Saturday, June 05, 2010

Puerto Viejo Trip Report and Pics

So, I need to blog about the trip before I forget details. This was, which is not the norm of me, a pretty laid-back, relaxing trip. Normally, I am doing something and have something planned every second, but I enjoyed just kinda doing not much but relaxing. I needed it, work has been stressful lately, and I enjoy just chilling once in a while.

Anyway, I will recap and post trip pic links for everyone! This trip was to Puerto Viejo, CR, and was chosen simply because it is an area of the country we have not been to yet! It is on the Caribbean coast, and is about 4 hours from San Jose and 2 hours from Limon. It is also only a short boat ride from Bocas del Toro, Panama, which is one of my fav islands in the world.


So, we left really early on 5/27. Kory spent the night and went to the airport with us, and we met Gary and Michelle there. Flew Continental, with a short layover in Houston, then on to San Jose! Picked up the shuttle to our rental car place (Economy), picked up our car (long process, ugh), then started on our 4 hour drive to Puerto Viejo! Had a GPS, which, if you ever drive in Costa Rica, GET ONE. We learned our lesson in 12/06 when we drove around without one. CR basically has NO street signs, and San Jose is crazy to get out of without a GPS or guide. So, it was slow moving to Puerto Viejo. A lot of semis on the road and people driving super slow, but we finally got there and checked into our aMAZing beach house. The house is owned by a local hotel, Banana Azul, and the house itself is called the Magic Moon House. It is three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, with a kitchen, huge deck with hammocks and tables, and an extra bed. It is gated as well, to keep the local criminals out. J. The beach is right across from the house, and is black sand, which is my fav kinda beach. Beautiful beach, with almost no people anytime we were down there. So, the first night we headed into town and had dinner at a really yummy place called Chile Rojo that had a sushi bar and a full menu. Kurt and I split some sushi and had ahi tuna for dinner, which was awesome. Gary asked if you could smoke in the restaurant, and they kinda looked at him like he was crazy, LOL. I guess not everyone has Michigan’s no smoking in restaurants law. Haha. After that, we were all exhausted, so we went home and crashed. No AC in the place (no AC really most places in Puerto Viejo), but the fans in the rooms kept things cool and we were fine. Oh, we met the resident kitty as well! There is a cat that lives on the property and was super cute. Meowed to greet us every time we showed up. Love.


Got up early the next morning, as I had booked a hike at La Ceiba and a trip to the animal sanctuary. Gary and Michelle last minute decided to join us, so we all headed there. The Park was gorgeous. We did a hike that was about 2.5 hours through primary and secondary forest. I saw a fer de lance for the first time, and three eye lash vipers (both are the most poisonous snakes in CR)! We also saw all three poison dart frogs that are in that area, which was pretty kewl. I love the little colored frogs. The hike was HOT, as it was muggy and over 90 degrees, but pretty easy otherwise. Gary had a hard time with it, but I don’t think he is used to hiking. Had lemonade afterwards, then headed to the sanctuary, which has to be one of the kewlest places I have EVER been. We started off by meeting the howler monkeys and the baby monkeys. They jumped on us, fell asleep in our arms, hugged us, swung on our arms. We also got to pet a jaguarundi. Headed next to the sloths and held a baby sloth, looked at the adults playing in the bushes. Got to see some kewl owls, a margay, a red eyed tree frog (my fav kind of frog), caiman, and lots of snakes. They help these orphaned or injured animals and eventually release them back into the wild, if possible. Some are too hurt to ever go back. So anytime you go here, you have a chance of seeing different creatures. It really was amazing, because when you are hiking, it’s not like the animals generally come very close to you. Headed back to the house next, then changed and headed into town to have lunch. Ate at this place and talked to the owner, Winston, who was super kewl. Had a shrimp and rice meal there, Caribbean style, which was super yummy. We then had a couples massage at a spa called Bliss, which was next to the restaurant. Great massage. Found a kewl bar on the beach to hang out at next, called Tex Mex. Tex Mex became our local hangout. Best banana daiquiris, and awesome food. The owner is named Roger and from Great Britain. We decided that night to have dinner at this recommended place in Manzinillo called Maxy’s. It was a little bit of a drive. The food and service were great, and they served us an appetizer, free of charge, and I think they had the best black beans I have ever had in the life. I had the snapper there, as it was recommended by two people in Puerto Viejo. Nice dinner. We watched local kids play soccer on the beach while eating dinner and watched the basketball game.


Kurt and I did a canoe ride on the Punta Uva river this morning. The rest stayed back at the house. I think this is the first time Kurt has ever been in a canoe, and I think he was kinda nervous at first, but it was fine. It was pretty adventurous as well, as there were parts of the river that were not passable because trees had fallen, so we had to get out and put the canoe over the tree, get back in, etc. Anyway, we saw sloths in the trees, lots of really pretty birds, turtles, fish, etc. We then did a short hike to some gorgeous views after the boat ride, which was nice. Went back the house next, and decided to relax, hang out at the beach, and have lunch in town at Tex Mex (had fish tacos that were superb). Had another massage after this at a place called Pure Jungle Spa. While in there, our car got broken into! Nothing was in there, so they did not get anything, and we would not even have known except when Kurt went to lock the door next, he realized someone had broken the lock! Went back into town and hung out at the bar with everyone, then headed to the house to relax. We all headed into town to dinner that night at a place called CafĂ© Viejo, which was prob the nicest place in town, but I could still wear flip flops! Haha. Had an awesome tuna pizza there. Gary got sick during dinner (too much sun and beer I think), so we dropped him off after dinner then headed to Tex Mex to hear a local reggae band. The scene and people watching was hilarious. Loved it. The band was really good as well. I think Kurt was offered marijuana like 80 times. People were openly doing lines of cocaine. And it’s not legal to do so, but apparently, there are not many policia in Puerto Viejo, LOL. Went back to the house and crashed.


Kurt and I got up and headed into town for breakfast and ended up at yes, you guessed it, Tex Mex. Had breakfast, then drove around town a little bit exploring. Headed back to the house and relaxed (nothing in life is better than sleeping in a hammock, listening to the ocean). Headed back into town to shop some and explore the little stores. I think this is the first trip ever I did not buy ONE souvenir. I usually buy a wood bowl in CR, but did not find one I was overly excited about this trip. Had drinks and lunch at Tex Mex, then headed back to the house to relax. Had massages at this place called Tup and Ro Yoga, which was like a massage place behind these people’s house. LOL. Great massages though. Had dinner that night at a place called Jungle Love that I picked out. Great place! I had this milkshake called a Jungle Love Milkshake, that was awesome. Kory and I split a shrimp pizza, and the owner there was super kewl as well. The place had great ambience, and we felt like we were in the middle of the jungle. Headed back into town after that to pick up the others, then headed back to the house. While gone, our house was *kinda* broken into. The upstairs, where Kory, Kurt and I stayed, was fine, as we had locked it all up as we were told to. The downstairs, Gary and Michelle had left their windows open and left valuables not locked up. Gary's shoes were stolen (they are really into shoes for some reason in CR, and his electric razor, phone and blood pressure pills were taken).


We left early this day for San Jose. Drive back was much quicker than drive there. Checked into our hotel, then Kurt and I headed to Jaco to try and find a realtor. There is a new highway to Jaco, which cuts the normal drive in half! Got there in about 90 minutes or so, and found a Remax and an American agent, Hannah, who lives in CR now. She was super nice and was telling us about the foreclosure market that has started to pick up in CR. None of those properties are online. Anyway, she drove us around to some areas to get an idea of what we are looking for. We found some that would be perfect for us. Like 15 minutes from Jaco (my fav town ever), about 90 minutes from San Jose (airport), and right in the jungle. She is now sending us properties and stuff daily, and we may go back in a month or so to look at more properties. I would like to buy property pretty soon, then build a house closer to when we would be retiring and moving there part-time. Had lunch at my fav place ever, The Taco Bar, then headed back to San Jose. Walked around some in San Jose, looking for a churro (which I never found BOO). Then headed to Del Ray for a night of people watching and poker! Had a great time playing a new table game. Headed back to the hotel and had dinner there, then crashed.


Have to go home. BOOOO. Dropped off the rental car, and the rest of the day was spent traveling back to the US.

So, pics taken can be found here. Did not take as many as usual, but that's OK! I loved the trip. Puerto Viejo would not be an area I would want to live in, but it was great to visit. The temps are too hot, and crime is a little bit too much compared to other areas of the country, and it is too far from the airport. But, I would still recommend visiting, if you want a super relaxing place to be!


Brittany said...

Sounds like you had a great trip! Love the pics, they are great as usual!

Mrs. Lukie said...

Sounds like pure bliss!! CR is on our list of "must travel to's," for sure.

And as always, your pictures are a-mazing :)

Rebecca said...

Sorry to hear about the break ins, but how ironic, because I was just talking to someone tonight who was living in CR for 3 months managing a bar, and when I mentioned you guys and looking at property around Jaco (that's where he was) he was like "I would recommend going to Panama instead, Costa Rica is some of the most expensive property in Central America, and there are a LOT of break ins, and if they aren't going to live their full time, they will want someone to live there to watch the house".

Glad you had another great trip!

Lori H said...

We are looking at Panama as well, but I think we are leaning towards CR (since it is closer to the US, and there is more wildlife). We have never had an issue like that before, I kinda think the area we were in was a little bit more shady......