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The journey back to San Jose

by Janet Carson February 24, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.

We have truly lucked out with the weather while we have been in Costa Rica. We were only in the rain one day and that was in the rain forest. We had rain other times but it was when we were sleeping or on the bus. They also had a bit of a cold front come through so temperatures never got much above mid-80's. It has been wonderful.

We loaded up our bus and took a group photo

early on Sunday since we had a long day ahead of us. We were sad to leave Rio Celeste Hideaway.

We all loved it. Although we had a long drive ahead of us, we made several fun stops to break up the drive. Our first stop was at a local craft vendor

where they make some of the beautiful masks that they sell all over the country.

The artists were in residence

and we got to see the stages of mask making

and had the artist sign the ones we bought. Since the day was bright and clear, we had excellent views out of the bus. As we were driving Arenal volcano came into view,

so of course we had to stop to take pictures.

Some took it more seriously than others.

Our next stop was a lunch break.

The restaurant was packed with people and they cook with wood stoves.

The food was plentiful and tasty, and the service excellent.

Driving through the countryside we saw beautiful vistas.

In this mountainous area they were growing vegetables, coffee and cows.

In the lower valleys we saw bananas, pineapple, plantains, yuca, and sugar cane.

We passed a sugar cane processing plant and trucks were going in loaded with sugar cane.

We made a stop late afternoon at Sarchi,

a local craft store where they began making the decorative oxcarts years ago. I had stopped there back in 2007 and have a replica of one of the wheels still hanging on my wall. The store has gotten a bit more commercialized than it was in the past. There were also 150 students in there from Washington D.C.

We thought we would have smooth sailing into San Jose since it was a Sunday and there shouldn't be rush hour traffic, but I think because it was such a glorious day, everyone was out and about enjoying it. This led to several wrecks and fender benders which led to some long traffic jams. We finally made it into our hotel at 4:30, so it was a long day.

Our experience the first 2 days at our Holiday Inn hotel were not the best with the facilities (the food was good). Robert and Maguil had talked with them to improve our final night, and they were amazing. Their marketing and sales director met us at the bus, everything was expedited, we all had room upgrades and we had a great cocktail hour before heading out to our farewell dinner. Very impressive.

Our farewell dinner

was at a local Italian restaurant.

It was the perfect ending

to a great trip.

We have a leisurely morning to pack up all our treasures before heading to the airport and home. I think the cold weather back home may be a rude awakening to us all.


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