16.01.2008 - 17.01.2008 90 °F
Jan 16th - So on our last day, we headed out back toward San Jose. I was consulting the map and the Lonely Planet book in search of cool stops. We found a couple. LP says of Villa Caletas " If you have your own wheels, it's worth stopping in for a quick drink....arguably one of the most spectacular hotels in all of Costa Rica."
Well, it was on our way and that piqued our interest, so after driving past the entrance we turned around and made the slow journey in.
Described by LP "Since it's perched on a dramatic hillside, you'll first have to navigate a 1KM long serpentine driveway adorned with cacti and Victorian lanterns. The drive will be worth is as upon entering the property, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Pacific coastline."
When we got there, we went to their amphitheater restaurant there as LP suggested and got a table and sat down to take in the amazing view. We ordered french-inspired breakfasts and a passion fruit smoothie that was divine. Everything was top of the line at this place. I actually felt a bit out of place: I tried to put on a cute top, but it was difficult hiding my dirty shorts and mud-covered hiking boots. I thought I did a good job staying under the radar, until a young woman stared at my shoes, and the jig was up!
Apparently a wealthy young American couple was getting married there, so slowly all their friends filtered in as they arrived at the resort. It became very loud, so we quietly left after our meals and wandered around a tiny bit. I took video.
There was a tremendous iguana and the staff put him into a trap so as not to disturb the socializing yuppies there. I didn't mind him and approached the waiter to ensure they didn't hurt him, but they didn't. Steve and I seemed to be the only ones to notice little guy. In fact, we saw him walking around when we explored the resort later. It was a magnificent place. They even had an air conditioned gym enclosed in glass so you can see flora of the rain forest as you work out. This was as foreign to our experience in Heredia and Ostional as you could possibly get.
So we got back on the road. Our next stop would be a waterfall and botanical gardens.
We decided not to hike to this waterfall as we wanted one day of relaxation, but we did end up doing some light hiking on their rain forest trails (Faerie Falls Trail). it was hot and humid and we were tired, but it was beautiful rain forest there. It was a little brighter then the forest in Manuel Antonio- maybe this was a newer forest? Anyway, we saw the big waterfall from a distance, got acquainted with a few parrots and then checked out their botanical gardens, which is something I always like to do. We saw so many exotic flowers and colors.
We were hoping to make it to Snake World, which LP said was a legit place trying to help snakes. Little did we know that the "Main" route to San Jose would consist of windy roads up and down mountains. Steve couldn't get the truck out of 1st gear, we were going so slowly. Here is a view from the ride:
Needless to say, Snake World didn't work out, by the time we got to Garrita. So we went back to the B&B in Cariari and Laurie suggested a Peruvian restaurant nearby. We never had Peruvian food and the owners are from Peru, so it would be authentic. It was a delight! The ambiance was cool inside, with ancient pottery and stuff around. A bunch of American businesspeople had a large table inside. We got amazing food. I will definitely be eating more Peruvian stuff. I can't explain what it was, but it was good. I had a suspiro for dessert (a traditional Peruvian dessert, like a sugary, custardy parfait, and heavy) and Steve had ice cream over chocolate nougat for dessert. The entrees were like 10-11 bucks each! Those are diner prices here.
In the morning, we relaxed before heading to Alamo to drop off the car. We drove through a very sketchy neighborhood to get to Alamo. All of the inhabitants surrounded their homes in bars to protect themselves. Can you imagine caging yourself in like that? It must be a very difficult life.
Still, Costa Rica is paradise. Even the airport is decorated like forest. People who go there generally enjoy nature and that is what they are visiting - the open-air museums of flora and fauna. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, so it was cool to see all the colors there, and the smells and the sounds. Everything seemed to work out for us on the trip, usually we have a few more glitches, but this ran pretty smoothly. The hardest part is always leaving the girls behind. We always run through the front door in search of them when we come home.
What is cool about our travels is that we always meet people along the way - people from all over the world and have made friends on our journeys - friends who have experienced the same unique adventure we have and that binds us together in a way. It's a cool gift to take home from each place.
We learned a lot on this trip; about nature, about other cultures and about where we fit in the whole thing. Each of our international journeys have been agents of self-discovery. I highly recommend traveling to you for these reasons. Thanks for following along!