Finally! It was time! My fellow non-Spanish-speaking friend and I were off on our Costa Rica adventure to learn about the pure life. Pura Vida!
Our first day was pretty much a travel day since we were going to drive from the airport in San Jose to our first stop, Hotel Escape Caribeno in Puerto Viejo, which according to Google is about almost a 5 hour drive. The reality? More like 7 hours.
BUT! Even with the long drive and heavy traffic, it was a really cool drive once we got out of the city because, you know, it seemed like we were driving through the jungle. No big deal.
I mean, it’s really green here in upstate New York but this was a different kind of green. This was more like a wild, if you stop to pee on the side of the road there may be some hidden creatures type of green. I loved it. But then again, I love drives (especially since I wasn’t driving this time lol).
A few things we learned during this first long drive:
1. People are crazy. What I mean by this is it was pretty common to see cars overtake another car by briefly going to the opposite lane. Now, this in itself isn’t that big of a deal, except that we were on a windy road on the mountain. There were designated stretches on the road where cars are allowed to do this, as indicated by the dotted yellow line, but apparently the locals only take this as a suggestion. Some of them did it during a curve….fortunately we didn’t see any accidents. Well, we did, but only the aftermath.
2. Truck drivers are slooooow. If you get stuck behind one, overtake the truck as soon as you safely can. Unfortunately it must’ve been truck social hour because there were just so many trucks on the road, which is why it took us close to 7 hours to get to our hotel.
3. Cows in Costa Rica run lean. Probably because they are grass-fed. Mmmm…grass-fed cows…Speaking of which, when we saw these cows on the road my friend goes, “You know, if I had a pet cow, I wouldn’t eat it. Unless it died, then I would eat it.” I just picture her eating her pet cow with tears streaming down her eyes going, “I’m so sad my pet cow died! But she tastes delicious!”
4. There aren’t many choices in terms of pitstops so when you see what looks like a shack on the side of the road that has smoke coming out of it, stop there. They have food and damn is it delicious! Seriously though, these random places that they call “Cola” had the best food! You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get but best believe it will be flavorful and nothing like you’ve had before in the US!
We also kept noticing signs and vendor stands for “Mamon.” After about the third stand I saw what it was and told my friend that she had to stop the car!
We actually have the same fruit in the Philippines, only we call it “Rambutan.” This strange looking, red, spikey fruit is actually really delicious, although I imagine people who didn’t grow up with this would probably be a little wary of trying it.
After a long trek, we finally made it to our hotel!
Next up – Chocolate!