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Published: August 2nd 2012
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Souvenir Hunting

Even though we are going North when we leave Tarcoles we are going inland a bit so we decided to drive up to Puntarenas which is the capital of this area. All the guide books say Puntarenas is not a particularly nice place – but the pictures I've seen of the front seem OK?

Anyway we lurked in the pool for probably longer than we would normally – had breakfast and then drove off.

Stopped for some petrol on the way – we filled the car for about £40 – it's about 80p a litre – quite a bit cheaper than the UK. This car even though big and powerful is reasonably economical particularly as the max speed on the roads seems to be around 50 miles an hour.

The drive into Puntarenas was reasonably uneventful apart from a car pulling across the road in front of me – which I slowed for – but the fuel tanker behind me was going much to quickly and I saw was going to have trouble stopping before it ran into me so I pulled over to the side. This fuel tanker then undertook the car (a bit later on) and when it tried to speed up and overtake wouldn't let it past! Awful driving there could have been a serious accident – it was like something out of one of those American duel type films!

Puntarenas was a typical port type town – not particularly nice on the way in – but the centre seemed fine. We went down to the front and a massive Cruise Ship was in – the Sun Princess. All round the ship a tourist market had sprung up – and we wandered around looking at the souvenirs and nick-nacks. Very good prices – much cheaper surprisingly than the store we visited a couple of days ago. Matthew was pleased he managed to get his frogs – and to be fair they sound pretty good.

We bought a few other bits and pieces but as you may be receiving one I won't divulge here...

After looking around we headed out of Puntarenas and stopped for lunch at a lovely restaurant that looked over the bay and lake. Food was good – as was the WiFi – so we eat and uploaded at the same time. While we were in the restaurant it threw it down with rain – but by the time we came out it had just about stopped. We headed back towards Tarcoles.

The geocache in Tarcoles we think is in one of the trees that blew down in the storm – that is unlucky as it was only placed there 3 weeks ago! I've captured the co-ordinates so we'll look for it tomorrow.

We needed a little food and money so we headed past Tarcoles to the supermarket and bank. One the way theres a very interesting place on the right hand side Villa Ca... that is supposed to have great views so we popped in to look. Lovely boutique hotel with stunning views – spiders and a poisonous dart frog on the steps of reception. Got some interesting Spider shots...

Picked up some bread and cheese and back to the house for our last night here. Looks like a lovely sunset – so we popped over and took some pictures before coming back and getting in the pool to cool off. Dinner was simple but lovely and we watched a bit of the Olympics before popping out to Outback Jacks for a quick drink, curly fries and Natchos (and free WiFi...).

So after a week here it's been lovely but we miss the easy access to information you get with the Internet. Everything becomes a bit more of a challenge!

Back at the house time for one more game of Spin Uno – or watch the Olympics? Olympics won!

1st of August we leave and head Northwards to around the Arenal Volcano. We are looking for a reasonable hotel, with a pool and WiFi... Shouldn't be that difficult should it?

Leaving Tarcoles - 1st August 2012

Ok so we awoke to a glorious blue sky and the temperature rising...and rising. In the pool before you could say Michael Phelps! Guess what happened? The Internet guy turned up with our router at 8 am. plugged it in and we were on-line! Argggggh – only taken a week and we are leaving. To make it worse the connection was really strong. Really really good – we had everyone on-line and it didn't seem to have any impact whatsoever!

Anyway we were packed and ready to go by about 10.00 – Patri was there to see us off and apologized sincerely for the lack of Internet but to be honest it was hardly her fault and she did everything in her power to get it back.

The door frame in our bedroom had completely fallen apart during our stay – it had been eaten from the inside by some form of termite – until all that was left was the outside. It was paper thin and eventually the door just fell off. Then we came back one day and the top of the door was on the floor! Anyway Patri knew it was a problem and had arranged for the odd-job man to fix it before new people came in this evening. The pool was also looking a bit green – though was spotlessly clean – Patri lobbed in a chemical once we were out of it.

Anyway we left and looked for the Geocache in Tarcoles – but at 33C it was a little hot to be wandering around in deep undergrowth in sandals.... so we quickly gave that a miss.

Back in the car and over Tarcoles bridge – if you ever wanted to get rid of bodies in Costa Rica just lob them over the bridge – over 200 Crocodiles per mile in this strectch – wouldn't leave much for the Policia to find!

Then back towards Puntarenas – it was hot hot hot – 33C blue sky. We decided to head to Monteverde – which is one of the 3 sights in Costa Rica everyone should see – Cloud Rain Forest. So we tapped it into the GPS and off we went. Not far along the road it signaled right and we started to go upward. For the first couple of miles it was fine then the road became “un-paved” which basically meant it had been washed away over time. The road also got narrower and there was about 16 km of reasonable severe off-road as we climbed into the mountains. On both sides of the road at one point there was close to a thousand feet drop – good job I'd had that coffee before we left the house!

I'm getting into the Costa Rican driving though a Milk Tanker was going up the hill quite slowly and the car behind wouldn't overtake it so I followed the example of the car which overtook all of us... This car then proceeded to break down so I overtook that as well. As we approached Monteverde the road became tarmaced again. We looked for a hotel and found a few nice ones eventually staying at El Establo the Mountain Hotel – look it up at www.hotelelestablo.com

Lovely place – WiFi in main areas – couple of swimming pools, tennis courts, stunning view, football pitch. Restaurants, nature trails etc.. As it's very quiet this time of year we got the place for less than ½ price which was really good.

Checked in unpacked and nipped out for some lunch in a really nice Pizzeria just round the corner – Jimmys. Then back to the hotel for a swim and some football. Strange little pitch with small goals – we all tried scoring and its not easy even when someone isn't in front of you!

By now it was getting dark and started to rain – we are in the Rain Forest after all! When it rains – it really rains – you could see it coming and then hear it!

Kids watched Ratatouille, Christopher Internet-ed and Catherine and I popped over to the supermarket to get a few supplies. Which led to a impromptu snack fast in the room.

The room is great – lovely view and on 2 floors – so we have a massive square bed on each floor and a single bed. I hope the pictures show how nice it is.

Watching a bit of Olympics in Spanish – well done to Bradley Wiggins – or Sir Brad as it's likely to be before long!

Tomorrow we are going to go into the rain forest – probably the St Elena one rather than the Monteverde one as we believe the St Elena one will be quieter and we have more chance of seeing monkeys.

Looking forward to another day.


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2nd August 2012

cheapskate
If you receive one of the presents we got them very exclusively and not cheap at all!!!! X
2nd August 2012

Blog
Love catching up with what you're up to! Love looking at the photos!

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