After our Sunday afternoon jeep-boat-jeep ride from Santa Elena, Iris and I were dropped off at our hostel, Mayol Lodge in Costa Rica.
It wasn’t on the main strip, so I was hoping to get a better night sleep than I did in Santa Elena. There was no AC again, but at least there was a fan, and we got upgraded to a bigger room again. The beds were a lot better too! We settled in and then grabbed our free welcome drink. I’m not sure what was in it, but I think maybe vodka and watermelon juice?
We had given one of the Italians from our boat ride our phone number and facebook so we could meet up later. He messaged us and invited us to go out to eat with them.
We went to a large restaurant called La Cascada. It was Iris and I, the three Italians, two girls they had met from earlier and then a Canadian guy who they had just met, who seemed a little shy.
They had everything on their menu, Italian, seafood, Spanish, American, you name it! Iris and I hadn’t really splurged on a meal yet, so this was it! I got a large plate of spaghetti carbonara and we shared a bottle of wine.
Towards the end of dinner, it started to rain. We decided to still try and go to a local Tico bar called El Establo, even though it was a bit of a hike. Halfway through our walk, we noticed the Canadian wasn’t with us any more! Maybe he was scared of the rain… or us. Probably us. Oh well.
When we walked in, it was empty. Iris and I each ordered a whiskey and ginger ale and it was $19! Yikes!! We told the guys we were with and they laughed. Apparently they had already made friends with another bartender who was giving them rum and cokes for $3. So, we switched over to the $3 drinks.
We were hoping they were going to play some local music, but it was mostly just American top 40 hits. We danced a little, but it was getting late and the rain wasn’t letting up. One of the Italians walked Iris and I back home.
Monday morning we woke up early to get our free breakfast. It wasn’t as good as the one we had the day before, but we will take what we can get! Plus, this place didn’t have a kitchen for us to use, so our options were limited.
Then we set out to go to a place with thermal pools, since we didn’t have enough time to go all the way to a natural hot spring because we had to catch an afternoon bus back to San Jose.
We grabbed a cab, and the driver was really nice. On a clear morning, you can get a full view of the Arenal Volcano
He showed us what the locals call “the sleeping Indian”. You can see an Indian’s face, and his belly made out of the mountains/volcano.
Then he dropped us off at a resort called Baldi. It’s the first one we saw on our drive in from our jeep-boat-jeep ride.
It had 25 thermal pools, a few slides, saunas, swim up bars and a view of the volcano! It was $34, and cocktails were $10.
We spent about 3 hours soaking in all the different pools.
They each got a little hotter as you walked further into the resort, and some had cold baths next to them.
I needed it because my back was really sore after that “jeep” ride!
We tried walking back to our hostel, but there wasn’t any sidewalks, so we grabbed another cab and then walked around town. We found a ‘soda’ which is like our diners, and grabbed some nachos and a frozen blackberry drink.
We had about 15 minutes after lunch to run back to the hostel and catch our bus. I hate being late, so I started to stress out a little. The owner couldn’t find the right key to our room so we could get our bags. Then the maid tried. No luck! I tried not to show that I was stressed, but Iris could tell. Finally, the girls who were staying in our room after us walked in and opened the door for us. They were nice enough to let us change into dry clothes, and then we were on our way to the bus station.
I found a bus that said ‘San Jose Express’. I remember asking the driver if it was direct, and he assured me it was. Apparently, direct means, let’s stop every 10 minutes to pick more people up, and then stop an hour later in Quesada and pick even more people up. We thought that everyone had to get off again, like we did on our trip to Monteverde, so we left our backpacks. We walked around a grabbed a snack, and then I saw a large line of people trying to get on our bus. I freaked out a little. I hopped back in line, hoping no one took our seat. But they did. I looked around for my bag and started to panic. Finally, Iris found it and grabbed it for me, and we found new seats. Crisis averted!
After that stop, we went straight to San Jose. We tried to find our hostel. I found one of our cross roads, so we hopped off the bus early so we wouldn’t have to walk far.
We found our second cross road, but not our hostel. It started to rain a little, so we stopped and asked a local if she could help us. She seemed just as confused as we did!
She went up to some other locals that she knew, and they were also confused. Finally, one of them called and asked the hostel where they were located. Apparently, there was another intersection with the same street names but across town! One of the guys offered to take us there. We got pretty close, but got out and asked some other people. They pointed us in the opposite direction, but then I showed them the name of a church that it was supposed to be near, and we finally found it! We gave our new friend $10 for taking us there, and for not murdering us.
The hostel (Costa Rica Backpackers) was not a great as the reviews I read, but it was large and really easy to meet people. We cracked open a bottle of wine and hopped in a hammock to celebrate the end of our trip in Costa Rica!
Tuesday morning at 5am, our shuttle came and got us from the hostel and took us to the airport. My flight was at 730am, but Iris’ wasn’t until much later.
She wanted a coffee, but I wanted to go back to sleep once I was on my plane, so I grabbed a beer. Iris wanted to pay for my drink and hers, but the cashier understood that we each wanted a beer and one coffee. So we paid, not knowing, and she handed us two beers. We don’t like to be difficult, so I drank both beers 🙂 It did the trick! I had a great flight to Panama because of it!