The weather was bad in Bocas and it wasn’t going to improve any time soon. A decision had to be made: we stay or we leave. The consensus was to leave. It’s not fun to stay in the hotel all day because of the rain. According to a local there have been several storms since November, this was unusual for this time of the year. Global warming anybody?
At around 6:10am we were on the boat on our way to Almirante (picture shown below)
Our fugacious trip didn’t dishearten us, we saw bocas del toro and we know we’ll have to come back in the near future. Locals mentioned that the best time to visit Bocas is in March-April time frame. I’ll remember that.
We had breakfast at Puerto Viejo; our farewell to the Caribbean was short and sweet, afterwards we charged on to San Jose.
There are a lot of National Parks in Costa Rica, in fact we were told that wood is imported into the country from Nicaragua and Honduras. Ticos have an enviable respect for nature. We drove through the Braulio Carrillo National Park. This is a rain forest, there was a lot of haze, sharp turns, rain and greenery everywhere. In the mountains, the temperature dropped substantially. We enjoyed the respite from the hot temperatures we encountered in the Caribbean.
Throughout Costa Rica we saw “for sale” signs; so many signs that it was like Costa Rica itself was up for sale. My hubby and I have tacitly agreed not to retire in the USA. Subsequently, when we travel we scout for retirement candidates. It’s never too early to think about retirement!! Costa Rica became a strong contestant instantly.
It’s Sunday and downtown San Jose is deserted. I googled a restaurant near our hotel, I uncovered a place called: La Criollita; it had excellent reviews. We tried it and let me tell you it was a succulent dinner. The meat was so tendered, it almost melted in our mouths. Simply delicious.
At the beginning of our trip, I always asked in the restaurants if the juice was real juice and each time the waitress looked at me funny, they probably were thinking: “Can juice be made of anything else other than fruit?”. They don’t know that in the USA for the most part, fruit juices are a revolting concoction of water, sugar and color. At the end, the answer always was: “Of course! The juice is made of fruits. We make it with water or milk”. I realized this was the case across the entire country, so I stopped asking. Costa Rica juices are made with real palatable tropical fruit, and made when you ordered it.
We got up late, and had breakfast at our hotel. It was time to do some retail therapy. Streets in downtown San Jose are closed for traffic; pedestrians can walk and shop around at ease. We spent almost the whole morning walking around. A lot of people live in the suburbs of San Jose, and it seemed like they all come to downtown to buy goodies. You can find anything here: books, clothes, shoes, food, backpacks, etc.
Two street vendors told us that we should go to the Zapote fair. We decided to go, after all it was one bus ride away. We took the bus across the street from the national theater, in the heart of downtown. Within 15 minutes we were in the fair. Entrance was free. Upon arrival, it reminded me of the fairs in the city where I grew up. They had food, including pupusas and mangoes!! We’re so happy! The rides reminded me of those in San Salvador during August’s festivities. Later, I realized that is the same company: Play Land Park. Oh the childhood memories!!! Does anybody remembers this little worm? I rode it in San Salvador when I was a child. My heart jumped full with happiness when I saw it.
My husband and I rode the ring of fire! I was screaming my guts out, but it was lots of fun!!! Can you spot us in the picture? LOL!
- Costa Rica has a brand new law: people cannot smoke in public places. The country has been declared 100% free of tobacco smoke. You can buy cigarettes but the only place where you can smoke them is in your house.
- Inflation is really high in Costa Rica. At the moment, for $1 USD you’ll get about 530 colones; but you can’t do much with 530 colones. Ticos speak in the thousands of colones, I found this so unusual.