Friday, December 2, 2011

Costa Rica - Day 8

After rolling out of bed and enjoying a nice breakfast consisting off the remnants of the food we had purchased during the trip, it was time to head to the Tamarindo Airport to catch our flight back to San Jose so that we could spend a day exploring the city before flying back to Seattle on the next day. After a nice chat with the owners of Los Villas (Isabelle and Alejandro) we hopped in the BeGo and headed out in search of gas for a refill before returning it. We had assumed that Tamarindo would have a gas station, being a sizeable town, it does not. We had then assumed that Playa Flamingo had a gas station after having been informed that it did by a few travel websites, it once did but is now closed. One our last attempt before giving up and returning the BeGo with an empty tank we finally located one in El Llano, and then headed back to Tamarindo to return the BeGo. It was a sad morning to part with our trusted friend, Roanne even penned a heartfelt little tune called "The BeGo and Me" (ask her to sing it for you next time you see her). Here I am enjoying one last quiet moment with the BeGo before being shuttled off to the airport:

We arrived at the Tamarindo airport to find that it set a new record for most rustic airport we had flown out of (except maybe for a ski plane on a glacier in Alaska, but that doesn't really count as an airport). However, the single propellor plane that we would be flying on did arrive on time and looked quite new, so we happily climbed on board for the one hour flight back to San Jose. Here is the view out of the plane's window after we had boarded, at the only other plane on the airstrip that sunny morning:

We both had window seats (in fact, everyone did, because in a plane that small every seat is both a window seat and an aisle seat) and so were afforded some nice views of the countryside as we took off. Here is a view of the airstrip that we had flown from:

And another looking back out toward the coast:

We had a smooth landing in San Jose, and after disembarking (much more fun on a small plane like that where you get to climb down 3 steps onto the runway) we hailed a taxi and headed into San Jose for our final Costa Rican accommodations at the Hotel Grano de Oro. We have made a tradition of staying in an upscale hotel on our last night in a big city on our vacations, and the Hotel Grano de Oro was no exception, being an immaculately maintained building with really nice rooms, friendly staff, and a great restaurant. After a short snooze in our room we then headed out to explore San Jose, first making our way through a few markets and down some of the busy, pedestrian-only streets:

We then conducted a general walking tour of the city, making our way past the National Museum which had some nice outdoor sculptures with one of the granite spheres that archeologists have found in Costa Rica:

We also saw some nice outdoor murals:

And numerous other sights. As dusk started to fall we made our way back to our hotel, which had some nice outdoor Christmas decorations:

Costa Ricans seem to be crazy about Christmas, every hotel that we stayed in had Christmas trees already up and decorated, decorations on room doors, and all throughout the hotel. We had a nice dinner that night at the hotel restaurant which served French food (though not as good as the night prior in Tamarindo) and then headed off to bed.

The next morning we woke up and after a delicious breakfast we packed our bags one final time and began our journey back to Seattle. We really enjoyed our time in Costa Rica, and if I had to distill all of the travel advice we would pass on into one sentence, it would be: Check out the rain forests and go surfing. Adios!

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