Costa Rica Recap Pt 1: Getting There

When I read vacation recaps on other blogs, my reaction tends to go one of two ways: either I love them and am filled with travel inspiration/envy, or I think they’re boring as hell. I’m hoping that this falls into the former category, but bear with me if it doesn’t! This is partially for my benefit too, because I like to remember what I did everyday, and it’s amazing how quickly you forget!

Quick summary: my boyfriend and I went to the Pacific side of Costa Rica last week for 8 nights, from Friday May 25 to Saturday June 2. We spent one night in San Jose, four nights in Santa Teresa, two nights in Tamarindo, and one more night in San Jose before flying home. This was completely a spur of the moment trip that Billy planned less than a week in advance, but he’s surfed in Costa Rica 7-8 times before, he has friends in Santa Teresa, and he speaks pretty good Spanish, so we were able to pull it off on really short notice.

Friday: Ft Lauderdale –> San Jose

Friday was stressful. Dear god it was stressful. I was already sleep-deprived from packing and graduation festivities when I arrived on Thursday evening, and that night felt like a never-ending packing hell as I struggled to unpack and repack my luggage, pick out everything for Billy (since he made NO attempt whatsoever to get his stuff together beforehand), and incorporate both of our things into a small suitcase, backpack, and tote bag.

Our flight was at 10:45 am and I only got a couple hours of sleep and had to drag Billy out of bed. He came down 45 minutes late for our 8am shuttle with an armful of “important surfing stuff we forgot” (uh, no, that would be YOUR stuff that YOU forgot). We were the last ones checking in, and our bags had to be tagged late so it wasn’t a guarantee that they’d even arrive in San Jose with us. Suffice it to say that by the time we got on the plane I was barely speaking to Billy.

Then once we arrived we had to go through customs, more customs (fortunately our bags made it!), over to the rental car place, find a car that was big enough to fit the bag of three surfboards we brought. To top it off, Billy had chipped his tooth the night before we left so we had to go to a dental clinic in San Jose–driving through the city was a nightmare and the wait and repair took about three hours. The good news though is that it was a LOT cheaper than it would have been in the states so in that sense the timing was fortituous.

FINALLY it was all over and we checked into a hotel where we could finally relax. We headed out for our first authentic Costa Rican dinner of shrimp and vegetables, then came back and pretty much passed out.

Saturday: San Jose –> Santa Teresa

After getting a good night’s sleep I woke up in a much better mood! In fact, I woke up at 5am, which is when it starts to get light in Costa Rica. I was greeted by this view of San Jose out our window:


Seen by day, the hotel was really nice! It had a gorgeous pool, although we didn’t  use it:


Breakfast was included–I filled up on fresh fruit, which is delicious in Costa Rica.


After breakfast, we actually went back to nap for awhile. Then Billy called his friend Bo who lives in Santa Teresa and also spoke to the hotel staff for directions. We set out around 2:30pm, thinking it would be a 3-4 hour drive (we were so, so wrong). Billy drove (no way I was going to drive a giant car with four wheel drive in Costa Rica)


I found a Subway! I was super-proud for ordering by myself.


The chicken and vegetables tasted kinda weird though so I just ate the avocado, which was delicious!

Billy also found me these awesome zero-calorie juice boxes that I quickly became obsessed with.


And the best invention ever: rum (“ron”) and coke in a can!


Driving through Costa Rica was pretty tricky. We had to stop and ask for directions multiple times–fortunately Billy speaks conversational Spanish. Around 7pm we arrived at Puntarenas, where we had to take a ferry.


We docked around 10pm, then it was another hour and a half to Santa Teresa. When we arrived we could see there was a big party going on at one of the bars and Billy figured his friends would be there, having given up waiting for us, but we were so tired that we just checked into a hostel and once again crashed!


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