Archive for the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

Goodbye, Costa Rica

January 4, 2015 - 5:23 pm No Comments

Caught my plane out of Juan Santamaría International Airport at the crack of dawn.

San Jose from the Air (more…)

One More Day in San Jose

January 1, 2015 - 9:49 pm No Comments

Woke up feeling a bit rough today, with a headache, unsettled stomach, and a desire to do nothing but lay in bed. But I rallied for my city tour of San Jose with a company called Expediciones Tropicales.

Our guide, Alberto, took us around the city in a small bus and told us about the history of coffee magnates, Costa Rica’s best and worst presidents, the abolition of the army, the architecture, pretty much all the things you’d expect to hear on a city tour. To accommodate our mixed group, he seamlessly flitted between English and Spanish.

We drove around in our little bus, stopping a few times to walk around. It was an absolutely perfect day to be outside, with a warm sun, fresh breeze, and happy birds chirping everywhere.

Hemingway Inn (more…)

New Year’s in San Jose: Bullfighting and Fireworks

January 1, 2015 - 11:34 am No Comments

We headed into central San Jose for dinner. Always a weird feeling when you’re with folks for the last time, knowing that you’ll probably never see them again.

The Downtown Bus (more…)

Late Night Karaoke and the Bus Back to San Jose

December 31, 2014 - 5:33 pm 1 Comment

Last night, we headed into Quepos for dinner. The meal was decent, but the town is sketchy as hell. Aside from the odd restaurant or convenience store being open, the town is dark and silent. Drug addicts and dead or very sleepy dogs lay on steps next the bus station. I definitely don’t want to stick around here for New Year’s. Might as well head back to San Jose with the rest of the group this afternoon and hope for the best.

After returning to our resort hotel, we popped into the bar for karaoke night. Marie and Chedine (sheh-deen) blew away everyone away with their rousing rendition of “Zombie”. I hit everyone with the 1-2 punch of “I’m Too Sexy” and “The Girl from Ipanema”.

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Manuel Antonio: Howling Monkeys and a Hot Sun

December 30, 2014 - 3:56 pm 1 Comment

A long drive out of the mountains, past fishing towns and industrial ports, and a stop at a bridge over a family of crocodiles. Marie rubbed her pregnant belly like a Buddha for pretty much the whole trip.

Cordillera de Guanacaste (more…)

The Cloud Forest and Ziplines of Monteverde

December 29, 2014 - 1:01 am 1 Comment

Our morning consisted of a boat ride across the artificial and somewhat scenic Lake Arenal, a natural lake that was greatly expanded by a 1979 hydroelectric project of the Costa Rican government.

On Lake Arenal (more…)

Caño Negro and American Lingo

December 27, 2014 - 12:37 am No Comments

Another early morning. A few of us joined another group of tourists for the bus ride out to Caño Negro. Our guide for the day, this one also named Jorge, picked us up and did his best to coax some enthusiasm out of a sleepy group of tourists that don’t know each other. I hate being forced to be cheerful at 7am.

Sleepy Cat (more…)

Christmas in La Fortuna

December 26, 2014 - 1:41 am 3 Comments

This morning, a young Moroccan girl from Montreal joined the group. She says that she narrowly avoided disaster when the ticket agent at the airport wished her a good time in California and she realized that she had booked a flight to the wrong San Jose. That must happen a lot. A pregnant German woman also joined our trip. The third person, a German guy, never showed up.

Jorge told us what to expect for the rest of the day and gave us more options for the next few days.

Jorge Talks to the Group (more…)

San Jose on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014 - 9:45 pm No Comments

I didn’t go to sleep last night, so getting up for my early flight was not an issue.

DCA at Dawn (more…)

Costa Rica: The Next Adventure

December 23, 2014 - 11:55 pm 2 Comments

Doing something exciting for New Year’s or taking a few weeks off for a trip during the summer used to be an annual tradition for me, but for reasons personal and professional, it’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere. And it’s been bothering me.

Right now, my biggest issue is a lack of vacation time. American businesses generally offer their employees two or three weeks of vacation time, sometimes including sick time in that total. Unfortunately, after the inevitable weddings and funerals and sinus infections, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for us to take any real trips.

At least compared to other countries, American standards of vacation time are pathetic. Brazil and over a dozen European countries offer over a month of vacation each year. That’s the way to do it. When I told Kirtan, an English guy I met on a group trip a few years ago, that I was considering another group trip, he said, “I’ve actually done about 12 group trips since 2009.” Lucky guy.

tmg-slideshow_xxl (more…)