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Old 04-08-2013, 10:20 AM   #106
tufbuf
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Gonecruisin, will they allow a GoPro attached to a head strap on the helmet?
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #107
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Oh! They have helmet cams you can purchase. A few people (mostly the boys but an adult or two too) got these and seemed to think it was fun. I'm not sure if they'll allow you to bring your own though.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:26 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonecruisin View Post
Oh! They have helmet cams you can purchase. A few people (mostly the boys but an adult or two too) got these and seemed to think it was fun. I'm not sure if they'll allow you to bring your own though.
How much do they cost? Is it good quality? We will bring it anyway, it's a very small equipment, useful for rafting as well. c:
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:45 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by tufbuf View Post
How much do they cost? Is it good quality? We will bring it anyway, it's a very small equipment, useful for rafting as well. c:
We've noticed in some of these places; as long as you are willing to make the "whole" they will let you use your own equipment for the cost of their rental This matters to DH becasue he wants to use his cameras and gear, even if it costs him!
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:23 PM   #110
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I can't remember how much it cost for their helmet cams. I honestly had little interest in it so wasn't paying attention. Afterward, we got a glimpse of one of the boy's videos and it was good quality but again I turned away to check out the gift shop so ....

Day Six

The view from our balcony



pretty sweet. Down below was one of the pools.



There is another pool on the other side of the resort. Not too far away. You had to keep the doors closed because 1 it was very hot outside and the ac was not very powerful and 2 there were birds right there and someone saw a raccoon climbing from balcony to balcony.

Today would be another busy day! Sugar Cane Plantation, horseback riding and a boat tour! So we were up early for breakfast and back on the bus! It was suggested to wear pants for the horseback riding. The Hacienda el Viejo was about an hour away and really lovely. It had been completely restored. The buildings and the grounds were one of the prettiest I had seen all week.







This is hot dry country and the heat and the sun quickly became oppressive. Dress cool, wear sunscreen, stay hydrated. After stopping at the main house to use the bathrooms we met a guide at an ox pulled press for a sugar cane pressing demonstration.



Don't let the shade fool you, it was hot. The kids thought this was fun. Sugar canes were pressed and we all got to taste a small cupful of the juice. From here we walked to period house for a hands-on tortilla making demonstration.



Each kid got to make a tortilla and several of them shared with the grownups They were very good! This was a fun activity. The commentary was sparse but I'm not sure there's much to say about flattening a tortilla? There were dogs roaming about and chickens and iguanas. We toured the home which was bare bones and simple but interesting.

On to the horseback riding!



I'm not a confident rider but I think I did very well. Getting saddled up took a while as they matched horse to rider. My horse was a bit agitated (as a fellow Adventuerer who did know a thing or two about horses told me. His ears were facing backward which means he's either listening to me talk or he's agitated?) The horses were well trained but La Chica's insisted on being at the front and off she went. Mine also wanted to take the lead but I was able to keep him in line.
The ride was hot and dusty. We really didn't ride along the river - mostly on the road shown above. So the scenery was dull but I still had fun. La Chica didn't enjoy it though and 1/2 hr ride was enough for her.

Next up was a boat tour of local wildlife.



I loved this! We saw an amazing array of animals. It was well guided and fascinating. The covered boat was shady and comfortable.

white faced monkeys



lots of different types of iguanas. This guy's hot that's why his mouth is open.



lots of crocodiles. This one is hot too. Did I mention that it was hot?



And best of all - a pair of motmots! National bird of Nicaragua. Sorry the picture isn't great. I was excited. Get a load of that beautiful tail...





Back to the hacienda for lunch which was very good. Simple but very good. Open air out on the porch where we could catch the breeze and relax. The view was lovely and we finished by storming the gift shop. lol



Another really full day! We headed back to the hotel where we swam, read by the pool for about an hour and then showered and dressed for our Farewell dinner. Fico and Geraldine really did a great job with this. There was a heartwarming slideshow of all the pictures they had taken of us over the course of the week - the kids loved this. We didn't exactly learn how to make mojitos but I did watch the bartender make mine and it was very good. The music -- I have to mention the music! Two young men playing guitars and singing so beautifully I thought they were very good. We were also treated to a delicious meal at a very pretty open air room.

All too soon people made their way back to their rooms. Some of them had very early flights home the next day. There were bags to pack, kids to put to bed and wake up calls to be arranged. It was at this moment that I treated myself to another mojito as congratulations on having planned to stay an extra day. La Chica and I would be sleeping in tomorrow!! salud!

Last edited by Gonecruisin; 04-10-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:49 PM   #111
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Wow!! Thanks for the awesome trip report!!

How early do you meet in the morning/get up? I am no morning person and if you were meeting at 6 every morning I have to psych myself to do so and be prepared.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #112
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Thx Still have one more day I want to share with everyone. I think most days we were on the bus by 8-8:30 am, sometimes earlier, and gone for the better part of everyday. It was a hectic pace at times but we saw and did so much.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:42 PM   #113
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Thanks for sharing ~ I've loved reading about your trip! My big question now is, what is your opinion on pre and post nights? I'm almost ready to start looking at flights for our trip next March, and not sure what makes sense. The post night is super expensive, but it looks like we may be looking at a super-early morning either way...6am flight if we want to get home the same day...what was the situation with transportation to the airport in Liberia, and did you do your post-night through ABD? And maybe I'm asking all these questions prematurely, since you said you still have a day to discuss!!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:26 AM   #114
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We didn't do a pre or post day stay on this trip, but after doing the trip, if I was to choose, I would do a pre-tour day. The hotel in San Jose was very nice, and had the most comfortable beds I wasn't as impressed with the last location. We did a post day on our previous trip and we actually found it rather depressing to stay when most everyone else was leaving. I will never do an end of trip extra day again, for that reason. We are doing an extra pre-day on our trip to Ireland this summer.
I hope that is helpful.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #115
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Ahhh The pre-stay/post-stay debate. I definitely have an opinion on this subject too and unfortunately a lot of it concerns the last hotel, the Villa Sol. Frankly it wasnt that great. Certainly not worth the money and I wouldn't stay there again. What was wrong with the place? Well, our room was directly across from the reception desk and we could hear every word said when we were in our bathroom - I'm being totally serious - The voices were so clear that you'd swear there was some sort of access door there. There wasn't of course but it begged the question of what can they hear?
The ABD family next door to us had repeated problems with the lock on their door that never seemed to get resolved.
And this was the night that our sleep was interrupted at 2 am by a man screaming at the reception desk that he wanted his ac fixed NOW! This expletive laced rant lasted for at least 20 mins. Remember I said the ac wasnt "powerful" ? I was being kind. I'm from Boston where a lot of places dont even have ac so we did ok but yeah the ac was probably not up to par if you're from, say, Texas.
The food was just ok and both La Chica and I are convinced we got some tummy trouble from it. We had been fine all week long but I was reduced to eating just toast & jam for breakfast rather than risk eating something that I would regret later.
And lastly we booked a sunset cruise for our last day there and were immediately subjected to an unwanted hard sell time share pitch. On top of everything else, this was simply a turn off.

So having said that, let me now say this:
1. You will not be sorry with a pre-stay. Being able to rest after the flights at the gorgeous Marriott is the perfect way to begin your vacation & adventure.
2. And I highly recommend a post-stay too. Surprised? Well, let me finish... at another hotel. La Chica and I really enjoyed our last day in Costa Rica and it was nice to relax after the hectic pace of the tour. But there are other hotels *right on the beach!* that are affordable and pretty nice looking. Sure you forfeit the ABD transfers to the airport if you do this but we're talking the price of a taxi here. Plus, a longer vacation is never a bad thing, right? So if you can, extend your adventure on both ends. You're already there, right? Why rush home?

So our last day in Costa Rica. We lazed in our rooms, lingered at our balcony breakfast table (eating toast lol)



and were still able to say goodbye to some of our fellow Adventurers as they boarded the airport shuttle van. We said our farewells as we watched this guy eat the resort's flowers



Then we spent the day lounging and reading by the pool. Our van for the sunset cruise would be by to pick us up at 3:30 so we had plenty of time and it was soooo relaxing. We managed to find shady seats at both pools and made the most of this time to ourselves.

The sunset cruise - I would absolutely recommend this if you're looking for a fun simple activity. It was pricey - I think it was $60pp (free if you went on a 2 hr tour of the time share deals! ) but I enjoyed it. Dress casual. Wear flip flops. A small group of us boarded this little boat that took us out to that sail boat waaaaaaaay out there.



There she is, the Jessica Anne



On board we had beer, soda, fruit, dips & chips. We sailed way out. It was peaceful and really nice. The husband/wife crew were lovely, funny, informative and our fellow travelers were really interesting to talk to. (These were the people who gave us the tip of considering a beach side hotel instead. As a matter of fact, they were checking out of the Villa Sol the next day and checking into one of the beach hotels for the same reasons I listed above.)

The sunset was really pretty. We made a circle around Monkey Head Rock (see it? lol)




as the sun dipped below the horizon.



It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Costa Rica.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:19 PM   #116
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Wow! That's it! I've finished a trip report! I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you have a more informed impression of Costa Rica. I hope you found it useful. I do a ton of research before a big trip and read as many trip reports as possible and I always want more information so I hope this helps someone plan their vacation.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment/question - it's nice to know I'm not just talking to myself But even if you didn't, thanks for reading.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:24 AM   #117
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Thanks for a great trip report! I saved some of your pics that were better than ones I took.....we don't have to tell anyone they weren't mine

I see we agree on the last hotel. The view was nice, but not the accommodations or food. To be fair the food on this trip was not a highlight. Not a trip for a true foodie, you won't go hungry though. Our dinner at the Marriott on our own, was the best formal meal we had, but I also enjoyed the Arroz con Pollo I had at 2 different small restaurants, lots of cilantro...yum.

I'm not sure why ABD chose this last hotel, economics probably. Usually the trips end at a great location, kind of like having a great dessert; even if the meal is mediocre, if you end with a great dessert, you remember the whole meal as better than it may have been.
In spite of that, I still remember the trip as great.....great adventure, and great people to share it with.

My favorite place to stay was Tortuguero. The most rustic location, but because of that, I felt like we were camping in the rainforest. It was exactly the feel I wanted, coming to Costa Rica, and the staff there were incredibly warm and friendly.

Great trip and great memories..once again, thanks to ABD!
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:29 AM   #118
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Thanks for your review! This trip has changed drastically since we did it 5 + years ago! I like that they added Torteguero and the sail looks like a great addition too!
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:48 AM   #119
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Thank you Gonecruisin for a great trip report.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #120
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Great Trip Report, Gonecruisin'! Please be sure and put a link to this wonderful report in the Trip Report Sticky!

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