Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica – 9:15PM MDT Oct 12th Our US Airway flights were all on time, we landed in San Jose, C.R. around 2pm Saturday, cruised through customs and obtained our baggage very quickly. Mom & Dad already had arrived the evening before and were slated to pick us up at the airport in our rental car. While standing in baggage claim, out of the corner of my eye I could see my moms face jumping up and down outside the main airport windows. She was holding a sign that read, ‘GORDON’ – too cute.
We hugged, greeted one another and ran to the car! And this is where our Costa Rican adventure officially began. With Flash in the driver seat and Mel ready to navigate, we found that one hour later we were still lost in San Jose (aka Tijuana) driving around and looking patiently for highway 32. A quick pit stop at the gas station for some directions (yes, Flash actually pulled over and asked the non-english speaking workers how to get to Limon) and we were on our way. It’s important to note at this point in the trip we were already pretending we were competing in the ‘Amazing Race’ and in 8th place (bordering on last place) that it was an elimination round.
Four long hours later, 2 of which were driven in the dark on one lane highways stuck behind semi-trucks. Things we are still processing:
- Most semi-trucks and locals drive with no headlights
- There are no sidewalks for pedestrians or cyclists which pushes everyone into the highway, we came very close to hitting a couple people
- That passing on a one lane highway when it says NO PASSING is ok
- There is what we would consider a significant trash problem in this part of the world. Piles of trash that looks like weeks of trash men on strike.
- Expect things like bad roads, lack of signs and crazy drivers
Below is word-for-word the rest of the directions to our destination, a very Jurassic Park experience:
After about 1 hour of driving, you will come to the little town of Hone Creek. At that point you’re about 5 kilometers from the turn off to Banana Azul and Casa Sol y Arena. You will drive past a hardware store called San Francisco. A few hundred meters past the hardware store is a bus stop with a roof on it. At the bus stop take a left and follow along beach. 5 houses down along beach is Casa Sol y Arena.
And to get to Banana Azul you just proceed past Casa Sol y Arena along beach until you come to Perla Negra Hotel. Banana Azul is 200 meters past Perla Negra Hotel and has a green gate.
Now, remember we were following these directions in the pitch black dark without the benefit of street lights.
Arriving at Banana Azul
We were in complete awe at the fact that we were literally in the middle of the jungle. We pulled up to our hotel gate, no radio and windows rolled down. You could hear a combination of the end of a tropical thunderstorm, the waves and the loudest bugs/crickets we’ve ever heard.
We strolled up to the open air common area and checked in. Nina checked us in and took us up to our rooms. The 12 room hotel is newly built, all wood and very open and airy – almost a hostel like feel. Our room has large doors out to our massive patios with our table, chairs, relaxing chair and hammock. From our bed with the doors open you can hear the distinct sound of calm ocean waves lapping against the shore. Then Nina said a magical phrase that was music to our ears – “When you’re ready head down to the bar for your welcome drink.”
Clothes flew out of our bags, showers were quickly taken and in no time we were downstairs enjoying freshly made Mojitos and Margaritas. Dinner was vegetarian lasagna enjoyed with a few cold Imperial beers and then it was back up to the rooms to succumb to the onrushing exhaustion.
Everybody was up early Sunday morning; some could say it was because of excitement but I’m going to blame it on the roosters. We walked downstairs, grabbed a big mug of coffee and started to explore the property for the first time in the light. We are on the beach. Not like “beach access.” On the beach. After sitting and staring at the water and the long expanse of deserted beach stretching in both directions we headed to the kitchen to enjoy our complementary breakfast of fresh fruit and cereal.
More about our Sunday adventures next time, we’re tired!