Getting to La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica is no simple trip. After staying up until 11:30 to pack, we had to get up again at 1:30 am to go to the airport. We got there so early that the check-in counter wasn’t even open yet, which meant that we stood in line for a half an hour waiting to check our bags. The plus side was that we were third in line, so once they did open we got through quickly.
We flew to Atlanta, barely maintaining consciousness. I’m telling you, we probably looked like two bobble-head dolls with our heads lolling to and fro. In Atlanta, we had to walk from A to F because the “Plane Train” broke down. Which was actually ok, because it gave us some exercise and helped us wake up a bit.
The second flight seemed unnecessarily long – probably because we weren’t sleeping through it. We landed in Liberia at about 1pm. Getting through customs was quick and easy.
We rented a Hyundai Accent Blue through Adobe Rental Cars. The guys there were really nice and got us on our way quickly. The road by the airport was a mess because it was being repaired. It was so holey and bumpy I thought for sure we were going to destroy the car in the first 10 minutes of having it.
Being the cheapskates that we are, we didn’t want to pay extra for a GPS, and of course we didn’t want our phones to be roaming, so we had to rely on maps to find our way around. By this point we were pretty hungry, so we stopped at one of the first places we saw. It turned out to be some kind of Costa Rican/Asian Fusion place. Not the best first impression of Costa Rican food.
After we ate, we were quick to get back on the road. I had read that you don’t want to be driving at night in Costa Rica if you’re not familiar with where you’re going.
At first, the drive was a jolly good time and we were only slightly confused by the complete lack of road signage. We were excited to take everything in. The scenery was amazing and we were loving life.
After several hours, I figured we must be getting close to our destination, but no. If you look at the map of Laguna Arenal, it’s a huge lake. At one point we had to make a turn and we were confused about which way to go (again – complete lack of road signage!)
We stopped to ask a kid for directions and he said he was going our way. So Dave invited him to hop in. He only spoke Spanish, so I just listened to their conversation and thought about what I would do if he pulled a knife or a gun and tried to rob us. Because, America.
He rode with us for half an hour or so before we dropped him off. By then, it was completely dark. The road around the lake has a lot switchbacks – I guess because the terrain is too variable to put in a nice smooth road – so it was really rough going. Then it started to rain. In the dark and rain it felt like we just kept going around the same curves over and over and I was beginning to think we were in some kind of twilight zone. Or that I was going insane.
After what seemed like eternity, we arrived in La Fortuna around 7. We checked into Hotel Tangara and I was ready to lie down and sleep the minute we walked into our room. We managed to steel ourselves enough to go back out and get a quick dinner.
When we finally did get back to the room and lie down to sleep, we noticed that the curtains did not block out any light from the outside. Our room was right next to the reception area, so it was very bright. Luckily we had eye masks that we’d used to snooze on the plane, so we ended up sleeping with those over our eyes every night we were there.
Stay tuned for Day 2!