Days 7-10: Esterillos Este and San Jose
During our last few nights in Costa Rica, we stayed in a 3-bedroom condo in the Del Pacifico neighborhood of Esterillos. The condo overlooked the town center, and about a half mile away you could see the beach. It was fully equipped with a stove, microwave, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer. It was our home away from home!
After our long drive from La Fortuna, we wanted to catch the sunset on the beach. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy so we drove back to the condo and sat outside looking for toucans and macaws. No such luck, but we enjoyed the sounds of the rain forest!
That next day, we stopped by our friend’s parent’s home. They have a vacation home in Del Pacifico which Bobby has visited a few times. It was a GORGEOUS villa style home overlooking the rain forest. You guys…words can’t describe the beauty!
Later that day we went to the beach. Being a Sunday, it was a pretty crowded. There were about 20 groupings of local families. We just laid out and read our books. It was a peaceful afternoon.
After the beach, we walked to the Town Center Market to do come grocery shopping. We didn’t recognize many labels, and of course we couldn’t interpret anything unless we put it in Google Translate. We purchased some mangoes, fried plantains, tomato sauce, pasta noodles, pizza crust, fresh mozzarella, and chorizo. The first night, we made ourselves mini pizzas. We topped the pizza with cooked chorizo.The pizza crust was pre-made, and wasn’t very good. The following night, Bobby cooked us spaghetti. This was not ordinary spaghetti. We could only find SUPER LARGE penne-style, round noodles. We both laughed about the noodles, but figured we could make it a tradition to have “big noodle” spaghetti.
On Monday, we drove about 30 mins to Jaco — a famous surfing beach in Costa Rica. The town reminded me of the typical beach boardwalk. Right off the beach was a strip of souvenir shops. We looked for souvenirs and even purchased a few items for ourselves. We stopped to have lunch at The Taco Bar. The bar was really cool and had hanging swings for seats! We both ordered Red Snapper tacos which were amazing!
After exploring Jaco, we went back to Esterillos. Bobby was determined to drink out of a fresh coconut so he asked around for a machete and chopped down a bundle of baby coconuts. He was able to cut one open and put the water/milk into a glass. I’m not a fan of coconut water/milk, but Bobby was happy!
Tuesday was our last full day in Esterillos.We started the day with horseback riding through the rain forest. At the entrance of Del Pacifico there was a ranch run by a man named Macho. We jumped on a few horses and took off through the jungle. As soon as we started on the trail we saw macaws! MACAWS! Finally! They were beautiful! They were vibrant red with long tails. We stopped for a few minutes and just watched them play with each other. We continued through muddy terrain and then rode to the top of the hill. Then we rode down to the beach. Once we got to the beach, the horses galloped alongside the waves. The ride took about an hour total. It was a really great way to experience the jungle!
After our morning ride, we drove about 10 minutes to Hermosa, the next town over, for lunch. We stopped at Bowie’s Point, a surfer bar on the beach. We both ordered casados (Bobby got chicken and I got the chicken fajita). The fajitas were WAY better than the plain chicken.
Since it was our last night in Esterillos, we decided that we wanted to go to Encantada for dinner — where it all started. We called ahead to let them know we were coming, and Adam (the manager) was surprised to hear from us. When we arrived at Encantada, Maria was really surprised to see us. We talked and hung out. We were happy to spend one final dinner with the Encantada crew.
We left Esterillos Wednesday morning and headed to San Jose. When we got there, we checked into the Courtyard Marriott right next to the airport. We grabbed lunch at Tacontento, a TGI Fridays-like Costa Rican restaurant. I ordered a chicken burrito and fresh pineapple juice. Bobby ordered a cuban sandwich. After eating fresh food for the past 10 days, our bodies were a little in shock from the restaurant oils. Nonetheless, the food was very good.
After lunch, we drove over to City Mall right down the street. It was a HUGE mall, 3 stories tall, with tons of stores! The mall was full of locals, but not the locals we were use to seeing. They were well-dressed in business clothing, most women hair their hair and makeup done. It was interesting how different the locals looked in the city compared to Esterillos and La Fortuna. When walking around the mall, we recognized some stores by their logo…but it wasn’t the store we knew in the US. For instance, we saw a store that looked like H&M, and their logo looked like H&M, but it was called A&T. We saw a clothing store with similar clothes to Pacific Sunware, but it was called “Cat” and used the logo from Caterpillar Construction. It was a really weird concept to grasp. I guess infringement and copyright laws don’t exist (or aren’t enforced) in Costa Rica.
After the mall, we dropped off the rental car and walked over to Walmart. Surprisingly, the Walmart looked exactly the same as Walmarts in the US. We walked around and picked up some Costa Rica coffee, then we headed back to the hotel. We had to get up early for our flight back home, so we called it early.
On Thanksgiving Day, the day we were suppose to leave Costa Rica, a Hurricane hit the coastline — the first recorded Hurricane to hit Costa Rica. Our flight was delayed an hour, which meant that our layover in Atlanta was shortened to 45 mins. We knew that we couldn’t get though customs that quickly so we changed our connecting flight to a later time.
Our flight to Atlanta was smooth. The pilot made up some time and we landed 45 minutes earlier than anticipated. We figured we could make our original flight home so we sprinted through Atlanta Airport. If you’ve ever been to Atlanta Airport, you know how MASSIVE it is! Unfortunately, we didn’t make the early connection so we hung out at the Samuel Adams bar and had chicken wings and beer for our Thanksgiving dinner.
After a long day of traveling, we FINALLY made it home around 10pm. Our honeymoon was such an amazing way to start our married life together.
Thank you all for reading about our travels, I can’t wait to share the wedding details with you all soon!