Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunrise in Costa Rica - The journey begins!

Out of the darkness and into the light!

This is a photo I took just as the sun was rising over Costa Rica prior to our landing.

We made it to our destination on time -- but it's a miracle because our departing SFO flight posted continuous delays and we almost did not make our connection at LAX (more on that adventure later)

Also, I might add, there was scant little legroom on the Boeing 757. We are planning to upgrade seats on the return.

A Big Thank You to my sister in law, Amy, for saving the day and helping us to get to LAX on time!!

As the sun came up I enjoyed looking out the window and watching as the sun erased the moon.

(Please excuse the glare on this photo but the sun was pretty bright.)

Of course one cannot escape the immigration forms
and a cup of Costa Rican coffee makes the task a little nicer!

Our view as we approached the airport. Some passengers seated on the left side of the aircraft said that they could also see the Caribbean.

At the airport we breezed through customs with no problems. Everyone received a 90 day stamp on their passport except Lavanson. He was the only one who was asked how long he was staying. To which the custom's agent stamped his passport accordingly issuing him a 30 day stamp. No return tickets were requested by any of us.

We stopped at the Movistar stand (right outside the airport) to purchase sim cards but it turned into a hassle so we decided to deal with it later.

We then broke the rules and took an "un" official taxi to the hotel.  While we were trying to get our sim cards we were befriended by a taxi driver named Marco who was making helpful and polite conversation with us. He told us he would take the 4 of us to our hotel for $25 (we had been told not to pay over $30) So we figured "what the heck". Also the Movistar guy told us it would be OK -- so off we went. Un official taxi drivers use their own vehicles instead of the red taxis used by the official drivers.

It worked out fine and Marco took his time explaining the sights and some Costa Rican history on the way to the hotel. In the end we even made arrangements for him to pick up the final member of our group and deliver him to our hotel as well.

Lobby of our hotel - Hotel Presidente in Central San Jose (with a very obscure entrance from the central boulevard - a pedestrian street)

We actually missed the hotel entrance as there is no sign

shops directly across from the hotel

If you don't know where you are going you will walk right past the entrance. We did, about 3 times. Finally had to ask.

Don't know why we couldn't find it. 
Guess we thought there would be a grand entrance
Silly Americans (North Americans that is) hahaha

Once the 4 of us arrived at our hotel, we had to wait about 3 hours to check into our room. The hotel has free wi fi, so of course everyone had to get on their phones. 

So far we do not have any service to make phone calls (none of us signed up for our respective carrier's international plans) and we can't text. I have the whatsApp but the receiver must also be signed up, (if any of you would like to text - add the app to your phone and email us.) 

Artwork in the hotel restaurant depicting the colonial beginning so Costa Rica.

Our 5th travel companion (Jesse - flying in from FL) arrived (courtesy of Marco) in the early afternoon and joined us to complete our party.

We took a stroll down the (very busy) central boulevard (which runs in front of our hotel) and we stopped off for some dessert and fruit drinks. yum!

These non-alcoholic fruit drinks come in a variety of flavors (made with your choice of water or milk) and are available all over Costa Rica

Pura Vida!!
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  1. Hooray! You made the trek! I'm thrilled to watch your travels unfold. And i love the bright picture of you watching the sunrise from the sky!

  2. Well it's not like really being there...but I'm enjoying your colorful pictures and reading your captions. Hope it's all you hoped for and more.


  3. Hey Gary - Thanks and got your email too. Of course we have tons more photos but your buddy Charles is keeping us too busy drinking wine for me to get them posted. We LOVE it!!! Stay tuned. More to come

  4. Glad you made it safely�� staying tuned for the adventures!

  5. Natasha OMG this is the best fun I have ever had!!! Seriously, I do not want to come home! We have met awesome people and have partied and laughed and ate together the entire time. We move to our 3rd location tomorrow.

  6. oops I mean eaten together, It's late. We had pigs feet tonight lol