We made it! We are settled in for one week at Kaya’s Place in Puerto Viejo de la Talamanca, Costa Rica. It’s a beachfront hostel on the Caribbean coast. When thinking about Costa Rica, this is what you imagine.
Day 1 – Winnipeg/Toronto
Our start was a bit rough. Note to any one-way travelers to Costa Rica, ensure you have proof of onward travel when LEAVING Winnipeg. Air Canada wouldn’t let us board the flight until we could show them an onward ticket (bus, train, air, etc.). Seems simple enough, however we couldn’t log on to the airport WiFi…luckily Angie (Clair’s sister) kept her cool and was able to get us two tickets to Nicaragua on September 15! Make sure they’re refundable in case you want to make changes. Technically this was our fault as it is a requirement, but rarely enforced.
Finally, we were on our way… just kidding there was a 3 and 1/2 hour delay (it was a mechanical problem, so please take all the GD time you need). Thanks to our good friend Dylan Hoemsen, who provided us with Air Canada Altitude Status, we decided to wait out the night at the Maple Leaf Lounge. Of course…it’s closing.
At around 1:00 AM we were finally wheels up and eventually landed in Toronto at 4:30 AM. Air Canada did provide food vouchers and will reimburse us for the cost of the hotel we didn’t use in Toronto.
Upon arrival we realize we don’t know if our bags are heading straight through to Costa Rica. Kik (mostly) patiently waited on hold for 35 minutes only to be told that they might be. We cross our fingers and once again head to the Maple Leaf Lounge to eat all their food and drink their fancy coffees.
Day 2 – Toronto/San Jose
Our flight from Toronto leaves on time! We arrive in Costa Rica at around noon. Landing on the tarmac felt great after very little sleep, except no one is unloading the plane. The captain comes on the radio and tells us they cannot connect the stairs. To make it more frustrating, by this time, the cleaning staff had set up a staircase in the back of plane which we could not use. After an hour, we disembark.
It was like a stampede.
Then…the line for immigration. There was around 400 people being driven through those lanes like cattle. So we inch slowly forward for another 1 1/2 hours and finally make it through. To our surprise our bags have made it!
We were fortunate enough to have made arrangements with a former colleague of Kik’s, who is now living in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, she was out of the country during our stay but had arranged for a friend to pick us up. Being 2 1/2 hours late, we missed them. We end up jumping in a taxi to a nearby restaurant and getting totally fleeced ($15.00 USD for a sub-3 min cab ride). Tired, sweaty and irritated we settle on cabbing into San Jose ($40 USD) and shack up at the Fleur de Lys hotel. Really cute place with great service but if you ever stay there bring ear plugs (not really great for the sound proofing).
Day 3 – San Jose/Puerto Viejo
There are a few options to get to Puerto Viejo. You can cab (super expensive), hire a driver (expensive), ride share (medium expensive), or take a bus (what we did!). We walked to the Gran Terminal del Caribe bus station for 10:30 AM, which is the main station for all Caribbean buses. For around $15.00 USD, we rolled through some pretty tight curves. Thank God for Gravol and AC or Kik would’ve blown chunks for sure!
We arrived in Limon (a kinda grungy port town) and waited for our next bus (around $3.00 USD). This was hilarious. The driver was probably going at least 150 km/hour. There were times when he was so close to the motorbike in front of us that we thought we were re-enacting the scene from Terminator 2. Clair’s hat was literally blowing off inside the bus. You’d think Clair would be shitting her pants but for some reason it’s like “He’s a professional (sort of).” We arrive safe and sound and check into our hostel at around 4:30 PM.
This post is a bit late because there was a power outage last night but we had a great time nonetheless. Grabbed some good food and beer/wine and had a bonfire by the ocean. Today we plan on getting some exercise and mostly relaxing around the hostel. It’s overcast so not yet a beach day.
One thing we wanted to include on our blog was how we packed for extended travel. NB we really have no idea what we’re doing so this will change as we go. Check out what we packed here.
Four days in and we’re doing great:)
Clair & Kik