I slept a nice 7 hours, up around 4:30am. Ash was up by 6am and we went down for breakfast right after 6:30 as I’d just finished the blog,
I mapped out our journey for the day and we decided we’d leave right after breakfast since things can take longer than maps suggest. And boy was that right. Above shows the plan: from La Fortuna to Puntarenas, a tiny peninsula that juts out into the Gulf of Nicoya, just a little town a friend recommended we see. Then from there to Jaco where we will stay 2 nights before heading back to the airport in San Jose.
With the rain stopped the bugs were out and there were quite a few on that spiral staircase outside our room.
We left before 9am and were having a beautiful, uneventful drive until around 11am. The road was blocked for construction and wouldn’t open for an hour until the workers stopped for lunch. There were no alternative routes.
We were literally in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t anything to do so we went for a walk after applying bug spray! By the time we got back the line had gotten pretty long. There were about 8 more vehicles ahead of this, including us.
We did get going right at Noon and that road was still very under construction. Several miles of a very bumpy, windy, at times very steep ride. We were very glad it when was over. Ash just kept saying, “but look over there, it’s beautiful!” And it was – gorgeous, rich valleys everywhere we looked because this was the mountain ridge road.
It was such a bumpy ride though it didn’t work well for photos but managed a couple above and below just to give you an idea. The videos I attempted were entertaining. It was better to just hold on :)
But we ended up in a beautiful place: This is the tip of Puntarenas, looking over the Gulf of Nicoya. That’s still Costa Rica on the other side.
It was a sleepy little town, not much going on. Ash thinks it’s because there’s no beach. Puntarenas Typical Seafood seemed like a a good place to stop for lunch. We were the only ones there. We sat at the table right in the middle of the photo.
This was our view.
We both had a shrimp salad that was wonderful in its simplicity: shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, orange juice.
Ash had this great tomato soup that was so thick it worked great as a dip for that wonderful bread (he ordered extra of that!).
I ordered a garlic shrimp basket and let’s just say was surprised when this was put in front of me. I didn’t know what to expect but it certainly wasn’t this. Those baskets are fried plantains. The shrimp were cooked in a rich garlic sauce, with some fresh red onion on top. Definitely the most interesting thing I’ve had in a while. And super filling. I ate most of the shrimp but only 3 of those baskets.
A closeup so you could see how much garlic was used. Can never have too much garlic!
We left there a little after 2pm and got caught in traffic again, a slowdown that added 30 minutes to what was supposed to be a 90-minute drive. We assume it was an accident of some kind: a fire truck pushed through in the direction we were going, and later we saw 4 ambulances with sirens going back the other direction. But we never saw what it was.
We made it to our hotel in Jaco a little after 4pm, Croc’s Casino and Resort. We are here for 2 nights using Ash’s points again. He asked about an upgrade to a suite, and they quoted a price that we decided was reasonable given the 5 nights we’ve had on points so we took it. And are very glad we did.
The room wasn’t quite ready yet so we took a walk on the beach. This is the hotel from the beach. You just walk out to it.
Not too many people out.
This was about 4:40pm so the sun was starting to set.
We got back up to our room about 5:15, and they’d taken our bags up. This is the living room, with an ocean view balcony.
View from the balcony.
Looking back at the kitchen and entrance. The only thing missing; coffee filters. Urrrgggh.
We relaxed a little bit watching TV (RPDR S10 opening!) before heading down to dinner about 6:30pm.
We chose a little Mexican restaurant at the hotel – it was clear early on we wouldn’t be leaving again just because we were so tired of being in the car.
They started us with free chips and salsa which were great- the chips were fresh and still warm.
We ordered queso with mushrooms and corn which was very good. That salsa on the right it made from pineapple at it was great.
I had tacos al pastor, also great. More pineapple again, which is the way this dish is supposed to be done although I rarely see it like that in the US.
Ash had chicken enchiladas which he enjoyed.
But the best bite of the day – maybe of the whole trip – was these beans that we shared. Ash added them as a side at the last minute. They were amazing. Perfectly seasoned, a rich broth from pork hocks still in the dish, with too much fresh avocado on top to just call it a garnish. That dark brown thing in the middle is a chipotle pepper. Best beans I’ve ever had.
We couldn’t decide on a dessert to split so got one each: churros with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.
And a roasted sweet potato with corn ice cream and marshmallow sauce. It was great and we loved the originality – although maybe it’s normal for these parts!
Today we visit Manual Antonio National Park, considered the best in the country. It’s about a 90-minute drive from here so we’re hoping we don’t encounter the same stuff we did yesterday.
Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a wonderful holiday whatever you’re doing. Lord knows we have a ton to be grateful for.