends in paradise.

Souvenirs

Day seven, we were tired so we stayed at the hotel till afternoon and then headed out to the nearest town, Cabano. There were bigger supermarkets there, where I bought my first souvenir, ironically made in India.

We found a restaurant where we could order a traditional meal.

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I also ordered a pineapple drink, which was huge.

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After lunch we headed down a winding road to Montezuma, a tourist draw. There we found souvenirs made actually in Costa Rica.

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For dinner we decided to try out the place across the street from our hotel.

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A satisfying end to a relaxing day.

John and Roxie’s Wedding

Day six came with the arrival of the event that brought us to Costa Rica: John and Roxie’s wedding. We drove to the venue, Tambor Tropical.

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We were early enough to watch some of the set up.

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Despite some rain clouds rolling in, the ceremony turned out wonderful.

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Immediately after the ceremony, it began to rain, which is supposed to be good luck.

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The reception dinner was moved indoors but everyone was cool and relaxed.

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A three tiered cake was not possible despite plans, but cream puffs and custard tasted equally as good.

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A good time was had by all.

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What a beautiful destination wedding!

Rehearsal Dinner

Day five, we slept in and had a leisurely breakfast of eggs and rice.

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We decided that one nighttime adventure walking along the beach was enough, so we rented a car for a few days. The guy spoke really good English and told us where we could get the best views of the sunset.

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We drove to the rehearsal dinner and had pizza while we mingled with the guests.

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The bride and groom to be looked happy and relaxed.

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We headed home early for a good night’s sleep before the wedding day.

Party Time in Costa Rica

Just when I was thinking we would experience no conflict during our Costa Rica trip, day four came. The bachelorette party was scheduled to happen at noon at a local spa, but once all the girls arrived at the spa and ordered 20 pedicures, the staff told us we would have to wait four hours, despite having made reservations 3 weeks in advance. The bride was not pleased, so we ended up canceling most of our services and toured the resort instead. We found a peacock just hanging out on the lawn.

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Next we encountered parrots in cages.

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After the spa, we went back to a resort where some of the wedding party was staying and hung out on the beach.

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By evening, we could see storm clouds rolling in.

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And sure enough, by the time that the party was at its peak, buckets of rain were coming down. I had gotten an email from my mom that my dad had a high fever, so I was getting worried and wanted to go back to our hotel, but it was impossible to get a cab. We decided to walk back along the beach, but by nightfall, a walk along the beach turned out to be the first of the adventures of Jungle Gina.

Mick and I had headlamps, but it was high tide, and we knew there was a creek that flowed into the ocean ahead. We had passed it that morning during daylight, but at nighttime, it presented new dangers. I was about to head back and walk along the road, which would have been twice as long, but Mick and I ran into some quicksand. We managed to escape and walked towards the waves, where the water seemed more shallow. We took off our flip flops and crossed at a slow shuffle until the water reached waist height. I almost lost a flip flop, but luckily it resurfaced in the sand. I’m the luckiest girl in the world when it comes to lost things.

We made it back to our hotel safely but learned the next day that the creek we crossed had crocodiles in it!

Tambor Beach

Day three in Costa Rica, Mick and I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast at our hotel and then headed to the beach on foot. It was hot, but overcast, so the walk was pretty enjoyable. We encountered a huge ant nest on the way.

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The local flowers are absolutely stunning.

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Once we arrived at the beach, I was surprised how warm the water felt. It’s the same Pacific Ocean we know, but the water was so much warmer thanĀ  what we were accustomed to in California. Besides one other person, we had the beach to ourselves.

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We walked until we happened upon a resort, the quintessential paradise. Grass huts and everything.

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There’s mostly American food on the menu at our hotel, so we had hamburgers for dinner.

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We were the only ones at the lodge, so we had a peaceful evening.

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