Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 1 - September 9, 2011

  I got up really early for the two hour drive to the airport in Orlando - can you say 4:00am? I was scheduled on a JetBlue flight direct from Orlando to San José and I didn't have to go through Miami which was a big plus for me.  My husband volunteered to drive me to the airport so I didn't have to rent a car and drive myself to and from the airport - thanks Scott! We got to the airport around 7:30am for my 10:00 am departure. The line at check in was pretty short so the whole process only took about 20 minutes. My flight left on time and we touched down in San José at around 10:45am local time - the actual flight time was about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  At the airport I followed the signs and the rest of the passengers to Immigration and stopped to get my passport stamped. After that I went to luggage pick up and waited a short time for my luggage and then went through Customs and handed in a Customs slip and had my luggage xrayed again. I exited the airport and looked to my right and there was the transfer driver waiting for me with a Road Scholar sign. All told the whole process only took a little over half an hour. I guess it was because the airport wasn't that busy and I was on an early flight. The airport has undergone some major changes since my last visit in 2007! It is much larger and all the processes seem much more streamlined and passenger friendly.
    My transfer driver Teddy said the normal transfer time to our first hotel, the Casa Conde, is about 30 minutes if the traffic isn't too bad but can take up to an hour with heavier traffic. When I arrived at the hotel I was a little bit early for check in but I waited for about 15 minutes and the staff was able to get me into my room. The normal check in time for the hotel is 2:00pm.
  The room at the Casa Conde is similar to an extended stay hotel here in the US so it was a suite with 2 bedrooms, each with a double bed, a dining area, a kitchen and a sitting area. The amenities included a washer/dryer, iron and ironing board, refridgerator, microwave, room safe, television, phone, alarm clock, hair dryer, WIFI access (for a fee), and toiletries in the bathroom. The hotel grounds include a large swimming pool located next to the restaurant as well as a large outdoor jacuzzi, a small outdoor gym and a sauna. The hotel also has a small business center where a computer is available for use and there is free WIFI access in the lobby.

Casa Conde in San José

Ox cart at Casa Conde

  After having a late lunch in the hotel restaurant I took a short nap, then used one of the two treadmills in the gym area for about an hour and returned to my room for the night. I caught a little bit of the US Open - in English - and turned in early. Breakfast is scheduled for 7:00am on day 2 and I want to be well rested.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting ready to go!

    Tomorrow I’m off to Costa Rica to join one our Road Scholar programs. I will be visiting San José, Tortuguero (hope to see the sea turtles!), Sarapiqui, Arenal, Manuel Antonio and San Gerardo de Dota. This will be my second visit to Costa Rica and my first attempt at a blog so I’m hoping that both endeavors will be lots of fun.

    Since the weather in Costa Rica is very warm this time of year – mid 80’s in most of the places I’ll be visiting – I’ll be taking mostly shorts and t-shirts. I’m also bringing my favorite Nikes – great for all the walking we’ll do - as well as my Keens for the days when we’ll be doing our water activities - river rafting at Selva Verde and beach walks at Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio. I learned on my last visit that the humidity is pretty high (just like here in Florida) so you don’t want to get your sneakers wet because they will never get completely dry. I’ll definitely also bring along a hat, some sunglasses, sunscreen, a rain poncho (it is rainy season after all!) and of course mosquito repellent. None of the places I’m visiting have any problems with malaria so a good mosquito repellent should do the trick.

   I am so looking forward to all the fun activities as well as the chance to meet all the people that will be part of my group. Well I’m off to finish up all the last minute things that need to be done before I leave. More later!