destino costa rica

We’d been planning this trip for 6 months and finally the day had arrived. Our first official international girls’ trip. Destination Costa Rica! After much research and asking advice we decided to go in October. We knew it would be the low season for tourists and on the cusp of the wet season, so there would be great chance of showers. We were okay with that possibility. We were more excited about being one with nature and submerge ourselves with the culture.
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As we landed I had received a text message from United Airlines stating that my luggage would be arriving with a later flight only problem was we weren’t even staying in San Jose for 12 hours. San Jose was merely a pit stop to our ultimate destination of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (PV). My immediate thought was we were going to have to wait until my luggage arrived, when that may be. Then to make the situation even more interesting there was no one tending to the lugged claim desk as it was midnight when we landed and I wouldn’t be able to find out which flight it was on. As the passengers’ luggage was being rolled out on the conveyor belt I started to get disappointed and before I knew it my luggage appeared! I was elated! At that point my entire party had their luggage so we were off to check in our hotel for the night.

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Friday morning we woke up, went to breakfast, and walked around the city of San Jose.  Nothing very special about that city, in my opinion.  Heavy congestion of cars, people passed out on the side-walk, and being hissed and honked at by the men.  The hotel shuttle took us to the San Carlos Bus Terminal so we could make our way to PV.  Before we could even make it to the ticket a counter a taxi driver got my friends’ attention wanting to know where we are going.  As my friends and the driver were talking we gave us an elaborate story of the bus workers on strike and we wouldn’t be able to get a bus out of San Jose until tomorrow afternoon if tickets weren’t sold out.  He, Octavio, told us he would help us out and take us to another terminal.  Meanwhile Octavio already knew when he waved us down from across the street he was going to hustle us.  Octavio had us in his cab, our luggage strapped in and he was ready!

Octavio's cab
Octavio’s cab

He had an elaborate ruse with calling his “contacts” and showing us a Spanish website that shows laborers on strike adding to the big production he was presenting us.  One of my travel buddies kept answering what seemed like to her innocent questions, you know, creating small talk.  Meanwhile Octavio was using the information he was phishing for to his advantage.  Octavio made us feel like he was our only option to get out of the city.  So, $93 USD later (only $10 of that was for the bus ticket from Guapiles to PV), PER PERSON, a stop at a waterfall in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, and snacks from a pedestrian vendor, we finally made it to our bus terminal.  rainforest in national parkWe had originally planned to arrive in PV at around 3:30pm, but we really did not arrive until about 7:00pm that night.  An entire day was wasted behind a scam artist.  Along the way we met a few backpackers (an Australian couple and an Englishman) that helped us out towards the end, which I’ll forever be grateful.

Our hostess was very gracious and over accommodating, is that even such a thing? Adriana and her family were absolutely wonderfully.  She has two beautiful children, her husband, and mother that live with her the property.  If you ever go to PV in Costa Rica, make sure you stay at Saravaplace.  These quaint bungalows are perfectly priced and equipped with a sitting area, hammocks, dining table with chairs, kitchen, two bedrooms with 3 beds, and a bathroom.  Adriana even helped get my friend migraine medicine as she was too ill to go into town on a bike and retrieve it herself.  Adriana also made herself available to schedule excursions and cab drivers as we did not speak enough Spanish in order to do that on our own.

saravaplace
saravaplace
side view of our bungalow
side view of our bungalow
side view of our bungalow (2)
side view of our bungalow (2)
relaxing hammocks
relaxing hammocks
kitchen
kitchen
master bedroom
master bedroom

During our stay we used bicycles as our main mode of transportation as did many locals.  We were able to rent the bicycles from Adriana and her family.  We ventured to Playa Cocles (closest beach to us), Playa Punta Uva, the main strip of PV, and  north of Playa Negra to a rainforest for our Zip Lining/Canopy tour. We would walk the beaches in the morning, go into town for lunch, then let the day get away with us while in town shopping, getting our hair wrapped, or getting to know the locals.

main mode of transportation
playa cocles
playa cocles
me + playa cocles
me + playa cocles
canopy tour with Terraventuras
canopy tour Terraventuras
Jaguar Rescue Center
pacho + little surfer girl

My favorite place to eat was a family owned restaurant called Soda Johanna’s.  The food there is prepared to order and the family/staff were very pleasant, warm, and gracious.  They even put up with our less than mediocre Spanish skills with patience.

shirmp in a garlic sauce at Soda Johanna's
shrimp in a garlic sauce at Soda Johanna’s
dessert at Soda Johanna's
dessert at Soda Johanna’s

I enjoyed being able to indulge in the local fare, people watch, and admire the ocean view.  The colors were so vibrant it was unreal.  The lush and green foliage, crystal blue waters, rolling mountains, and the soulful tunes of reggae.  I definitely plan on going back to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.  I will spend a minimum of 4 days there and try to relax more next time.  I was on the GO! GO! GO! this time and I want to slow down, relax, and bask in the sunlight.

view of San Jose from Radisson Hotel
view of San Jose from Radisson Hotel
playa cocles
playa cocles
playa punta uva
playa punta uva
coconuts + playa cocles
coconuts + playa cocles
view of playa cocles from hot rocks
view of playa cocles from hot rocks

During this trip the girls and I shed tears of laughter and blood; I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.  Thanks for coming along on this little adventure of mine.  I hope you stay tuned for more of my travels in the future.

love always, tiffani

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