Keith Stokes'
Costa Rica Trip
January 9-15, 2008

Days 1& 2 - Alajuela, La Paz Waterfall Gardens,
                       Fortuna, Arenal Volcano
Day 3 - Cana Negro, Nuevo Arenal
Day 4 - La Fortuna, Bike Arenal, horseback ride and
              Arenal Canopy Tour
Day 5 - Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, Monteverde
Day 6 - Monteverde, Alajuela
Day 7 - Alajuela, Poas

Poas Volcano National Park - Costa Rica
Poas Volcano National Park 

miércoles ­ day 1                                                                                                                             Next page

I left Kansas City on American Airlines at 2:45 PM, changing planes in Dallas. There was an empty seat next to me for the 4 hour flight to Costa Rica (Yea!). American Airlines showed the movie Ratatouille on the plane and served a mediocre meal in coach.

The flight arrived at Juan Santamaria International Airport just northeast of San Jose, Costa Rica at 10:25 PM. Rather than clear customs as you get off the plane, passengers arriving by plane walk through the same areas of the terminal as departing customers and everyone must clear immigration and customs to leave the airport. With good directions previously received from the hotel, I bought a $3 voucher at the taxi booth, and with a short ride in a taxi was in my room at Hotel Villa Bonita by 11.

Villa Bonita is a 5 room B&B. The desk usually closes earlier in the evening, but I had emailed my flight time and Carmen was waiting for me. Villa Bonita was good about communications by email and all went smooth. 

My room was small but clean. The same as all hotels during the trip, the sink in the bathroom had only cold water. There was hot water in the fairly large shower, but very low pressure (think coffee can with holes in the bottom). Villa Bonita has wifi, and I checked email before calling it a night.

Villa Bonita Hotel in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Villa Bonita lobby.

Villa Bonita back yard
View out my bedroom window

Villa Bonita bedroom

jueves ­ day 2

I didn't sleep well last night. I think part of it was the sounds of the city (Alajuela) - dogs, traffic, planes.

While getting ready for the first day of my trip, I turned on the TV and found that the Amazing Race Season 9 was on. I'm not sure I like people in other countries watching the way that Americans behave during the race, but it is probably better than their watching CSI.

When I checked out of the Villa Bonita, Ichecked my notebook computer with the desk until my return at the end of the trip. 

Tricolor Car Rental picked me up at the hotel at 9 AM, and took me to their nearby office to pick up the small Suzuki Ignis 4x4. $240 for 5 days including tax and basic insurance. The person that handled my paperwork said that because I used a Capital One Credit Card, it would be a waste for me to purchase any additional insurance. That was the first time I ever heard that from a rental company!

While doing the paper work, I had a brief moment of panic when I realized that I did not have my passport, just the copy with entry stamp that they made for me at the hotel. After picking up the Ignis, I hurried back to the hotel, where my passport was still sitting in their copier.

On the road at last, I headed north out of Alajuela looking for a bank and gas station on my side of the busy streets. The rental car came with only 1/8 tank of fuel, and when I started to come to country, I turned back to the last gas station to fill up. It was a good thing I went back, it was hours before I saw another gas station. I never did spot a bank this morning.

The road leading up out of Alajuela was very curvy. So curvy that much of the time, oncoming traffic could not be seen more than 100 feet ahead. Slow moving trucks were often barely crawling up the road, though the speed limit was only 40-60 kph to begin with. 

The narrow 2 lane road led up past many coffee plantations, tiny homes and a few businesses.

Interesting tree pver the road north of Alajuela

Costa Rica waterfall
Waterfall along the road toward Poas Volcano.

Next page

Keith's other trips            Mighty Mac Home

copyright 2008-2009 by Keith Stokes.