Talk about views! We’ve seen the most breathtaking sites in the past few days. We decided to rent a car for a week and explore the country a little more while waiting for our new house to be ready.
We were thinking of driving all the way from Grecia to Dominical in one day – about a 4-5 hour drive. However, because there are no street signs, we took a few wrong turns and we ended up only making it as far as Cartago before it got dark (about 1.5 hours from Grecia). But that’s okay.
B&B Grecia – Thanks Denny & Rachelle!
Before I get onto our journey I just want to say how much we enjoyed our time at B&B Grecia. Denny and Rachelle were awesome hosts! Denny was so helpful and informative to get us settled and help us know what to expect living here. And our girls absolutely adored Rachelle. They would talk her ear off as often as they could, showing her their computer games, telling them about their day. And Rachelle was so sweet to them. If anyone is looking for a good place to stay in Grecia, I highly recommend B&B Grecia. Breakfasts were good and it’s in a very convenient location, too.
The day before we left B&B Grecia, I also bought a GPS unit from Denny (Garmin Nuvi 260). It cost more than it would have in the US, but it has been absolutely essential! I can’t imagine getting around these streets without it. It also helped us find our hotels.
A Stop in Escazú
After we picked up our car around noon, we headed for Escazú Multiplaza, which is a giant mall, just like the ones in the U.S. We were searching for a certain type of shoe, called Keens, that are like sturdy, waterproof, close-toed sandals great for hiking, beaches, waterfalls, etc. Unfortunately, none of the stores there had our size. And they were twice as expensive as the store in Grecia. So we’ll go without them for now.
While in the mall, we were stopped by some journalists taking photos of this new rear projection touch-screen display, and they wanted our girls to model for it. Why not? We didn’t get any of the pictures (I forgot to take them myself), but it was a pretty cool technology. We also saw Mickey and Goofy at the mall doing a little magic show.
If I haven’t mentioned it here, everyone seems to adore our little girls. People are often touching their hair, and commenting, “Que linda!” either to our faces or to each other as we walk down the street. We really stand out here – but more so in the smaller towns. And when I hand shop keepers our credit card, which has a photo of our family on it, 90% of the time, they comment that it’s so cute, and excitedly show all the other workers there. I guess they don’t have photo credit cards here.
Escazú really seemed like a nice place. It appeared to be well kept up, very green, and had all the shopping and restaurants you’d expect for a medium-sized city. Everything is a bit more pricey there, though, and the people don’t seem as friendly as Grecia.
Cartago and the Irazú Volcano
After the GPS led us to a gas station, we continued on our journey through San José onto Cartago. We mainly stayed on the highway (except for another wrong turn – yes, I had a GPS, but sometimes those roads sneak up on you). I wasn’t too impressed with the journey to Cartago, or the city of Cartago itself. It was pretty dirty and very crowded.
We hadn’t planned on staying in Cartago, but it was already 4:30, and since it gets dark here around 6pm, we thought we should find a hotel and have some dinner while we still had daylight. The GPS led us to a couple hotels that looked like real dives in bad parts of town, so we went on the outskirts of the city a little, and found Las Brumas hotel, which had a vacancy with 3 beds, a restaurant, free wifi, and even included breakfast – for about $75/night. It also had nice views of the city.
While staying there, we learned that the Irazú volcano was just 45 minutes away, so decided that we’d check it out in the morning before heading down to Dominical. It was a beautiful drive up to over 11,000 feet, and the volcano was breathtaking as well. We could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. You’re supposed to be able to see the Pacific ocean from there as well, but we didn’t go to the highest point (we were already getting lightheaded from the elevation and we were anxious to get to the beach).
We did stop at the Irazú museum, though, and learned about how volcanoes work, and watched a movie about Irazú’s eruption from 1963-1965. They had some fun little physics toys there as well, that the girls enjoyed playing with.
A Gorgeous Drive to Dominical
After the volcano, we drove about 4 hours all the way to the Dominical, on the Pacific coast. It was a beautiful drive, where we passed giant canyons, misty rainforests, and jungles full of the sounds of birds and insects. We had lunch in a little buffet-type restaurant up in the misty mountains somewhere.
The only other major town we passed on the way to Dominical is San Isidro de General, about 45 minutes from the coast. We didn’t stop there, but it looked like a beautiful town, in a very green valley. We may check it out again some day.
Jen spent some time the previous night looking for a couple hotels in Dominical to save us time going from one to the other on our GPS. We went straight to Costa Paraiso and fortunately, they had a vacancy. It’s a beautiful hotel right on the beach, with a lovely little swimming pool, which the girls were very anxious to try out. So, that’s the very first thing we did. :)
After swimming for a while, we took a walk on the beach. The water was SO warm – like a hot tub. And the views of the waves on the rocks, and the trees, with the sounds of the birds – it was just breathtaking. We feel like we’re in paradise! We’ll be staying here a couple nights and then head on to Manuel Antonio. Enjoy the video and pictures below.
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Wow!! Just wow. Those pictures really are incredible. I LOVE the little cabina you stayed in. And the views you have taken pictures of are incredible!! It’s amazing how green everything is…
That is funny that everyone is so enthralled by your family. I suppose being blond is a bit of a rarity, of there… plus, your girls ARE incredibly beautiful :)
I love warm ocean water…
I used “incredible” 3 times in my last post. To minimize the redundancy, please replace any of my “incredible’s” with
“breathtaking,” “astonishing,” “amazing,” or “wonderful”… take your pick.
You really are living in a paradise. What a great hotel Jen found for you on the beach… simply breathtaking.
I recall my visit to Acapulco, Mexico when I was 15. So many people wanted to reach out and touch my long, blond hair (and several did)… kind of freaked me out. Sounds like Emily and Marie better just get used to it. They are pretty irresistible, even when they don’t stand out in a crowd :)
You’ll get into the Chinese splits yet, you bendable, rubber man!
So pretty. I love the pic of the volcano.
What a day full of unique and beautiful views we saw yesterday!!! Those hermit crabs were so cute too as they were all scurrying up the beach for the night. I’m so glad we can stay at this beautiful place here in Dominical. It is like a paradise, albeit a very hot one…thankgoodness they have a pool!
Such beautiful pictures! I love seeing the looks on the girls’ faces – they are so cute when the pose for the pictures. The scenery is beautiful as well. Thanks for letting us share in your experience!
Glad you had a great trip to the Pacific coast. The weather seems a dream, especially while I am looking out at six inches of new snow with more to come. Very unusual for central North Carolina. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with your Costa Rican adventure.
Do the hotels have air conditioning? What about your house? You know me and heat :)
@the mom – Yes, the hotels at the beach do have air conditioning. Our house in Grecia doesn’t have a heater or an air conditioner because it really doesn’t need it. But here at the beach, you definitely need an air conditioner! Unfortunately, at the last hotel we stayed, we didn’t know there was an air conditioner in the room until the second day, so we slept pretty hot last night. Oh well.
You can really do the splits? Amazing. I tried doing that on the cruise ship last week and could not stop crying. Costa R looks awesome. Hope to join you in 5, if you are still around.
@Tyson – I can almost do the splits. I’m touching the floor, but my legs aren’t at 180 degrees – just a few degrees short. I’m getting there, though. Stretching every day helps a ton. :) I’d love to see you here in CR. I’m not sure we’ll still be here in 5 years – so many other places we want to check out. But we’ll see. Thanks for the comment.
It looks beautiful. I’m glad you guys got to go explore the beaches there. It wont be 5 years before we make it there, hopefully much sooner.
[…] on for the past two months. (Our house is built on the side of it.) I think I liked it better than Irazú. You can see the lake more easily, it’s larger, and the hike to it is prettier. It’s […]