Friday, October 7, 2011

Costa Rica & Panama - Part 4

Friday, Sept. 9th:

We checked out of the hostel, grabbed a quick breakfast and ate it on the water taxi to the main island of Colon (where we would be diving from). Two girls that were at the hostel with us, Kirsten and Debbie – were diving with us that day and we actually ended up hanging out with them the entire day. We got everything fitted at the dive shop and went to the first dive site – I believe it was called Buoy Line. It was alright. I guess I’m pretty spoiled after our dive trips to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still super fun…but I didn’t really see anything I hadn’t seen a lot of times before. There actually weren’t that many fish, and not as much coral as I had expected, but it was still fun to get a dive in, it had been over a year since I had been diving. After the first dive my skin started to get really irritated where I had the scrapes and stuff from the bike accident (I was wearing a diving skin, so it was rubbing against my skin and hurt pretty bad). I opted out of the second dive and walked around Bocas Town instead. It was kind of neat to have a little alone time to explore the town, plus I needed to go to the pharmacy to buy some hydrocortisone cream for my legs, they had been eaten up by sand fleas! It was pretty bad!! How Frank had zero bites, I do not know, they must have just really liked me! Oh well, it was worth it! I found out that baby oil on your legs will keep them away…but I found that out a little too late.

Frank was back about 2 hrs later from the second dive. We left our bags at Kirsten and Debbie’s hostel and went with them to lunch at a restaurant that was on a boat in the water. The food there wasn’t that great, but the ambiance was fun. We had a few pina coladas, which were delicious!

After a late lunch Frank and I figured we should probably find out where we are staying that night (we decided to stay on the main island, so we’d be close to the airport). We spent the last night of our vacation at Bocas Paradise Hotel. It’s on the water, but our room was on the side of the building and didn’t face the water. It was a nice room, probably the nicest place we stayed the whole trip….we had AC, a TV…and wifi! We were high-rolling! Ha.
We met up with Kirsten and Debbie and split a cab to Starfish Beach on the other side of the island (where the photos above were taken). Enter – crazy driver #2. I swear I thought we were going to flip the truck taxi going around those curves, but I guess he knew what he was doing, because we all survived! Once we got there we all walked about a 20 minutes to Starfish beach – it was a beautiful walk…we took tons of photos. It’s crazy how each beach is so similar, yet so different and beautiful in its own ways. At Starfish beach we rented snorkels and we were basically the only people there besides one other couple. The water was so clear and there were several starfish hanging out on the ocean floor – it was pretty neat. We walked back to the main beach so the taxi could pick us up while the sun was setting over Panama…such a beautiful sunset.

We thought about going to one of those crazy Full Moon parties that they were having on the island that night, but decided against it. It was from 10PM-6AM on the other side of the island, and we had a flight to catch the next morning! Since we had internet at the hotel, I got on Trip Advisor and tried to figure out where we should eat on the last night of our vacation. The restaurant that I really wanted to try was shut down, so we wandered the streets looking for this other restaurant I wanted to try. I finally gave up and walked into the next restaurant that looked pretty decent…once we got the menu’s we figured out it was the restaurant we had been looking for the whole time! Haha. Oops. Welp, at least we made it there, one way or another!

The menu was in Spanish, but we deciphered it the best we could and I ordered a mahi-mahi dish and Frank got a filet with some sort of white wine sauce. Holy guacamole batman…the food was sooo good. I’m so glad we stumbled into that restaurant the last night there. We sat near the road (everything is outdoors…this town almost reminded me of a Caribbean New Orleans, but MUCH smaller, of course). Apparently there was some drama going on, because the people inside the restaurant were watching surveillance videos and the cops kept driving by and stopped in a few times. Who knows…we never really figured out what the heck was going on. Maybe someone had broken in earlier that day?

After dinner we went straight back to the hotel and to sleep- long day :).

Saturday, Sept. 10th:

Landing back in Costa Rica

Have we really been on vacation a week already, and now it’s over?? You can’t make me leave!

We woke up to thunderstorms, lightening…and yup, no electricity. Well, this doesn’t look so good for leaving on a small King Air turboprop this morning. Hmm. We pack up and walk in the rain to the airport where the electricity is also off. We noticed planes taking off and landing, so I suppose the weather isn’t affecting flights, whew! Pretty sure if there was no electricity at the Atlanta airport, all flights would come to a screeching halt!

After hanging out a whilte we boarded the King Air and had a fun flight back to San Jose. Too bad it was cloudy and raining the whole time, I was looking forward to seeing Costa Rica from the sky. I’m one of those weird people that don’t mind flying through some turbulence, so I thought it was pretty cool to be in a small plane and bumping our way through the storm back to Costa Rica…ha. Roller Coaster!

Once we landed at the small airport in Costa Rica, we had to take a taxi to the San Jose Int'l Airport...we got there in plenty of time and then just hung out at the airport before our flight back to Atlanta. I stocked us up on some coffee…enough to last for about a year!

All in all – the trip was sooo much fun and so worth waiting for. I cannot wait to go back to Central America. I definitely want to learn more Spanish before I go again, though. It would help immensely with getting around and talking with the locals. I definitely would like to see the west side of Costa Rica next time….hmm….2nd wedding anniversary, possibly???

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