The Second Leg

Trip Start May 07, 2010
Trip End May 16, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Monday, May 10, 2010

"Please, please, please let this be an uneventful travel day..."  this is what I was saying to myself over and over and over again as we prepared to make our journey to our next destination, Santa Elena.  Despite aaaaaall the activities that we had done the day before, Rowena and I managed to drag our butts out of bed at 7AM in the morning.  I wanted to leave early to avoid traffic on Costa Rica's death roads (my endearing term).  We had breakfast, shot a few parting photos, loaded up the Battle Tank, and were on our way.  3.5 hours of white-knuckled driving in front of me.  Yay!

As you can see from the photos, we had awoke to a rather wet morning which only added to my enthusiasm.  No matter...  I patiently drove the winding road that wrapped around Lake Arenal on one-side and lush mountains on the other.  Every few kilometers, I would stop someone at the side of the road, or stop at an establishment to ask for directions.  There were little to no road signs anywhere.  Well, to be exact, road signs were situated so far apart, one can be driving for kilometers in the wrong direction without knowing it. 

Travel Tip: If you plan to drive here, you better brush up on your Spanish.  Asking and more importantly following directions can be quite difficult unless you know a little bit of Spanish.  Growing up in Los Angeles, I had enough in my back pocket to squeak by.

As we got closer to Santa Elena, the roads ceased to be paved, being substituted with dirt and gravel.  Double yay!  I kicked on the 4x4 mode and we chattered our teeth for another 1.5 hours on dirt.  The weather did start to clear at this point and sooner than expected, we hobbled into Santa Elena at 1:30PM.  As old and squeaky as the Battle Tank was, she delivered in spades!

Santa Elena is situated 20 minutes from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, another top destination for Costa Rica.  Climate here is much wetter than La Fortuna with birds performing more of the pollination as opposed to insects.  Thus, one would expect more flowers.  The town of Santa Elena is quite a bit smaller than La Fortuna with a downtown perimeter of about 10km.  Regardless of its diminutive size, it offers everything that La Fortuna does in terms of adventure activities.  For us, this was the perfect place to do our zip-lining.  More about that later.

Having a brief look at the guidebook we checked out several hotels/hostels and eventually settled on Los Pension Santa Elena or Pension for short.  Rowena felt that we were straying away from our budget roots just having paid US$60/night at the last hotel in La Fortuna so she had suggested we downgrade a bit.  Rooms at the Pension were smaller and simpler, but at $30/night, it wasn't much of a downgrade and was a great bargain.

We got ourselves settled in and went about checking out the tiny town.  In about 30 minutes, we had seen the entire downtown. LOL.  For lunch, we headed to the Tree House.  We (or more like me) wolfed down a veggie pizza and a couple of beers.  We took a little snooze at the hotel then headed out to dinner.  On our way back, we ran into Greg.

Greg is from North Carolina and manages/plays in a Hawaiian band.  He's had a colorful past, having lived all over the world (most notably in the Philippines playing for the military, Hawaii for 12 years, traveled to Thailand, Burma, and other locations I fail to recall).  I suggested to Greg that we meet up at the lobby to toss back more beers and just share some adventures.  We had a great time, and unexpectedly ran out of beer.  Just starting to hit our groove, we desperately went to the local market only to find it closed.  Being the desperate drunks we were becom... er being ingenious, we went to the restaurant that Rowena and I had dinner earlier and told the waitress to crack open 6 beers right then and there.  Needless to say, Greg and I got blitzed. :)  Last thing I remember was Greg mentioning something about being a five head. LOL.  Rowena, bless her heart, was probably watching the comedy channel at this point and escorted Greg and I back to the hostel.  Good times, Greg, good times!

Greg:  To celebrate this moment in time, I cracked opened a can of beer and downed it in your honor buddy whilst typing this blog entry!

More about Greg:
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