Time to say goodbye to the beach

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
Trip End Jan 01, 2014

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Where I stayed
Hotel Los Volcanes B&B Alajuela
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
Volcan Poas San Jose
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It was great to relax, but it really was time to move, and leave for South America. After a final goodbye to Luna, we headed out the gate a tick before 8:30am to see our Montezuma Expeditions shuttle bus already waiting to take us to Alajuela for two nights before flying out to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We picked up a few other travellers on the way to the same ferry that brought us to Nicoya. The sun came out for us, and it was hotter than Vulcan's . . . house, once we were on board. So, I cooled down with a refreshing local brew while Carly enjoyed a delicious Coca Cola.

A different shuttle picked us up in Puntarenas once we disembarked, and proceeded to carry us the rest of the way to Alajuela. Some European guy travelling with us bought a barbecued chicken skewer and tortilla thing on the side of the dock and yummed it down. I did not, and it was a poor decision. From his account, it tasted every bit as good as it looked and smelled, and here I was thinking "I’ve already paid for this bag of nuts, I really should eat what I’ve bought." Stupid nuts.

The hotel at which we were dropped off, Hotel Los Volcanes, was just fantastic. The room was perfectly clean, and the shared bathrooms were not bad either. But it was the complimentary breakfast that wowed us the most; fruit, yoghurt, granola, eggs, ham, bacon, tomato, with coffee, tea, and juices as well! Staying two nights gave us a full day in the middle, and we chose to split up for one of the only times on this trip so far. Carly had her heart set on seeing the Poas Volcano, and I couldn’t really be bothered. It sounded very cool, but it was just one of those days where I wasn’t feeling it, so I elected to do our laundry, walk around town, and just chill for a few hours at the hotel.

Alajuela is a cool little town, and considering that San Jose’s main international airport is located there, rather than in San Jose itself, it is a much, much better place to stay before getting on a plane. It’s closer, safer, and well, just much less of a craphole than San Jose. There are an incredible amount of shoe stores for some reason. There is also a nice little market, a little like our Central Market, but seemingly half full of butchers, and not a lot of fresh fruit or veg.

Carly can explain her jaunt here . . .A one and a half hour bus ride through mountains mostly covered with coffee plantations or grazing cattle and I was in Cloud Forest country. Some of the plants are specially adapted to this relatively harsh environment near an active volcano which releases sulphuric gas and results in acidic fog and acid rain. Needless to say it was quite stinky at the Poas Volcano and there were a few moments where breathing was a bit of an issue but with just a quick walk I was deep into the forest where the air was much easier to breathe. I managed to see the volcano three times despite the constant drifting in and out of the clouds. Overall it was an unreal experience and I'm so happy that I went! I also discovered a new type of cake which comes in a milky soup. Some of you know about my milk addiction, well just imagine how in heaven I was when I found this dessert! It's called 'tres leches' (three milks) - very yummy!!!....back to Josh...

I used the couple of hours we had on our final morning in Costa Rica to mail some more stuff back home (very thankful to have a little Spanish in these moments). It was not as cheap as from South Africa, but still, fingers are crossed that it gets there! And a short cab ride later we were at the airport, ready to board our Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale. It’s a very budget airline, with a lot of horrible online reviews. But like most times in these cases, I think people either just like to have a whinge and/or don’t read things properly when they book, so we’ll see what it’s really like!
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Helen Martin on

Sounds like you had an amazing experience at the volcano. Luckily you could get rufuge for your poor nose, throat and lungs in that nice clean forest air nearby.

sandyandsteve on

What a wonderful last few days you had there. The volcano would have been amazing. Hope the flight on the budget airline wasn't too bad. You really have to fly a bad airline to appreciate the good ones lol. As long as it gets you there safely. Not long until you come home - can't wait to see you both. xx

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