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Travels with Della and Joanna

July 8th, 2008

The LadiesThis post was actually sent in as a comment to an earlier post about crime in Costa Rica, but after reading it, I thought it not really relevant to crime… or maybe it was as these ladies apparently did a lot of cool things and experienced nothing but a fun time.

However, I did not want to discard it, and I decided it might be of general interest to a lot of readers, especially to older folks considering a trip to Costa Rica and more especially to older women who might like to travel together! Here is the account or the trip taken by Della and her female companion and written by Della.

My friend Joanna was treated to a Costa Rica ‘resorts only’ trip by her son and daughter in law last December. She came back psyched about living there and wanted to explore more of Costa Rica. So, I signed up on the ‘Real Costa Rica blog’ and started following comments –

We left San Diego, Ca. March 27th, having taken Frontier Airlines (cheapest, and least time spent) to San Jose. We had reserved a 4wh. dr. SUV, and headed out to explore the Nicoya Peninsula. We had a map from the rental office, and headed out, the hair on our back rising as we maneuvered getting out of San Jose. Once accomplished, and taking the ferry from Punterenas, we were much calmer and happier starting on our adventure.

We did follow the ‘rules for tourists’ as you mentioned, always taking our bags in at night, always having our auto within our sight. We did not wander at night –

Ticos seemed curious, interested and surprised to see two Sr. Citizens out and about, through back roads and inland, through small communities and farmland, and everyone we met was friendly, kind, helpful, and informative. Most did not speak English, we do not speak Spanish, but we learned the important words and used sign language to get around. We had such a wonderful time. We wanted to be in the culture, among the people, and we did just that. Pharmacias, cabinos, bancos, agua, banas, fruitas, we got by. Oh yes, we learned to say ‘mucho gusto’.

We stayed in family run cabins, and felt very safe.

I did most of the driving, and the mountains were the adrenalin pumpers for me – blind curves, large trucks, with only room for one vehicle at a time – sideless bridges, ruts in the ‘roads’ more like mud or gravel trails, that was more scary than anything else, but, we managed well.

Being able to stop when we saw a little ‘art shed’ and seeing the lovely art work, and being invited to meet the family – see the baby parrots, and Tucan, in the back yard, meeting the family’s children, both of us willing to try to communicate, giggling at our attempts – even in the off the beaten path, money was no problem as nearly everyone counted in dollars.

We usually were given a ‘typical breakfast’ included with our cabin, in the a.m. I like eggs over easy, and this is not very common I guess so I asked if I could make them myself, so they let me make them, in their kitchen.

We found a glorious little teak cabin that one family had put up, cut into the mountain, overlooking the vastness below, and the ocean way in the distance. Breathtaking.
Since it was the end of the dry season, water was sometimes low, and these people were so sorry the town had cut the water, that they gave us not only a wonderful breakfast, typical style, but made fresh corn tortillas and lots of rice and beans, and cut mangos to take with us for lunch. They showed us their cage full of quail and eggs they considered a real delicacy.

It was odd to me that near the ocean, it was so hot – due to the proximity to the equator. Hadn’t thought of that….

Montezuma we liked a lot, we stayed in a very nice hotel, and the restaurants were superb…. Cobano was like going back in time 60 or 70 years. our last two days we stayed in San Jose, with our auto parked in the hotel ‘basement’ at night. We found the hotel as it was getting dark, and were glad of it, because a few blocks away as we were looking for a bed and breakfast sign we had seen, we found ourselves in a huge very ‘ghetto’ neighborhood, then a few blocks further, a neighborhood with lovely homes, completely ironed in, driveway and all, and men with billy clubs and dogs guarding the streets.’

The hotel staff was friendly, informative and fun to converse with as well. A huge park several blocks away had an art festival every Sunday and we found some great treasures.

My friend is still interested in living there, but I have a bad back, and cannot imagine driving the roads there, where about l% of the country, it seems, is paved.

I am thankful we had the ‘Real Costa Rica blog’ as our guide –

If she does move, she has no rose colored glasses on now, and will more than likely rent, and not buy. Very good help on that.

I will come again to visit!!! – and learn more Spanish as well. We arrived back home on April l3th. It was the best l7 day adventure we have ever had. People are people, everywhere, and looking for the similarities, and being willing to explore the differences, using common sense, looking forward to each day’s difference as we headed out in the am was really very special.

So this is a great thank you for the time and effort put into keeping the blog going, and people contributing as well.

Thanks for the nice words and thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I enjoyed reading your account, and I hope my readers will also.

(Next time you come, do read The REAL Costa Rica main web site. Then you will know just how hot are the beaches in Costa Rica.)

5 Responses to “Travels with Della and Joanna”

  1. PlantCrone on September 15, 2008 10:01 am

    Thanks for posting Della and Joanna’s journey. They sound like my kind of women! I’ve been spending time on several Costa Rica listserves and lots of single ‘women of a certain age’ live there, alone except for their dogs and cats, and happy to be doing whatever the hell they want.

  2. jim on November 5, 2008 7:51 pm

    If I rent a car and drive all over, I will not know where I’m going to be when, so having places to stay lined up and reserved in advance is no fun. How hard is it finding places to stay. Half way nice… private bath, hot water 50-75$ a nite about.

  3. Dede on December 1, 2008 9:15 am

    Loved the account onf Della and Joanna’s journey. Myself and two birder friends were in Costa Rica in May. I want to live there, too. Your account made me get all misty! Thank you for the memories!

  4. connie meyer on November 18, 2009 10:20 pm

    costa rica sounds like agreat place.I have spent many winters in campeche,an yuctan in mexico.now want to explore something new,am searching for infor.about a place to stay for about amonth in jan.Can some tell me about areasonble place from mabe500 or a little more something nice an clean.

  5. Pattie Thompson on December 11, 2009 11:50 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed Della & Joanna’s story of visiting Costa Rica. It shows others that age does not matter when you are enjoying life, just get up and go see what the world has to offer! We were in Costa Rica January ’09 and found the country to be filled with wonderful people, willing to help and guide. At no time did we ever feel uncomfortable or scared. It was a vacation of a lifetime!