2.20.2009

Starrphuk's Adventure in Costa Rica & Nicaragua

Alright then guys, this one took QUITE some time as you can see as I went to Costa Rica in February! LOL Shoot ya'll know how it is, you get back phrom Vacation and life just never stopped moving phor you so you have to kinds phind the time when you can to write. I PROMISE (well not sure about the promise but will TRY) to keep up on a day to day basis.



I flew into Liberia, Costa Rica from JFK and as usual love landing there. I love it because it is like stepping back into the 50's. You land and they open the doors put the steps up to the door and there you are, right on the Tarmac (I guess is what it is called.) and then walk right into the airport and to immigration right there. Then you get your luggage and are off on your vacation! We stayed in Liberia for the evening at a Best Western. FREE WI/FI INTERNET!!! I say that is the best hook for ANY hotel. Especially an All-Inclusive type place. (NOTE---Best Western is NOT an All-Inclusive.) If you have free internet, you are NOT at the pool bar/bar/restaurant eating and drinking. We decided to traipse around Liberia the first evening we were in C.R. I got a pedicure and then we went to grab a bite to eat. I forget the name of the place we ate at, but it was called _____ the German Bakery. LOL That is all I remember of it.
Anyhoo, after that we went back to the hotel and drank until it was time to go to bed as we had a 7am flight the next morning on Nature Air.

NATURE AIR
Well we got to the airport and went directly onto our little plane. When I say little I mean LITTLE! lol I believe it was a 20 person plane. It is the windy season so that little plane was being bumped up and down all over the dang place! Other than the turbulence, it would have been a great flight. There are panoramic windows so you can see lots of the terrain you are flying over. They are the worlds first certified zero carbon emissions airline. If you are in Costa Rica and want to cross the country quick, most definitely buy the tix from this airline.

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort
Wowza! This place is mos def one of the better places I have stayed at! From the moment you go inside the gate and are in the resort, HOLY COW!!! This place is one sweet resort. It is in the rain-forest, and is built into the forest, preserving the ecologicalness of the rain-forest. The whole place is from top to bottom AMAZING! There are 60 inch flat screens in every room (I know that is not why you are there right?! LOL) There is a screen on the sliding door which comes in very handy if you want to leave the door open but not want insects in the room. They provide you with these great robes that you wear to the spa. When you want to go to the spa you can either walk the .5 miles to it or call up for a ride and they come and pick you up and take you to the spa side.

Once they drop you off at the spa, you can hear the water flowing from entrance. you walk in and get a key and towel from the towel person. You then go into the locker room, and leave your shoesies and robe and in the locker. The key has a rubber band thingie around it so you can leave it on your wrist the whole time. You can either choose to go straight into the hot springs or into the heated mineral pool which has a swim up bar and a slide.

There is a great restaurant there that has only panini's and burgers from 4-5pm as they are getting ready for dinner. I say go for the burger as I went for a panini and it was not even heated up. Other than that, I say go for it!

After you get your fill of going down the slide and drinking at the bar, I recommend getting into the hot springs which are open until 10pm. After that they really don't like to have people in the water. The springs at the Tabacon are the only ones that are natural, the other resorts are man made, I think the expression was tapping into the main vein to make hot springs. The water in one is a great 95 degrees while in some of the others it is 105 degrees. There are waterfalls and gorgeous natural flora & fauna EVERYWHERE! There are trails leading all over the spa and you can walk the whole resort and come upon this cute little bar tucked away up at the top.

There are great places to take pictures and one or two cool pools in which to cool off in. I was there from Feb 4-6 2009. It rained the whole time but I cared not since the water was so warm, it was nice to cool off in the drizzle that was constant. It was also cool so that is why you will see lots of steam in my pictures.

Don Rufino's in La Fortuna
Oh my heavens! This Restaurant is by far one of the more great places to eat in La Fortuna. My travel buddy and I were walking around town one night and saw that they were the busiest place in town so we decided to stop in and have a few drinks there.

Once inside, we decided to eat as we saw that there were quite a few locals there eating. There is a bar with seating on the street and of course inside which is where we sat. We ordered our food and WOW! The food was absolutely amazing! The drinks were good and the prices were very reasonable. It was so great in fact we went back a second time the next night to enjoy the food. The cuts of meat are incredible, the veggies fresh, and desert..... WOWZA!

If you are ever in town, please stop by this great place and have a drink or two and order some steak... GOOD! Of course it goes without saying that the people in the restaurant were super duper nice! Great service with a smile!

Sky Adventure
Holy bananas! This was a great adventure to be on! I say if you are staying anywhere in the area, go on this tour. We asked the lady at the Tabacon if there was any good zip-lining tours and she gave us the name of several. We asked her what she thought the best one was and this was the one she picked for us. I dare say it was the wisest choice made altogether.

We got picked up and were the only two on the tour as it was cold and rainy but we still wanted to do it. Well we got there and were immediately whisked inside and got all outfitted out. Our two guides were Luis and Adolfo. Both of them were professional and quite funny. We took the Sky Tram up and while going up they gave us a quick overview of the rain forest and told us some of the history of the Volcano and the lake.

Once to the top, we were given one last chance to use the bathroom and as well decline to go further. Once you start the lines, you have to finish them. I was HYPED to start. I went first because I am a lady. :) Anyhoo, they hooked me up and off I went! They start you on two short lines to make sure you got it right. Then from there you go on the other lines that are incredibly long and exhilarating! GO ON THIS EXCURSION!!!! You can see the Arenal Volcono and Arenal Lake. Of course it was rainy and there was fog around the Volcano, but still you can see all the lush vegetation all around you. BREATHTAKING! Two thumbs up! Ask for Luis & Adolfo, two great guides. Funny as all get out.

Once we got to the Paradisus in Playa Conchal, I was ready for some dang SUN! lol We went fishing in the Pacific Ocean and I caught two fish, both Crevalles. The first one was fairly easy to reel in but that second one was INSANELY hard! It took me about 30 minutes to reel it in and still had to give it up to someone else to finish reeling in. The boat that took us out was Las Brisas under Captain Tom Haydu's supervision. He is a great captain and his first mate Pat is pretty cool. They have great stories about the place we went out of and up and down the coast. If you are looking for an excursion and like fishing, well email Captain Tom or call to talk to him. lasbrisias@potrerobeach.com is the email and the numbers are (in Costa Rica) 2654-5069 or 8368-1252. Or toll free at 800.360.9084. They are out of Potrero Beach, Costa Rica. Make sure you bring your sunscreen!! After we were ready to come in Captain Tom took us to this great little beachside bar/restaurant named Estero Azul in Potrero Beach also known as Reggies. GOOD ceviche, great COLD beer. Later that evening Captain Tom took us out to this great restaurant Angelina's that served some fresh seafood and cuts of meats. As it says on their card, locally sourced cuisine. They are located on the second floor in "La Plaza" Playa Flamingo. The telephone number is 2654-4839

The next day was a great lazy day by the pool so that was exactly what I did, lazed about ate and drank. On Tuesday we woke up at the crack of dawn to go to NICARAGUA! It was as if I actually walked back in time and was transported into the 1600's! The streets were tiny and the same as they were then. It was a real eye opener as the buildings were phrom the old days and was just incredibly gorgeous! We took a tour phrom the Paradisus to Nicaragua through CAT tours. They were incredibly nice and told great stories to us as the day progressed. There was a breakfast provided at the border which was basically whatever you wanted phrom the buffet. Outside after breakfast, you could exchange money and then it was back on the bus to go through the Nicaraguan border. (Yes you had to get stamped at the Costa Rican border and yet again at the Nicaraguan one) There was a Q. & A. as well about the countryside and how the country got its name. We went to Masaya Volcano and then they took us shopping at this cute little pueblo where Starrphuk was able to purchase LOTS of Nicaraguan pottery phor one hell of a price.

We left there and we on our way to Granada to eat the lunch that was provided at this great restaurant named "El Zaguan" located at Detras de Catedral, Granada. Their number is 0552-2522 and the general manager's email is mariajose_marenco@yahoo.com. They serve a great fresh fish, steak and a nice salad. I believe I had a desert as well, the tres leches which was outstanding!! Anyhoo, after lunch they took us on a quick walking tour around the town square where there was vendors and of course our horse drawn carriages to take us all over the city down to the lake and back again stopping where ever we wanted to take pictures. Starrphuk learned that the money is the Cordoba and is named after Francisco de Cordoba. (He whom "discovered" Nicaragua. Of course how one can discover something that was there the whole time is beyond me.)

After all of this we got back on the bus and there were people selling us more pottery which of course Starrphuk just HAD to buy! LOL After buying more pottery than is needed by one person we PHINALLY got on our way back to Costa Rica. We once again stopped at the border to get restamped and then off we were back to the resort.

The next few days were just a blur of rummy drinks and vodka-y drinks but I know we went to Tamarindo Beach again (I love it there) and we stopped at the Copacabana bar y restaurant. Starrphuk had the pleasure of going there the year before and ate one incredible meal. They are right on the beach and are located 50 metres south of the Hotel Diria. The number is 653.08.72. We also went to the Happy Snapper again (I LOVE THIS PLACE!!) They specialize in seafood. Their address is Beach Front, Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica and the number is 2654-4413 the email is flamingobeachgroup@yahoo.com. The phood is INSANE there!! Ah man, what more can be said about the place?

If ya phind yourself wanting to buy some trinkets, go to the Sea Star Gift Shop in Playa Brasilito right up or down the road phrom the Paradisus and the Happy Snapper. You can't miss it. Oh!! You have to go to Outback Jack's pretty good drinks and just kitschy. Wow, well I guess that is all I can say about my adventures in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It was one hell of a trip and I can't wait to do it again.

Starrphuk will be in Mexico phrom the 22nd of April until the 2nd of May. We will let you know all the comings and going of that trip as well...

Until then, be well and as always,

Have a great day the Starrphuk way;)!
Rinna

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