Written by lashr1999 on 23 Apr, 2006
The only negative experience I had in Costa Rica would have to be at Budget rent a car in San Jose. I should have known things would go wrong when they did not have the automatic 4x4 which I reserved on the Internet. My friend…Read More
The only negative experience I had in Costa Rica would have to be at Budget rent a car in San Jose. I should have known things would go wrong when they did not have the automatic 4x4 which I reserved on the Internet. My friend had to drive since I was not familiar with stick shift.The car worked fine for awhile then in the Arenal area the battery stopped working. We would have been stranded in the area if some helpful people in the area did not give us a jump start. A different car rental (not Budget) agency which was close by was kind enough to loan us some jumper cables to use.At the end we turned in the car early since we had an early flight. We asked for a credit for the partial day, they said they would credit us but then said they couldn’t do it. They then offered to provide us instead with free transport to our hostel for the night. Then later, after all the charges were made and everything was signed, they stated they couldn’t take us to the hostel in the San Jose area since it was too far...One final problem was the tank was half full but they charged us for a full tank of gas. To top it off, I think they charged U.S. gas prices as the local gas prices are four times less.Bottom line-Use someone else to rent a car from. Also always get insurance when you drive in this area, since the roads can be dangerous because of pot holes and rain.
Written by szaboa on 10 Apr, 2005
The first half of our trip was an all-inclusive package. We chose that since we wanted to go to Tortuguero, which is only accessible by boat or plane. It took a couple-hour boat ride to get to our resort - but you get…Read More
The first half of our trip was an all-inclusive package. We chose that since we wanted to go to Tortuguero, which is only accessible by boat or plane. It took a couple-hour boat ride to get to our resort - but you get to see a glimpse of how people live in the area. Tortuguero is in the rain forest, with monkeys right in the resort. It has amazing bio-diversity. You go on boat tours to spot the various wildlife, which is very abundant, and during the right season, you would be able to see the green sea turtle nest on the beach.
The second part of the package was Arenal Volcano - which can easily be done on your own. Arenal is an active volcano with Tabacon Hotsprings at the base. The hotsprings are a must-see. It's quite expensive but well worth it. It is a spectacular landscaping and setting. Apparently, across the road from the commercial hotspring is a natural hot spring which is much more reasonably priced but much more rustic.
After Arenal, we made our way back to San Jose - rented a car and headed out to Tamarindo. This is nice little town which will be the next hot spot. When we were there, a new large resort was being built, with a few more planned. It has a spectacular beach with hardly any people - it is a great place to go and eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There is small grocery store where you can purchase the items for your picnic. We kayaked out to the small island and had a guide with us to go snorkelling. It was a great experience, with him finding all kinds of neat things for us to touch and hold (blow fish, starfish, and a sea cucumber). We also had the opporunity to see a leatherback turtle nest. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which I would highly recommend - just remember that they are wild animals, and they are not posing there for you.
After Tamarindo, we headed to Poas Volcano - there is very little to no accommodations in the area, so plan your trip accordingly. The volcano is often clouded over, so pick your day carefully. In the area, we also went to Lapaz waterfall garden - they also have a butterfly garden, which was impressive to see. The last stop was Cafe Britt. They have a very informative tour and friendly staff - my only recommendation would be to buy your coffee in the grocery store, since it is significantly cheaper.
Costa Rica is a very ecologically diverse country, from rain forest to mountains to desert. It is a country that you can easily negotiate yourself, with very friendly people.
Written by SFPhotocraft on 13 Sep, 2005
There are three main choices from getting from San Jose International Airport and Manuel Antonio. The first is by bus; there are several bus companies that make this run. It's inexpensive but takes a long time. I wasn't up for spending my valuable…Read More
There are three main choices from getting from San Jose International Airport and Manuel Antonio. The first is by bus; there are several bus companies that make this run. It's inexpensive but takes a long time. I wasn't up for spending my valuable travel time on a bus. The next option is to fly. There are several small commuter airlines who fly the San Jose to Quepos (the airport nearest the national park). These flights are the quickest and easiest way, but this was rainy season, and I didn't feel up to flying a small prop plane in the height of a summer thunderstorm. So I opted for the third choice, and that was to drive.
I can proudly say I have driven all over the world, in many major cities and remote parts of the globe, so I was confident I could easily handle the roads of Costa Rica.
I had taken an all night flight from LAX to San Jose and I was a little on the punchy side by the time we landed in the morning. I first off urge anyone taking the all-nighters NOT to do as I did. The drive takes your full attention and being alert. If I ever did the all-nighter again, I would make sure I was very rested, and I would get a room in San Jose before I made the perilous drive to Manuel Antonio.
I was surprised as I went into the Avis lot to pick up my car. The bus had to drive through a huge iron gate with an armed guard allowing us in. The entire lot was surrounded by massive barbed wire. It was a little daunting. The agent gave me a verbal and written warning on numerous scams taking place on the highway. He warned us to always get to a gas station with a flat, or if anyone hits you, not to pull over but head to a police station instead. Some of the robbers throw nails or glass on the road in hopes you will pull over to change your tire or even pour sugar in a not-watched car at a filling station. Again, it made one a little anxious to hear so many warnings and scams. But soon, I was on my way with the warnings seared into my brain.
Just getting out of San Jose was a challenge. You share the highway with vendors, dogs, horses, ox carts, and just folks on foot. The ticos did not slow down a bit. I felt nervous being on this fast-moving obstacle course. I have to admit, I saw numerous dead dogs who did not fare so well.
Soon, I was out of the city and learned that not all roads are well- or clearly marked. Even those with signs don't give you advance notice. The first time you will see a sign is when you are at the place you need to turn. I learned I had better keep a sharp eye and watch what looked like a sign up ahead. It would have helped to have a navigator on this drive!
Soon you are beyond the city limits and the road goes through some magnificent country side. You start climbing the steep hills, and down below, you can see the green, green rain forest. Rapid rivers and streams poured down the hills below me. It was so scenic, it was hard not to take my eyes off the road to just gaze. Unfortunately, these roads are narrow and curvy, and there is no place to pull over and just soak in the view.
The traffic is bad and the road often gets clogged behind large trucks hauling everything from lumber to oil up this mountain road, and at times the traffic barely inches along. The "ticos" take unbelievable chances on these roads. They will pass anywhere. I have seen cars charging around blind curves, passing a truck. They go well beyond the speed limit and fly around the mountain curves. It made my heart skip a beat more than a few times, watching these daredevils pass. A few times, I too had to pass a truck that was barely moving, but I tried to keep it in areas where I could see a few miles down the road for other cars. This part of the road takes a lot of concentration and a lot of skill.
One of the must-stops enroute is Crocodile Bridge. You can't miss it. It's a large bridge that has cars parked by the dozens on both sides. You too should park on either side and walk on the footpath on this bridge. Look down, and you will see what all the fuss is about. Below you are dozens of crocodiles just basking in the sun. Actually, the merchants on both sides of the bridge keep these crocs well feed. It's good for business, as when you stop your car to observe, you may end up buying a Coca-Cola or even lunch. It's a win-win deal for the crocs and the merchants. I stopped and was amazed at these fat and happy crocs; there were at least twenty of them, and I was thankful they were far below while I had the safety of the bridge!
Soon the hills start to flatten out and you come to the beach town of Jaco. Jaco is surf-central, and the town has the same buzz as on of the surf towns in California. It's full of young men and woman with blonde hair and dark tans. The city has tons of surf shops. The local traffic is more Californian than Costa Rican. You will hear awesome, dude and very little Spanish on the streets. Like any surf town, Jaco is filled with fun bars, cafes, and restaurants. This is about halfway to Manuel Antonio and a great lunch stop. I ate here on my way back and it was great to watch the surfers master some awesome waves.
When I got back on the road, I no longer had to worry about ox carts, but skateboarders. The highway was clogged with young guys, all challenging the cars with their skateboards.
From Jaco, the road flattens out. It looks like on the map this should be an interesting drive as the road hugs the coastline. However, you are just far enough away from the coast that you don't see it. Every once in a while you get a treat an a small peek at the ocean, but mostly you see the farm land. Here the rain forest has been cut away for farms. This used to be the biggest banana growing region in Central America, but a disease wiped all the banana plantations away. Today they grow coconut oil here. You will get behind large trucks hauling hundreds of coconuts to the refinerary down the road. This area is not scenic and very uninteresting. Many large vacation home developments have also marred the landscape here.
Coming near Quepos, you will cross several bridges that look more like something from the set of Indian Jones. They are rusty, missing most of their wooden boards, and you can't imagine safely crossing them. But you must--this is the only way to get to Quepos. I bit my lip and pressed on. The vehicle ahead of me was a large truck--it made it, and so did I. I had to stop and take a photo of one of these bridges, they were really in bad shape!
Soon, you have made it to Quepos, and from here, Manuel Antonio is just up the hill. It took me about four hours without any stops, and I was exhausted.
On the way home, I was pulled over by a policeman near Jaco. I was going 88km (54mph) in a 80km (49mph) zone (although a lot of traffic was passing me). The officer told me the fine would be $40 and was to be paid in cash to him. He did not write me a receipt or a written ticket. But what was I to do? I had a flight to catch. So I gave him two twenties and was on my way. When I got back to Avis, the agent confirmed this was a scam. He told me often local cops will clock speeders and let the Costa Ricans off with a warning and a wink. The tourists are asked to pay a fine on the spot that goes right into the officer's pocket. The agent told me I was lucky--he has often heard of fines of $100 or more.
I was happy I drove the route. I saw some sights that I would not see by air. The countryside here is breathtaking. My only warning is to stay alert and be well rested before taking the four-hour drive through Costa Rica. You will need all your senses!
Written by JungleKat on 18 Aug, 2002
Monteverde offers so many options today that there is something for everyone, still, it is a lazy town. People used to come here and stay an average of 2 full days, but now, with so many new interesting walks, hikes and radical sports activities,…Read More
Monteverde offers so many options today that there is something for everyone, still, it is a lazy town. People used to come here and stay an average of 2 full days, but now, with so many new interesting walks, hikes and radical sports activities, two days is not enough to get a real taste of the town. A three to four day trip would be nice to get the full spectrum of what Monteverde really is, including the lifestyle of its permanent residents.
For those not having private transport once here, there is a public bus that runs twice per day and a taxi service that will take you even to San Jose if the need arrises. The Taxi services starts around 7 am and stops during the week days at 10PM. Friday and Saturday until 11PM. It costs about $3.00 to travel around town to the hotels, restaurants, guided tours and night life disco and pubs.
THE RESERVES: MONTEVERDE, SANTA ELENA, CHILDREN'S FOREST
In any of the reserves, you pay an entrance fee of $8.00 and walk by yourself or hire a guide for another $15.00. The guide will explain to you all the different ecosystems and species you encounter on your walk.
Apart from the reserves there are several other nature adventure offers:
Monteverde Canopy Tour: Zip lines through a private reserve from tree canopy to the next. Basically you get into a safety harness and then they hook you up into high tension wires that take you from point A to point B, some lines being faster and longer than others. It's really fun and beautiful.The tour costs $35 and it takes about 4 hours, you must reserve in advance. They will pick you up at your hotel also.
Sky Trek & Sky Walk Tour: Zip lines again, but they do have some that are really fast and long! Also, the Sky Walk is a separate tranquil hike through the forest, crossing over rivers through suspended bridges. Beautiful scenery, birds and maybe a small mammal and if you are lucky, a Quetzal bird or two. Costs about $35 also and they will also pick you up at your hotel. http://www.skywalk.co.cr
Reservations are also needed
San Luis Waterfall Horsebackriding tour. This is a great tour that takes you through two different adjacent towns until you reach a private farm where you leave your horses and walk through secondary forest until you reach the San Luis waterfall. For people not fearing cold water, its a great dip in a nice waterhole... others just sit back and admire while mist moisten their faces. Tour prices vary, since there are a few places that offer it. You can also just drive to the farm and walk to the waterfall for $3.00.
Butterfly Garden: This place is particularly interesting for kids and curious minds. They show you the entire process of the butterfly metammorphosis, plus ant hills, strange instects found in the area and you can even try eating a couple of beatles or two, if you dare! Tour ranges about $15.00 http://mariposa.best.vwh.net/
Orchid Garden: This garden shows off Monteverde's wide range of miniature orchids. You will be delighted and amazed with the incredible facets of nature as they are offered by these tiny jewels of the forest. You may need a magnifying glass sometimes, but its well worth it.
First Annual Monteverde Bike Ride! 30 Kilometers of back roads, dirt, mud, rocks, moderate to hard uphills and great long downhills. Taking place in October 13 of this 2002. The route is designed for Intermediate to Expert level and it promises to be a memorable experience for downhill thrill seakers and people in general with a good thirst for adrenaline. It is a wonderful experience to enjoy the company of hundreds of bikers from Costa Rica and Travelers alike. You can also rent nice mountain bikes at: Jungle Groove MTB Outfitters. They will take you deep into their terrain for a half or full day. $40. You can contact them at www.junglegroovecafe.com
Nightlife in Monteverde is not as slow as it may appear.... Monteverde has several spots to mingle with locals and travelers. For the mellow-ambience seekers, there's the Jungle Groove Cafe who metamorphoses from a groovy restaurant to a mellow lounge with live music weekly. The Tavern is the local hang out, where you can chat with others and dance salsa and cumbia. The Disco La Cascada is the place to dance to salsa and cumbia until 3 am on weekends. A real Monteverde Cultural Experience! :-)
Most of the places mentioned here can be contacted through a very informative web page: www.monteverdeinfo.com where you can also make most of your reservations online.
Written by Ben the Grate on 02 Apr, 2003
I could write a book on this one.
Thanks to years of tourism, it's fairly easy to get to any part of Costa Rica, if you have the right kind of money.
The tourist track is well plied by express buses, and no route in…Read More
I could write a book on this one.
Thanks to years of tourism, it's fairly easy to get to any part of Costa Rica, if you have the right kind of money.
The tourist track is well plied by express buses, and no route in thecountry will cost you more than $20. Most buses leave from the Coca Cola terminal in central San Jose, though buses to the Caribbean cose leave from La Caribe terminal in northern San Jose.
Cabs are a ruinously expensive way to see the country, though they can be cheap and easy to get around San Jose, or in heavily touristed areas like from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. Day trips from San Jose to Tapanti National Park for river trekking (see my other Costa Rica journal!) or to Volcan Poas can be negotiated for about $40-$50, which might be okay if split between a few people.
Renting a car is BY FAR my favorite way to experience Costa Rica. Compared to other Latin American countries, their road system is superb, though do expect to find large deep potholes on all but the nicest roads. Expect annoying tollbooths on the major routes, which cost less than 100 colones (25 cents) to transit. Roads are generally well signed. Traffic can be a nightmare in San Jose, Cartago, and the central area of any village. Night driving should be avoided if possible, as some local cars have no headlights, and most Costa Rican roads are two lanes curving through mountains and it is not uncommon to meet a car coming towards you in YOUR lane around a sharp bend at frighening speed at any time, night or day. Also, night makes it more difficult to see the potholes (more accurately: CRATERS) in the roads that can blow your tire.
Be smart when renting a car. Rent from a major company so you know the car is in good shape. Don't leave valuables inside the car at ANY time. I hide them in the trunk, but the agencies say to take EVERYTHING out of the entire car. Parking security is a problem in many areas, especially San Jose. There are rumors of thieves puncturing tires, then offering assistance to change the tire and subsequently robbing you. And with the crazy way most ticos drive (especially up in the mountains) it initially doesn't seem like a wise idea to rent a car at all.
But NOTHING will give you more freedom to explore than a rental car. It can be surprisingly affordable, as long as you have a large available balance on your credit card. Most rental companies will hold $1,500 on your card (the amount of the deductible should you crash!). Rates are about $200 a week, including all taxes and collision insurance (which is mandatory in Costa Rica).
Gas is available in all major cities and touristed areas, but don't head up into the mountains without gassing up! It will cost you about $20 to fill the tank from empty (price accurate Mar 10, 2003, before Iraq war) and every gas station is full service.
Check your tires regularly, especially if you're driving dirt roads. Most agencies tell you NOT to drive their cars on dirt roads, even if you rent an SUV. However, it's almost impossible to avoid this rule anywhere in Costa Rica.
The main routes to Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio (the two principle hotzones of tourism) are well paved. However, between Jaco and Quepos, parts of the pavement are usually out near the bridges for construction, so BE CAREFUL! Police tend to frequent this road, so make sure to obey the speed limit.
Routes to watch out for are beyond the Lago Arenal dam around the lake towards the Panamerican Highway and Monteverde. Though the road is paved, the abundance of deep potholes makes driving slower than a dirt road. Also watch for snakes and coatamundis (cute little raccoon looking things with anteater noses) that enjoy sitting in the road.
The road from Quepos to Dominical is unpaved and very rough, though negotiable (if dry, and with care) in a sedan. Be CAREFUL of the one-lane bridges every 2 miles. The look like they're about to fall into the rivers below and can be quite hair-razing.
The route on the Pan American highway over Cerro de la Muerzca is the highest paved pass on the Pan American highway. It tops out just under 10,000 feet. Impressive, huh? It twists up into the cloud forest and the windy cold pass is shrouded in mist 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It's a spectacular drive, but do it slow, and DON'T do it at night under ANY circumstances!!! Numerous twisted car carcasses off the road will show you why. It's not called the Pass of Death for no reason.
It's a bad idea to drive to Monteverde. Just bad. All the routes are horrific dirt tracks up sheer mountains and above cliffs. Don't even consider it in a sedan. A 4-WD can make it if you're an experienced off-roader. Otherwise, book a tour or take the bus to Monteverde.
Beyond this frightening advice, I ALWAYS rent a car in Costa Rica, and have never had a wreck or a problem. Just be smart, cautious, and take a few maps!!!
Written by Tropic on 21 May, 2001
A very different world is found here among the large lagoons and slow flowing rivers. This tropical wetland reserve is a popular stopping point for the many migrating birds from the North and the lagoons offer the ideal habitat for caiman, gar and many other…Read More
A very different world is found here among the large lagoons and slow flowing rivers. This tropical wetland reserve is a popular stopping point for the many migrating birds from the North and the lagoons offer the ideal habitat for caiman, gar and many other fish. The wildlife is abundant and can give a visitor the best wetland experience found in our tropics with easy access for ecological tours and light tackle anglers.
For many years, Caño Negro was isolated and a near island in the middle of the water world and marshes that surrounded it. Getting there was only possible by boat and in the dry season, horses and oxcarts supplied some communication. Then a road was build and the area became available to tourists, radically changing the economy and encouraging new eco-hotels and guide operations. The Park Guards exercise a strict control on the use of the Reserve and have an information center to offer tourism assistance and receive the fees charged on a daily basis for visiting the area.
So why do the Tarpon come here? Well, I think for same reasons we do ... this is a place full of interesting hidden spots, mineral rich water with lots of good healthy food, friendship and an ambiance that can certainly be considered Nature's Spa.
Written by Nanah D on 25 Mar, 2004
This is an excellent tour while staying in San Jose. This is close to San Jose and does not require long periods of driving. We started out early, picked up by van and taken to breakfast in mountains. We then travelled to Doka…Read More
This is an excellent tour while staying in San Jose. This is close to San Jose and does not require long periods of driving. We started out early, picked up by van and taken to breakfast in mountains. We then travelled to Doka Coffee Plantation, where we saw the various stages of coffee production and were able to taste the different varieties of coffee. We learned that 90% of the top grade coffee from the Doka Tres Generacions is sold to Starbucks in the U.S. (no wonder their coffee is so good ) We then went to Poas Volcano; another volcano near San Jose, with a large green crater lake and some steam vents in this still active volcano. This volcano last erupted only four years ago but is covered with vegetation that looks like your house plants on steriods. There really are our little houseplants and hot house plants that we baby in our homes to grow maybe a foot tall or so, that grow into trees here.
After the volcano, we had lunch at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens (included in our tour price) and then a tour of the butterfly gardens and then a hike to the waterfalls. This involves getting wet, so you must have raingear and it also involves some climbing of steel stairways around and under different waterfalls. You can opt out of the most strenuous part of the hike if you wish. Otherwise, you will walk along steel walkways and stairs over and under and through a rain forest and five waterfalls along the Trail of Falls. There are nine viewing platforms below and next to the water. The power of these waterfalls into the river gorge below is awesome and I believe, a must see. There is also an excellent handicraft shop here with handcrafted objects from all over Central America.
Written by sirverity on 22 Apr, 2008
Nestled against the base of the ever-active Arenal Volcano is Tabacon Hot Springs, a gorgeous collusion between man and nature where relaxation takes on many forms. While there is a luxury hotel just across the street, you don't need to be a guest to enjoy…Read More
Nestled against the base of the ever-active Arenal Volcano is Tabacon Hot Springs, a gorgeous collusion between man and nature where relaxation takes on many forms. While there is a luxury hotel just across the street, you don't need to be a guest to enjoy the hot springs. For about $35 you're in for the day, free to wander through the lush grounds and hidden pools.There are adeqaute changing facilities for you to change into your most flattering swimsuit and snag yourself a chaise-lounge around the main waterfalls. Across a charming wooden bridge is the in-house spa, where guests can indulge in pricey treatments that I'm told are worth every penny.Though surrounded by gorgeous plants, flowers and trees, the main draw are the pools of naturally heated water courtesy of the giant volcano looming just over your shoulder. Essentially laid out in a chain, each pool is connected by waterfalls and vary in temperatures from lukewarm to somewhere just above pretty-stinking-hot. The further back into the property you go, the greater your chances for privacy and quiet.The property boasts several restaurants and bars including one swim-up one in the main area. Here the pools take more traditional shapes and the large one even has a water slide with a high-accelleration turn before dumping you off. In the far corner, there is another bar/restaurant for those wishing for a little more privacy.As the daylight fades and the colorful heliconia plants fade in the dusk, the entire property glows with discreet lighting that maintain the appearance of paradise you've become accustomed to during the day. The mood created could be described as serenely festive, and the only thing tougher than getting out of the water is having to leave this Eden behind. Close
Written by ripplefan2 on 14 Jun, 2007
If you are in need of a vacation away from the ordinary and into the heart of the extraordinary, Costa Rica is the place for you. With lush landscapes, friendly people and cheap prices, the ambience can’t be beat. In 2005, I headed down to…Read More
If you are in need of a vacation away from the ordinary and into the heart of the extraordinary, Costa Rica is the place for you. With lush landscapes, friendly people and cheap prices, the ambience can’t be beat. In 2005, I headed down to Costa Rica in March for two weeks to visit some friends who were staying there for awhile. And what a place! I flew into San Jose, which is an experience all in its own. With it being the main city of Costa Rica, San Jose’s culture is completely different from the rest of the country. There is more of a business feel that one would experience in a major metropolitan area with a local culture that provides the backbone to the cities structure.
I stayed my first night in a hostel that I would not recommend to others (I can’t remember the name of that place, but it was right across the street from the market in the center of town). Although this place was cheap (about $4 a night) you really had to rough it. The whole place felt like an old warehouse that had plaster walls put up to make "bedrooms." The rooms were cold, the beds uncomfortable and the cockroaches were rampant. A place that I would recommend would be the Costa Rica’s Backpacker’s House in San Jose. This place was made for the active traveler and the prices are still on the cheaper side (about $10 a night). Here they had maps, activity guides, a pool, an outdoor garden, a recreational room, security, and a kitchen. After my first night in San Jose, I felt it was time to leave the bustling city and head to the smaller cities on the west coast. My first stop was to a city called Jaco. Jaco is a surfers paradise on the inlet area of Costa Rica’s western coast. I would not recommend more than a two night stay in Jaco because the town is different. There is a widespread, and open usage of drugs and a lot of transvestite prostitution. It is a fun bar scene for the conversations and the drinks, but not if you are looking for a singles scene.
After going for a dip in the ocean and having a barbecue that my hostel had provided, I left Jaco and headed north to Puntarenas, where I got the ferry across the water and caught a bus down to Montezuma. If you don’t want to take the long ride up to Puntarenas, you can take a speed boat across the water from Jaco to Montezuma for $60 or so. Now talk about a city! This was one place that felt like the Garden of Eden reborn in the lush tropics of Central America. Our residency for the following couple of days was in one of the hostels located at the intersection of the town near the beach (the name eludes me). This place was great at $10 a night for the two of us in a three person room with a private bath room and shower. There was also a balcony that wrapped around the entirety of the building with a bar upstairs. All that this town of Montezuma had to offer was a handful of hostels and hotels, a couple of restaurants, several bars, a library and a plethora of beaches. Our first night in Montezuma was one that was alcohol consumed that we felt reminiscent of a party at Robert Downey Jr.’s house.
At one of the centrally located bars, there was a unique layout with an atmosphere that was even stranger but definitively entertaining. When you first walk into the bar, there is a wrap around bar, then an open dance floor that had a small stage set back, some pool tables, another bar behind the tables and then a group of tables, seats, and tekkie torches placed along the water. On the stage there were two barely dressed girls dancing to reggae tone with hoards of drunken men around them forming a circle of drunken, horny energy that could have lit up a small country. I wish that I could be more descriptive about what our night entailed, but my lack of memory should be proof enough that the night was great. The next day we hiked ourselves over to the nature trails that led to amazing waterfalls. What a better way to help overcome a hangover than to lay in a pool of lukewarm water with the most crisp water falling on your head from hundreds of feet above. This was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had the pleasure to have.
After our dip, we headed back into town to grab some lunch and a drink. All of the restaurants in Montezuma are great and the price can’t be matched. I think that the average meal was about the equivalent of $10 and the plate was more then enough. Unfortunately, we decided that even though it was midday, it was a perfect time to start our night’s worth of drinking. Our hostel was perfectly positioned between the two late night bars, so we hoped between the two all day and well into the evening. At the last part of the evening, as the bars were closing, we found some locals (Tico’s) who were liberating the beer refrigerator upstairs and we helped them out. Then, we loaded our tub with cold water, ice and beer, and wine. Sadly enough, the next day was my last in that town, so I couldn’t finish all of the refreshments. I therefore packed them up and brought them back with me to San Jose. After arriving in San Jose, I stayed at the Costa Rica Backpackers House again and actually ran into a friend of mine. Immediately, we broke into my stash of alcoholic beverages. Having this stash made us instant celebrities among the other travelers. Also, on the way to San Jose, I purchased a hand crafted guitar, so having this and the drinks, we ended up attracting almost everyone there.
We stayed up all evening almost until sunrise playing music, learning Costa Rica songs, drinking wine and whiskey, and laughing. It was an amazing night with people exchanging their war stories from their travels. Several people had been pick pocketed in the surrounding countries or in the northern Costa Rican towns. A lot of people were waiting for the US Embassy to open so they could get their new passports and leave the country. However don’t let these stories scare you, the country is beautiful and each of those people with horror stories could wait to head back to Costa Rica. So, pack your bags and head south for the time of your life. Pura Vida!
Written by journyfly on 30 May, 2007
Upon arriving in Arenal, one can truly see why this city is one to brag about. The major attraction, of course, is the Arenal Volcano, which remains very active to this day. During our stay at the Lavas Tocatal Hotel (http://www.tacotal.com), my husband,…Read More
Upon arriving in Arenal, one can truly see why this city is one to brag about. The major attraction, of course, is the Arenal Volcano, which remains very active to this day. During our stay at the Lavas Tocatal Hotel (http://www.tacotal.com), my husband, sister, brother-in-law, and I enjoyed a night show from the porch of our cabin, in which the mighty volcano rumbled and glowed bright red against the dark sky.As the pool had no water in it, we took a fairly short walk to the hot springs, Baldi Thermae, where we enjoyed cocktails while sitting in the springs. The temperatures range from hot to scalding. One may also enjoy a nap in a hammock, or dancing to the Spanish music. It was very clean for a very decent price (approximately $14).One of our favorite activities was eating the delicious food served everyday at the hotel open-air restaurant. Each morning consisted of beans and rice, eggs, fruit and fresh juices, while the lunch and dinner menu varied a bit more. Lavas Tacotal met every need and was a great budget-friendly start to our Costa Rican experience. We were able to arrange transportation from the hotel to our next destination very easily. The people, like everyone we met, were hospitable and courteous. This place is a must see! Close