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July 20, 2011
From journal Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
July 28, 2005
The plane does have an interesting history. It was purchased for the Nicaraguan Contas by the U.S. and was being readied in a hangar at the San Jose airport. But when the Iran-Contra scandal broke, the plane never made it to Nicargua and stayed in San Jose. In 2000, the plane was bought and brought piece-by-piece to Manuel Antonio to be reassembled here as a restaurant. Most locals know this place as "Ollie's Folly", for Oliver North's illegal activities in the area.
The bar is inside the plane and the cockpit is still open for viewing. It makes for some fun photos. The bar is very popular and seems to be a local hangout for tourists and locals. There is entertainment some nights, and I understand the bar gets pretty frisky later in the evening.
The main restaurant is in back and built up over the jungle on a patio at treetop level. During the day, you have great views from back here, but during the night, there is not much to see. The restaurant has wooden furniture, celiling fans, and tropical feel to it. At night, you can hear the wildlife just a few feet away.
I had calamari, which was very good. There was a lot of it, and it was cooked just right, although it was just a tad more greasy than I like it. My main course was spaghetti and shrimp. I can't complain about my main course; it was good, just not great. It was pretty plain, but the shrimp was fresh, and the sauce was a little too thick for my taste.
My waiter was not very friendly. He was rather deadpan and seemed to be dragging a bit. He got my order right and got it to me quickly. I don't have a lot to complain about the service, but it was just not what I would call friendly.
This place is more gimmick than substance. The food and service were just average in every sense of the word. El Avion was packed in the middle of the summer, so I guess bringing this plane here in the middle of the jungle was worth the risk. The bird certainly seems to be a draw for tourists who just can't miss this huge aircraft sitting on the side of the road on the way to the beach!
From journal Nature's Gift - Costa Rica