Before we headed to Costa Rica, I mentioned to Grant that I would love to make it to the beach while we were here. The closest beach to San Jose is 3 hours away by car and 5 hours by bus. He nodded his head and said “We’ll see”. I, however, figured we will never make it back to CR for 3 weeks together as a family and wanted to take advantage of being here. Besides, you can’t go to a Latin American country and not visit a beach, right?!
The school sets up excursions for you if you want them to–which made me feel much better than blindly searching for a good beach, safe hotel, transportation, etc. The first day of class we asked them to get us a price and itinerary and we would see how we felt about the whole thing. It also seemed appropriate to go the first weekend we were here because that Friday was a holiday and we didn’t have classes that day.
Vera, the magnificent coordinator for the school, got us a price, itinerary, and all the trimmings that afternoon. We had time to pray about it and decide if we wanted to spend the money and make the trip. We felt no reservation from God about moving ahead with it and booked the tickets and room the next day.
That Friday we hopped on a public bus at 9am amongst a slew of other folks headed to the same beach. Besides the bus not having air conditioning and being 1,000 degrees, all went well on the 5 hour bus ride through the curviest mountains you have ever experienced. I tried to sleep and pray through the whole ride–that I wouldn’t throw up, that EG wouldn’t have to pee, and that Asher’s battery wouldn’t run out on the old iPhone. We had also been warned that it wasn’t the safest way to travel concerning your belongings, so I had my backpack wrapped around my ankles the whole time. God heard and answered all-of-the-prayers and we arrived in Manuel Antonio around 2:30 that afternoon–sweat, backpacks, and all.
A short walk from the bus station landed us right at our dream-come-true, Hotel Espadilla. It was a magnificent hotel straight out of a magazine. I actually didn’t care if it even had a bed–I was enamored by the air conditioning. I had been hot for 6 days at that point in time. Let me clarify. I had been sticky-hot for 6 days and no one here believes in air conditioning. Spoiled much? I turned the AC on 20 degrees and laid (with or without clothes on, you will never know) on the bed. My kiddos curled up under the blankets and shivered. I’m pregnant, what can I say?
When I felt like my body temperature had decreased significantly, I agreed to head to the beach. We lathered up with sunscreen and headed out to the
heat fun. The public beach at Manuel Antonio is so beautiful and so spacious. It was great for the kids to run and play. Of course folks try to sell you all of their handmade products and beach sno-cones and fresh coconuts, but it didn’t bother me, it just added to the cultural experience.
A breakfast was included every morning at the hotel and let me tell you, America, your continental breakfast ain’t got nothin’ on this Costa Rican hotel breakfast. Fresh tropical fruits, pastries, made-to-order omelets, pancakes, fried plantains, rice, beans, fresh squeezed juice, Costa Rican coffee…the whole nine! I almost had to be rolled out of there every morning.
The pool was literally right outside our hotel door, so we spent many hours there, too. I’ll never know how we were able to stay at such a nice place for such a great price, but I trust that God had his hand in it.
The next day we took an adventurous trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. This trip was so thrilling that it deserves it’s very own post tomorrow–complete with unpredictable species and thievery. You don’t want to miss it!