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La Fortuna, Costa Rica

<- Previously in Jaco

Day Seven: Saturday

Saturday morning, we drove to La Fortuna. This introdcued us to even more varied landscape. At times, high elevation (3800ft +) where it was much cooler (70s). Our trip carried us across “Crocodile Bridge”.

Arenal Volcano is near here. We walked around downtown. Wish we could have stayed longer here and explored more. It’s a neat place. Dinner at Inspira. Excellente!! Again, the service was impectable.

Our Airbnb had a private hot tub outside and was deceorated very nice. The nicest accomodations on the trip. (Except for the last unplanned night. More on that later.)

Day Eight: Sunday

Up early (well, 9am) and headed to a local hot spring to soak. It was a lovely experience. It is heated from the volcano and progesses through a series of pools. Super hot up top, but tolerable as you move down a couple of pools. Maybe the 2nd favorite thing of the trip? Relaxing for sure!

Sadly, around noon we had to head back to San Jose to fly out that evening.

The plan was to depart SJO at 5:30pm, go to Panama City, Panama overnight and explore the city the next day, before departing for SFO Monday night late.

The drive back took us through a high-altitude cloud forest (?) and was beautiful from the top looking down.

Back in San Jose, traffic was backed up due to a wreck. We started getting stressed, afraid we would miss our flight. Turns out, we had plenty of time. After returning the renal car and shuttling to SJO, we grabbed a snack and waited at the gate.

Change Of Plans

There are no photos from the rest of the night, things didn’t go as planned.

  1. At boarding time, we found out we needed a negative COVID-19 test to board the plane. The WiFi in the airport wasn’t working, and our limited cellular data plan had expired en route to the airport. Excellent timing.
  2. Thankfully, there was an American family stranded at the gate for other reasons. They told us the airline was taking them to the testing facility nearby for another test. They had been tested the day prior, but it had expired (the test must be taken within 24 hours of boarding). And you can’t just leave the airport on your own. Without a flight booked showing you are leaving the country, you can’t get through immigration. So we tagged along with them and the airline agent to help us get through immigration. Cost of our tests: $125 USD
  3. While at the testing facility, I used the Wifi to book a room at the closest hotel to the airport so we could figure out our next step. Cost of The Courtyard at SJO: $185 USD.
  4. The Courtyard Hotel was really nice. Certainly the nicest accomodations of the trip. Unfortunately, we never even left the room. We spend the next several hours calling the airlines and Travelocity to arrange alternative flights. None were available. By this time, it’s after 11pm.
  5. New plan: With no standby options available, we had to book one-way flights from SJO to SFO via an 18 hour layover at LAX. Cost: $722 USD. That’s $907 unecessary cost for those keep score at home.
  6. Sadly, we lost our Panama City portion of the trip. And equally as sad, we had to get up at 3:45am to get to the airport for our flight in the morning.

With negative COVID tests in hand, the flight the next morning was easy going (except for the aforementioned 3:45 alarm).

Wheels up! Adios, Costa Rica!

It was a wonderful adventure. Looking forward to going back one day.

-> Almost home!