Travel Day. Costa Rica: My 10 Day Wellness Reset
Travel Day to Costa Rica, it was finally here. I had been waiting for 10 long years to go back. As mentioned in the prologue chronicling this trip, we had a false start in 2020 but the pandemic had other plans. 2022 gave us the green light and I booked that ticket in April for a September departure on United Airlines, as I wanted to get travel in before the deadline to capitalize on the non-change penalty credits which expires December 31st of this year.
September was not my first choice of time to go I mean, it’s a heavier part of the rainy season in North and Central Costa Rica. But what we quickly experienced upon arriving, though the heavens opened as soon as we made our way out of the terminal heading to meet Frank our ride and guide, once on the road to Sarchi, it began to slack up with a drizzle here and there. So though it was the rainy season, that didn’t mean it’s a washout. It rained every day we were there but that didn’t stop our fun, not at ALL!
Most days had mornings that were sunny and so beautiful with rain arriving about 2:00 in the afternoon. And though it was the rainy season, each day was absolutely tremendous for Costa Rica was very healing for our souls!
Something Old and A Lot of The New
It was pretty much smooth sailing at Newark Airport though a bit confusing. The line to check in wasn’t too bad and moved fairly quickly but when I saw we had to use a kiosk and do our own check-in I was like, really? It’s 6:30 in the morning, why I gotta do someone else’s job???
I hadn’t flown in 4 years, so I was not up on all the bells and whistles to check-in with all the new kiosks and new procedural stuff, and trying to figure out which way was up to put the passport in the machine prompted me to say ‘I WANT A HUMAN PLEASE!’ But there was no Human to be found as the two I did see were helping other customers a distance away so it was ‘Bird putcha thinking cap on now girl, wake up!’
Ok, got us checked in as I began to get the hang of things but now it was time to put the label on the luggage, phew, here comes a Human! He probably heard my telekinetic rays telling SOMEBODY to come help us ahora (now). So he finished the process but as he asked me to put my luggage onto the belt I found myself getting that flutter I used to get prior to looking at the scale to make sure the bag wasn’t over the limit.
Which is rather ridiculous as I have a hand-held scale that I use to weigh my bags at home and knew what the weight was! You see, anticipation of what can go wrong is always a discomfort to the body and part of what contributes to our stress and anxiety levels.
I had to remind myself of that.
All done checking in, it was time to go through that other bastion of stress, THE SECURITY LINE.
What Are We Supposed to Do???
However…where the security line used to be was replaced by the elite TSA PreCheck line (which neither of us had paid to join). So that meant we had to find where the line was for us average folk. And that was kinda hilarious because all it took was getting on the wrong down escalator to end up in the wrong place, baggage claim!
‘Miss I Know What I’m Doing’ made that happen. Instead of following the agent’s instructions, she went her own way ’cause she ‘knew’ what she was doing. Man, I told her to stay home but she insisted on coming on the trip. When she’s right she’s on point, but when she’s wrong, oh boy…and of course…
…finding our way back up to the starting point to get on the correct down escalator took some doing. Good thing we got to the airport with lots of time to f— up. My advice is to always leave f— up time when traveling.
So after some stops and starts we finally arrive at the security line for the not-elite. As expected, there was a long line to go through security, though not as bad as other times that I’ve experienced, but bad enough.
All set to remove my shoes, take my liquids out and remove my tablet, I noticed some folks were going through with their shoes and I’m like HUH? Even the agents were confused as one began telling folks to remove their shoes only to be told we didn’t have to. I was also able to leave my liquids and tablet in my bag after I asked the agent who was spitting out instructions like a Sargeant to repeat herself (lawd why did I ask that?) only for her to repeat them just as fast and unintelligible as the first time. But this time with attitude.
It was like being reprimanded. Dang, just wanted to make sure I heardja correctly darlin.
Nonetheless, It Was A Great Travel Day
Those little glitches aside, it was a great travel day! I had been reading horror stories about all the chaos in air travel during the summer, but things were relatively painless.
But geez Louise, the amount of text and email messages sent to make sure I was ‘Travel Ready’ (yes I was) and had I bought my snacks–I did not, I packed our lunches thank you very much. It’s amazing how a la carte the airlines have become, so while you may find a cheap flight, by the time you pay for more legroom so the seat in front of you isn’t in your chest, (y’all ain’t packin’ sardines, we are people!) pay for your aisle or window seat, (say what?) buy snacks in advance if you’re so inclined and let’s not forget paying for your luggage whether the price of gas goes up or down, I found that the price of our tickets wasn’t much the bargain after all.
I don’t know if all the airlines are doing these things but United sure is. Anywho, aside from those surprises, the flight was very pleasant. We were delayed a bit because there were storms along the route and the flight plan was changed so they had to stock up on gas. That I didn’t mind, I definitely wanted them to get that right fo’ sho!
Are We There Yet? YES!
Upon landing we breeze through Customs as there weren’t long lines, heck I’d even made the agent laugh after I poured on my very bad Spanish. Poor guy was hysterical by the time I was finished with him! I’m like what, “no comprende mi Espanol malo? you don’t understand my bad Spanish? que? que? (why? why?) You know when they ask where are you staying? There aren’t street addresses in CR (well Google says there are but I was astounded to see a few signs in La Fortuna) (Here’s more about that in an interesting article from 2021 in The Costa Rica Daily)
(I also loved the upgrade in not having to fill out those garish forms anymore on the plane to go through Customs, woo-hoo! Also loved not having to declare stuff on the way back either, remember, I hadn’t flown in 4 years so this was all new).
And man those folks got the luggage off the plane so fast, we were standing at the carousel waiting for nothing as our bags were already off on the side. When it dawned on us this was the case, we saw all the bags being rounded up to move but retrieved ours just in time.
Now it was time to find Frank, our transport and tour guide for the next 10 days. Since we had been Whatsapping since 2020 I already knew he was a Bright Shining Soul. Upbeat with a Joyous personality, we were in very very good hands and he greeted us like long lost friends. A great event in our first day of travel, meeting Frank.
Earlier I told you the Heavens opened upon our arrival and it did. Drizzling as we made our way to the parking lot but then it let loose as if to say, ‘welcome to Costa Rica during the rainy season y’all, here’s a deluge for ya!’ It was coming DOWN and at first my fears of getting rained out seemed to be real but then as we moved toward the town of Sarchi, it began to slacken.
Now for my next ‘time-to-get-your-nerves-together-kid’ encounter, the travel from San José to Sarchi was kinda nerve-wracking. Getting used to the driving culture in different countries is something…well, something that takes getting used to…woo-lawd!
I had wanted to visit Sarchi on my previous trip but didn’t make it on that go ’round. This time I made sure it happened! When I told Frank I wanted to visit there, he suggested we hit the artisan town known for handcrafts on our way to or from the airport. I chose the latter and it was a beautiful thang! Though overcast with rain threatening, it didn’t dampen our spirits nor prevent us from what I wanted to see.
While in the square, we saw a replica of the world’s largest oxen cart. It was AMAZING to view, plus we got some of the history from Frank. All the detail, all painted by hand.
Then after hanging a bit in the square, it was off to conduct important business: SHOPPING!
And of course the rule is that after you shop you must eat! So it was back on the road heading toward our final destination of the day, Bio Thermales and on the way, Frank took us to a local restaurant named Rancho de Ceci and the reason I have not one picture to show from there is because I was too busy attending to the delicious items on my plate!
Homeward Bound (in Costa Rica, that is)
We arrived after dark to our beloved Bio Thermales and our dear friends and hosts Kathy and Bernie, who promptly gave us a brief tour to show us much of the new additions to their magical oasis that was created in the decade since we were last there. It was so good to see them and be in their company.
So full of Gratitude for them.
Costa Rica, we LOVE YOU! Pura Vida!!! (Pure Life)
They are #1 in Ranchos on Trip Advisor and the 8th Best Air B&B in the world
Frank Tours: Facebook
And if you missed the prologue catch it here
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