South America 2016: Hola, Costa Rica!

28 June 2016
San Jose and Monteverde, Costa Rica

Hola, amigos y familia! We are traveling again, which means more blogging :) I'm going to keep it simple this time, but want to make sure we have a record of this summer's adventures to South America. And, if I really have my act together (and it doesn't annoy Rick to have me constantly asking), I'll throw in some details about our travel logistics, too :)

Rick has been in Costa Rica since June 22nd--he wasn't about to wait around for me at home while I was at Kappa conventin, so he came down for surf camp for a few days. Sounds like he had a blast!

I flew to San Jose on Monday the 27th. The surf camp people brought Rick back up to San Jose, and he was waiting for me at a Hampton Inn by the airport. It was great to see him!

Tuesday morning, we picked up our rental car, and it was off to Monteverde.

I am so lucky to have a personal driver and DJ everywhere I go in the world! 

It's hard to really gauge how far things are in Costa Rica--the roadways/infrastructure aren't great, and there can be a lot of traffic. It took us about 3 hours to get to up Monteverde, but the drive wasn't bad at all. The last 12 miles were dirt road though, which was an adventure in and of itself!

Lots of beautiful scenery as we climbed up the hills. 

A unique hazard in the road--a herd of cows crossing! We were fascinated by all of the cows we saw. They are skinny cows! Not the overfed, fat kind you see in the US. 

Once we reached Monteverde, we stopped off for a light lunch at Choco Cafe--a veggie quesadilla, an arugula salad, a latte, and this amazing homemade lemonade with mint. Delicioso! After eating, it was time to check in at our Airbnb, Casa Batsu. 

Casa Batsu is an actual b&b, which happens to list itself on Airbnb. Carlos and his wife Paola run the property and are amazingly friendly and helpful. After getting settled, Carlos helped us set off on a walk around their farm and property. Rick and I were accompanied by two little dogs who hiked with us the whole time. 

The farm is home to a coffee plantation, banana farm, and horses. It was so much fun to explore. 

After our walk, we got ready to head into town for our night walk tour. These excursions are very common in the area, taking groups into the cloud forest to experience the wildlife. Our guide said something very poignant as we got started--he pointed out that this was not a zoo, it is Mother Nature. Whatever we were going to see, it would be a blessing. 

We headed in to the forest with our group. We were able to see frogs, beetles, caterpillars, lightening bugs, and (lucky for us), two snakes. The green snake we saw is the most poisonous in Monteverde--if you were bitten, you'd have only about 4 hours to get to a hospital to be treated. 

We also this frog fellow, whom I think was a poison dart frog? No matter what he was, he was super cool.

The highlights of the night tour for me were the bio-luminescent mushrooms we saw glowing in the dark and the 5 minutes where we stood in the pitch black watching the fireflies. In all, it was a fantastic tour--we definitely recommend it!

And now for the logisitics: Rick and I both flew Southwest to San Jose, connecting through Houston. No Companion Pass on this trip, since we flew separately. Our Airbnb was half off, due to an AmEx deal Rick found (spend $100, get $50 back on each AmEx CC). That's the fairly simple breakdown!

More to come in the next few days! 


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