Hey all, I just wanted to write to tell you a little about Hank and Vanessa's trip to visit me and my trip to Dominical last weekend. First things first, I had a great time with Hank and Vanessa. It was a very "pura vida" week; we started in La Fortuna which is a one of the most visited places in CR due to the active Arenal Volcano. We stayed at a hostel called "Gringo Pete's" and even though Pete isn't friendly (just ask Hank) it was worth dealing with him for the cheapest and cleanest place I've found in CR.
Friday, we went on a tour of the volcano with a local guide who was full of interesting facts about the last big eruption in 1968, the surrounding wildlife, etc. Although it was cloudy, we were able to see some lava. We also visited a hot springs on the way back to the town. Then, Saturday morning I got up early, trekked the 7 km to the Cerro Chato park entrance and tried to find someone to join for the hike to the lagoon at the top. After waiting for 30 minutes or so without seeing anyone starting the hike, I decided to go to the waterfall close by. I spent some time swimming at the waterfall and realized that I didn't want Hank and Vanessa to miss out. So, I started the 7 km back down to La Fortuna and fortuitously met Hank and Vanessa as they were on their way up to the waterfall. After misleading them that we were close to the entrance and there were only a few more hills to go (haha) we forged on.
I really liked La Fortuna and wanted to stay a day longer than planned (I finally found someone to do the hike with); however, Hank and Vanessa were anxious to get to the beach, which I completely understood. So, we left Sunday morning for Tamarindo, which was our original "plan" and (considering the amount of Flor de Caña I consumed Saturday night) it was probably best that I didn't do any hiking on Sunday. The travel time to get to Tamarindo was roughly 8 hours, 3 different buses and 1 taxi. It was a long day, but well worth it.
Once we were settled into Tamarindo, we decided to just stay there for the rest of the week and rent a car for the last 3 days of their trip. We had Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday just hanging out in Tamarindo. Then, Thursday we picked up the car (a 2 door compact 4x4, manual of course) and drove to Playa Brasilito, where we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves. Friday we went to my favorite spot, Playa Avellana, and even though the waves weren't good and Vanessa was afraid of the schools of small fish we had a great time and even stayed for the sunset. Saturday was their last day, so we visited a "shell" beach (Playa Conchal) about 30 minutes from Tamarindo. I think it was Hank and Vanessa's favorite beach of the trip.
We made it back to my apartment in San Jose around 11 pm that night and I made sure they were in a cab headed for the airport Sunday morning. I was supposed to move out of my apartment that day as well, but last minute I decided to stay at least for one more month.
My work week after they left went by really fast (this week it's the opposite), and last weekend I went to a small surf spot called Dominical. It's fairly underdeveloped as far as Costa Rica goes, but there's still a happening surf scene, and plenty of places to stay and eat. I stayed at a nice place attached to one of the only bars in town, and of course every night is reggae night which was funny at first and annoying by the third night. I would definitely go back to Dominical for the waves, but the beach isn't the prettiest I've seen and the town/people weren't that friendly.
Well, I guess that sums up the last few weeks. Next week I'll be in Panama enjoying the Holy Week holiday and renewing my tourist visa! Keep in touch.