Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zip Lining, Lost Reservations, and Flying Burritos

Ojochal, Costa Rica Vacation Day 8    April 13, 2012

I guess you could say we were looking forward to this day--partially. The beginning was going to be awesome with zip lining through the rain forest, but it was also our last day in Ojochal.

We got up early to head to Osa Mountain for their zip line tour. We had heard from several people that it was the best one around. The girls were excited because they got to ride in the back of the truck up the mountain, while we followed in our SUV.

 Once at the top of the mountain, we all got geared up to go!

Gary decided to wait the tour out because of his fear of heights. That may have been a good thing since some of the platforms were over 300 feet in the air!

With a little trepidation, the four of us took off:

Costa Rica zip line

Costa Rica zip line

Costa Rica Zip line

Costa Rica zip line

Here's a fun video that gives you a good look at more of the tour:

After the tour, we headed up to the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. While driving there, we decided NOT to stay behind this guy for very long!

scary truck in San Jose, Costa Rica

The hotel we had reserved was located in Escazu, which is considered the Beverly Hills of Costa Rica. I'm not sure why it's called that, but I think it's because there are so many Americans living there, and the prices are quite expensive. It is located in the hills outside of San Jose, and has views of the central valley and some of the volcanoes.

Unfortunately the hotel (really a small bed and breakfast) was not located in our GPS, so as we got closer, I called to get directions. The gentleman who answered the phone seemed a little surprised to hear we were coming, and said he was sorry, but he had recently started working there, and could not give us directions either! He suggested flagging down a taxi, and following it to the hotel. Well, since a man was driving our car (Gary), there was no way we were going to stop and actually ASK someone for directions. So, we drove around the mountain for a little while until somehow we saw a sign for the hotel which lead us up a winding, narrow road to the very end of the street. I could not believe that Gary found it!

As we pile out of the car, we are greeted by the manager--a French Canadian who explains that there had been a wild fire a few weeks ago that came right up to the hotel. The electrical had been damaged, and the computers were fried, so they had lost our reservation and had not been expecting us! But, he welcomed us in and gave us a whole floor to ourselves as we happened to be the only guests at that time. The view was outstanding!

Photos of Hotel Mirador Pico Blanco, Escazu
(This photo of Hotel Mirador Pico Blanco is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

 And beautiful at night, too!

the lights of San Jose, Costa Rica at night

After unpacking, we decided to head out for some dinner. Not really knowing where we wanted to eat, we drove around until we spotted a TGI Friday's. I'm not normally a big fan of eating at American restaurants when I'm in another country, but we were all a bit tired from the long day and decided to take the easy way out--or so we thought. Even though we could see the restaurant on the other side of the street, the traffic was very heavy (it is a big city), and we weren't quite sure how to get there without doing a u-turn. But are u-turns legal in Costa Rica? And at this particular light? We didn't see any signs saying we couldn't, and didn't see any cops around, so Gary gave it a go. We almost got killed! Literally! People were honking at us, we ended up driving over part of the median, and the kids (and I) were screaming. But we did make it into the parking lot. Our family now affectionately remembers that incident as the "flying burrito"--as in, "Remember when Dad did that flying burrito and we all almost died??"

So after calming down, we walked into the restaurant, and discovered no one spoke English! We just had to laugh. I know, we're in a Spanish-speaking country, we shouldn't expect people to speak English, BUT this is a huge city with a large English-speaking community--AND we're in TGI Friday's! We did fine reading the menu and ordering in Spanish, but our brains were about fried by the time we walked out of there. It sure felt good to crawl into bed that night!



  1. Funny story! Except the almost dying part :/
    The prices, the traffic, the abundance of US restaurants - being in Escazu is like being in the States but without the benefit of good organization.

    1. Yes, I don't think I could live there. I guess I'm no longer a "big city girl". I used to think I'd love living in NYC, but now I just want less crowds, more peace. That's why we like the southern Pacific side of CR so much. The city has it's place, but only to visit for us! :-)