Sunday, August 29, 2010
Volcan Arenal to Puntarenas. August 26 - 28, 2010
We decided to take a break and stay in the Volcan Arenal area on Thursday for one more day. We drove to the other side of the volcano and soon realized we were in tourist territory. The volcanic area is well known for it's hot springs and there were some beautiful resorts, all with hot springs and spas. Many very expensive. We checked out 4 of the best and one The Baldi Resort stood out. It was not the most expensive but it was absolutely gorgeous. If you are ever in this area of Costa Rica and want to splurge, this is the place. You can get a room (all face the volcano), breakfast and dinner, full use of resort facilities for $150.00 a night. We would like to splurge and stay there one night with the kids but.. no dogs allowed. We will however bring Danny and Nicole here to use the resort. That cost is $26.00 per person. We had also seen many smaller hotels and lodges and went into one called Carlos Lodge. Perfect. A cabina for us (again all face the volcano), dogs welcomed was $50.00 including breakfast. We talked to the manager and he agreed that when we return with the kids we can get 2 cabinas and they will take care of Winston for us whilst we go to the spa resort. We had thought we would have to take Winston and leave him in the RV, while one of us every hour or so would come out and walk him but now he has a place to stay and people to walk him so he's not cooped up. Excellent. We slept that night in bed with a full view of the volcano, again lots of hissing and smoke, no lava. Friday found us up and ready for what should have been a fairly easy drive to the port of Puntarenas, where we will stay at Danilo and Nidia's home. As we were getting back on the Panamericana there was a huge junction. mcDonalds, KFC, Burger King etc. Tom wants KFC. By now it is pouring with rain so we pull in, walk Winston and decide instead to go to a restaurant and eat and try to wait out the downpour. It was 4pm, when we left to a steady rain but not torrential with about 50 kms (30 mile) to Puntarenas. There by 5:30, Tom predicted. He is definitely not wired in to the psychic network. As we leave the town of Esparza, the traffic comes to a dead stop. We are sandwiched between 2 huge trucks - remember this is the Panamericana, the only truck route between Central America, Costa Rica and Panama. Truckers, people in cars, all are walking around. Probably an accident, it will clear in an hour or so was the verdict, these people are not part of the psychic network either. We sit, eat, sit, walk Winston, sit. It is dark and rainy. Tom reads his book, Winston sleeps, I sit. The idleness is killing me. We chat. Our worry is that the road opens, everyone moves and we do not know where we are going. 9:30pm. We decide to drive forward and at least see what is ahead. Tom puts on our emergency flashers and we take off on the wrong side of the road. Not a mile ahead, we come to cones and police. We are told it was a rockslide and though they are in the process of clearing, there was no time schedule. There was nothing to do but turn around and go back to Esparza. We had seen a Texaco station that looked as though there was plenty of parking. The Texaco gas station on the outskirts of Esparza. Only stay here in an absolute emergency, with zero other options. It is noisy, loud, did I say noisy. There is a bar/discoteque across the highway. They played music at a decibel level equivalent to those of jet engines until the extreme wee hours of the morning. Tom read, I tried to sleep, Tom tried to sleep, I read. Then the music stopped. Thank you God. Ten minutes later as dawn streaks the horizon, the trucks start up. The road is open. Gentleman, start your engines. They idle to warm up, their air brakes squeal, a cacaphony of beeps and horns belt out as they back up. Like I said, stay here only in an emergency. Sleep deprived, I get up and make coffee. We take off and half hour later are in Punarenas, we were so close but so far away. We find the house with no problems. Talk with Francis the housekeeper and get electricity for the RV. That settled, we walk across the street to the beach. Puntarenas is a port town for both ferries and cruise ships. No cruise ships today, so the town is quiet. The ferries transport vehicles and people from here to the Nicoya peninsula and we decide we may try it when the kids arrive to get us back from Tamarindo instead of driving. We get back to the RV and I grab a lounge chair and my book. After yesterday, I am gong to relax. Tom wants to explore more of the town so whilst Winston and I settled on the beach, Tom took off again, in the other direction. I had my eye on the ocean. After about 3 hours, the clouds atarted to form and I could see rain starting on the horizon. I folded my chair, sorted out WInston's leashes and we had just started to cross the road when the downpour began. By the time we got back to the RV, we were drenched and no Tom. I knew he just had on a T shirt so hopefully he can hunker down somewhere until the worst of it is over. After about an hour, the rain had abated and 20 minutes later in walks Tom, also totally drenched. We chat, read and eat dinner at the hotel next door. It was an early night, quiet and peaceful. No disco music, no trucks, just the way I like it.