So, we made it to Costa Rica, much to our relief! We arrived in the wee hours of Thursday morning and caught a taxi to a studio apartment we’d reserved close to the airport, just to have a place to crash for a few hours. By the time we settled in and got to sleep, it was after 4:00 a.m.
We slept heavily and rolled out of bed around 11:00 in order to get ready for 12:00 check out and find a way to get to our Airbnb in a small town near Turrialba. We couldn’t rent a car without our drivers’ licenses, which had been in our stolen bag. So, I’d been researching various costs for taking buses or taxis for the 2 to 3 hour ride from San Jose. The bus would require a few transfers and cost about $50 total. A taxi would take us door to door, and could cost up to $150. I was leaning toward taking the bus, but not looking forward to the hassle. Fortunately, our host recommended a driver, Miguel, who quoted us a rate of $75 for the drive. That made our decision a lot easier!
Miguel gave us an hour to go grab some lunch, and we arranged for a 1:30 pick up. His son, Joseph, picked us up and took us on the long, windy drive out to the farmland.
When we arrived to our Airbnb, “Peaceful House,” we were immediately enchanted by the lovely guest house on a beautifully lush, landscaped property. Our hosts, Tere and her son Jhon, welcomed us. Tere showed us around the three-bedroom guest house and the lovely property, and then immediately offered to take us into town to get groceries when we asked about a store. It was so kind of her!
When we returned from the store in the nearby town of La Suiza, we were well stocked for our stay! We enjoyed a wonderful week lounging by the pool, eating meals and sipping wine in the poolside gazebo, watching birds, butterflies, and chameleons, and generally relaxing.
After a couple days of just chilling out, we were able to walk the 25 minutes into La Suiza for some shopping on Saturday evening. On Sunday, we decided to take the public bus into Turrialba to check out the city. We walked around, ran a couple errands, and grabbed some snacks at a soda, but didn’t do too much sight seeing. We made plans to come back into town the next day to see about the possibility of a rafting trip on the Pejibaye River.
Monday afternoon, we reserved a horseback tour of the nearby Aquiares Coffee Farm. This required a bus into Turrialba, where we reserved a Tuesday rafting trip, and then a second bus up into the hills to the town of Aquiares. Despite the persistent drizzle, it was a beautiful town. At the start of our tour, we got a ride on a farm truck to the hacienda. There, we met up with the rest of our group and were served some delicious food and coffee on a patio. Our guide, Celia, along with two cowboys, got us geared up with rain ponchos and settled onto our horses, then led our group of seven on a lovely ride through the coffee farm. The scenery was incredible! We rode through hills of coffee plants and eucalyptus trees, then into some lush riverside terrain where we rode down to a beautiful waterfall.
By the time our ride ended, we were sore but exhilarated! We finished with a walking tour of the processing facilities. We saw the machines for sorting, drying, and roasting, and met some of the workers. All in all, it was a really beautiful, fun, and educational experience!
Our evening bus ride back to Turrialba was dark and rainy, and we had a crazy run from one bus stop to the main terminal, several blocks away, in order to catch our bus to La Suiza. After hopping off the first bus, we ran in the dark and the rain, getting directions to the main terminal from laughing Costa Ricans under umbrellas and awnings. We were soaked completely through when we frantically found and jumped on the correct bus ten minutes later. We laughed at how pathetic we were throughout most of the 20 minute ride back to the house!
Tuesday morning, we had arranged for a river rafting trip with Adrenalina Rafting. The owner had offered us a significant discount on the cost (slow season), which we had jumped on in order to spend some time on the river. We were picked up at the house shortly after 8:30 and enjoyed a lovely, 45 minute drive, through hills and sugar cane fields, to the river.
Our trip down the river was awesome! It was the first time rafting for everyone else in my family, so they were not sure what to expect. The rapids were fairly gentle and the scenery was incredible. The water was a bit low, so our raft got stuck a few times in the rocks, but our guide, Luis, always found a way to get us back on track. We finished with a delicious lunch at a riverside soda and were exhausted and happy as we made the ride back to the house.
We had a very late flight out of Costa Rica on Wednesday, so we spent the day lounging by the pool and eating what was left in the fridge. Joseph picked us up at 5:00, and we’ve been on the road ever since. Now, after 24 hours of traveling, we are almost home!