Day 82- Return to Montezuma

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel Luz de Mono Montezuma
Read my review - 2/5 stars
Alta Hotel
What I did
El Sano Banana
Coyote Cafe
Devaya Yoga
El Sabor de la Montana
The Taj Mahal Restaurant
Grand Hotel Restaurant
Poas Volcano

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Thursday, April 4, 2013

When I graduated college, I briefly entertained the idea of returning to Madrid, where I had spent a semester abroad.  I remember throwing the idea out to my mother, expecting all the normal protestations from a loving mother; "It's too far.  It's too dangerous.  It's too expensive."  However, all she said is, "You'll be disappointed.  It won't be the same, and you'll be disappointed." Knowing that she just might be right, I decided instead to move to a new city (Boston) where I was lucky enough to meet my true love and begin the best chapter of my life. 
We had a week remaining on our visas, and we could have gone anywhere in Costa Rica.  For some reason, Paul and I felt compelled to return to Montezumam even though we knew, as my mother wisely knew, that we would never be able to duplicate the magical time we had spent there previously.  And yet, defying all odds, Montezuma did not disappoint us.

After the first night at a so-so hotel, we spent three nights at Agua Vista.  Our casita, "Casa Trogon," was thoughtfully laid out and had every amenity we needed.  The owner's attention to detail was beyond incredible, and if I were ever to run my own B&B, Khalida would be my role model.  The casita even came with a resident coati that made regular appearances.  If we return to Montezuma, we will be staying at Agua Vista!

We were very busy during our short time in Montezuma.  We ate dinner at the Coyote Cafe and saw our friends Jenny and Andrea.  I got an interesting massage from "Devaya" a yogi-clairvoyant-messeuse-therapist-dietician.  We attended the weekly farmer's market observing the familiar colorful cast of characters that make Montezuma so unique.  Vivian's hair turned green green GREEN (the chlorine in the pool at the first hotel was more than a little off).  We spent a lovely evening with Ireni and Gabriel watching a a flock of parrots and a troop of howler monkeys eat the fruit of the marañón trees just outside their house.  We frolicked in the ocean in the rosy twilight glow with Russ, Tania, Leo, and Jett the dog (who also treated us to a lovely dinner at their home).  We hiked to the little river by the ocean, and we ate lunch at Ylang Ylang.  And this time, instead of napping in the grass in front of the restaurant, Ivy joined Vivian in play.  Click here to see a video of the girls cavorting in the lawn.  Our only regret was that we ran out of time to visit Patches and Brownie.  We hope they are still happily patrolling the street outside Casa Astrid.

After Montzuma, we returned to San Jose and spent three nights at the Alta Hotel.  I cannot say enough about this stylish boutique hotel.  The interior is masterfully designed in a Moorish theme with vaulted arching ceilings.  The dining room is one of the prettiest rooms I have ever entered, with the windows opening to the valley of San Jose.  On the property is a large guanacaste tree, which is truly the stuff of fairy tales.  Every room has a balcony overlooking the pool with vistas of San Jose just beyond.  All of the employees, without exception, are charming.  The maid introduced herself to me (and complimented my daughters, which always curries favor with me).  The waiters remembered us from our previous visit, and they treated Vivian like a princess.  They were the ones who introduced her to chocolate caliente (hot chocolate).  Overall, I would say that overall, we felt more like family than guests.  This hotel is a mere 15 minutes from the airport, so if you need a hotel in San Jose, Alta Hotel is a great spot.

Of course we couldn't just hang around the pool for 2 days, so we did try to see some of the sights in San Jose.  One the first day, we drove to the Paos Volcano and had a very disappointing visit there.  After we had paid admission and parked the car, one of the parking attendants warned me that the sulphur might be bad for small children and to take caution.  Awesome.  I would have appreciated that advice BEFORE I paid the entrance fee.  Incidentally, the sulphur smell was overwhelming.  Vivian refers to it as "that stinky volcano." We ultimately walked to the crater's edge (15 minute walk), but it was too fogged over to actually see anything, so we trekked back down, got in our car, and drove to lunch.

Since we hadn't done any souvenir shopping, Paul kindly agreed to take me to the artisan market in San Jose on the second day.  As usual, the driving in San Jose was hair-raising.  We managed to get to a safe parking lot and then roamed around the city of San Jose, scouring two different markets on the quest to find a "Sarchi Cart", which is one of the few authentic Costa Rican crafts.  There were hundreds of Sarchi carts available, but I wanted a particular size in a particular color, so we came up empty handed.  We did, however, have a nice, overpriced al fresco lunch at the Grand Hotel.   

Our flight tomorrow is at 6 AM which means a 3:45 AM departure from the Alta Hotel.  It's going to be a long day, but we are going home.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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