In Cartago we had our first local dish of arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). We would eat a lot of this during the trip because it was simple, tasty, filling, easy to order, and inexpensive.
The next day couple of days were dedicated to some rest and relaxation so our drive to Nosara was only a short distance up the coast from Samara. Here we would stay for 2 days at the most beautiful place we stayed at during the trip. The B&B was called the Villa Mango located in the mountains overlooking the ocean and white sandy beach. It was owned by a husband and wife from France and there were only a few guests staying there so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. This was a highlight for me.
On our last night at the Villa Mango, Tom decided to take us to a local restaurant at Lagarta to have dinner and watch the sunset. As you can see from the pictures below this was one of the most magical sunsets we have ever experienced. A must place to see the sunset.
We were on the road again and this time we would go as far north as we would go at Tamarindo before heading inland and back towards San Jose. At Tamarindo I replaced our vehicle with another as our front end had become too defective to drive. We ate at this nice restaurant below and a view of the white sandy beach. The beach was almost empty. I guess no one in Costa Rica goes to the beach which is fine for us tourists.
Our last stop on the Pacific Coast was at the Hotel Mareada in Playa Grande. This was the third place we tried to find accommodations in this area. The first place we booked was called Poncho Villa. While the grounds of the resort were nice we found bugs in our room. My cousin and I were a little hesitant about complaining because it was so hard to find a place in the area. The management had no other rooms so thank goodness for our wives who put their foot down and insisted on getting our money back. Luckily we found this nice place at Playa Grande.
The next day we worked our way back into the mountains and stayed in La Fortuna at a nice little motel called Roca Negra. Because of the mountains there was quite a bit of rain and fog but the flowers on the grounds were very beautiful.
In fact the flowers throughout the entire country were so beautiful. The following pictures are just a small sampling of the flora of Costa Rica.
The next day was going to be exciting. We headed towards a still active volcano called Arenal and at the base of the volcano are hot springs called Tabacon. The plan is for our wives to have a spa day at the hot springs while Tom, myself and the 13 year old girl would go zip lining at Sky Trek Adventures nearby. We would hook up back at the Tabacon Hot Springs later in the day.
I had never been zip lining before and wanted to try it but I am a little afraid of heights so I was a bit nervous. The course was a series of 7 platforms arranged throughout the jungle. The first 2 platforms were a trial run of a short distance of about 100 feet just to practise. I conquered that without much trouble so I decided to continue. Well that was a mistake. The remaining 5 platforms were about 600 feet across the jungle, flying at about 60 kms an hour 600 feet above the jungle floor. I could not turn back and besides the 13 year old was having a ball so how could I let her see me quit. The experience was nothing short of spectacular and now that I have done that I will never do it again. What I didn’t like about the experience was that it was pouring rain and the grease from the zip line covered my eye glasses and face so I couldn’t see a thing. Also I didn’t have my knees high enough to the wire, causing some drag, so I did not make it all the way across to one of the platforms. I stopped about 25 feet from the end and the only way to get to the platform was to crawl backwards along the wire hand over hand. I’ve now done that and another first for me.
Now that we were in dry closes again we headed for the hot springs for some much need relaxation. Meanwhile the women were relaxing and soaking up the hot springs atmosphere. As you can from the pictures below the grounds of the hot springs are beautiful and worth the pricey entrance fee.
It was getting late and we still had a 3 hour drive to our final destination of the trip at the La Posada hotel in San Ramon. We drove through the winding roads in the rain so by the time we got there we all had headaches and were exhausted. San Ramon is only about an hour from San Jose where we would catch our flight home.