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Monday, July 9, 2012

The Gringa's Adventures in Costa Rica - Part 1 - Don't Drive Here!

Wow!  What a beautiful country!

It was an amazing place to be, but I'm sure glad to be home.

Our family doesn't take the "usual" touristy Costa Rican beach vacation.

We had the kids with us, so it was all about adventure & monkeys.

We are incredibly lucky to have great family living in Costa Rica, in the major cities.  We stayed with my mother-in-law & father-in-law and my dear brother-in-law was our tour guide.

As with most vacations, travel day is lost.  Especially after a 5 hour flight with 2 children.

All I really want after any flight is a shower & a cold cocktail.  I was truly shot!  Oh...let me mention something about a shower in Costa Rica - at least inside homes.  No hot water........Tropical rain forest, remember??

Much like this.
In the homes where the people can afford it, they either have a (small) hot water heater or this thing that is attached to the shower head that makes the water hot.  This is what my in-laws have.  While it is very safe - the whole electricity & water thing freaks me out every single time.

I'll go through each day separately, as each day holds it's own hilarity through the "non-tourist" tourist's point of view.

As I said, we opted for the "adventure trip" of volcanoes, monkeys & rain forest.  I wanted to do the zip line, but the small children put a damper on that.

I'm going to talk about a whole different Costa Rican adventure.  One that left me amazed and frightened at the same time....

Driving in Costa Rica.

If you're planing a trip to Costa Rica - do yourself a favor -  DO NOT drive there!  Driving in Costa Rica is much like driving in New York City - Drunk AND on Crack... SERIOUSLY!

Stop signs??  A mere suggestion.  They mostly blow right on through and at an extremely high rate of speed!

The roads are not well marked.  I don't think I even saw a street sign anywhere, so you'd better know where the heck you're going.  The two way, main roads are the width of a one way street, there ditches on the sides for drainage & people are always walking on the streets.  It's craziness!

Actual street in Alajuela
There are plenty of taxis, tour buses & very reliable means of public transportation.  Do yourself a favor - utilize the tour buses, etc!  You'll thank me.

Oh, and probably don't walk either.  The locals are very used to walking and don't even flinch when a car breezes by them at a high rate of speed.
I, on the other hand, totally freaked out when a car, who's way I was clearly in, breezed by my butt at 70 mph on the tiny little side street.

Again I was in the city (San Jose, Heredia & Allejuela).  I did notice that people were a bit more subdued up in the mountains, but just a bit.  Going up any mountain, around a bend, going up a hill - if you are not going fast enough for the person behind you - they WILL pass you.  The drop off was steep, there were no guard rails.

Who you callin' COW?
I can't say for sure - but I think the cow on the roadside, who was getting ready to bust open with milk, gave me a look like she was about ready to kick my ass for staring, but the elevation was high - so I get a pass there.

 Yes, there are random cows tide up on the side of the road.  Not just cows, but goats too & there are wild dogs EVERYWHERE.

My brother-in-law had the whole driving thing down, so I was able to let go of the seat in front of me and enjoy the ride.

In all seriousness, if you haven't been & it's within your means, you must see Costa Rica before you die.  It's an amazing and wonderful country.  Between the coffee (mmm, coffee) and the volcanoes and the mountains and the rain forest & free roaming monkeys - it's an experience you'll never have again.

Crater lake at Volcan Poas.
I've been lucky enough in my life to travel quite a bit- at least on this side of the Atlantic and to Costa Rica twice.  I've never been more in awe of the beauty of this country.  Where else could you go to see 6 volcanoes - 4 of the 6 still active and maybe a toucan along the way.  Breathtaking, really, and pictures do not do justice to the beauty that's all around.

I have so much to say, but for now - what did we learn class??

Do NOT drive in Costa Rica!

That's right class.  You'll thank me later.

As always, thank you for reading my blog.

I wish you a day of wonder & surprise.


1 comment:

  1. Costa Rica sounds amazing Jenn! Glad you had a great trip and I look forward to your next installment. "...driving in NYC drunk and on crack" LMAO! So true!


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