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// MARCH 2016
We feel blessed
Havana
Panama City
Managua
Granada
Leon
Managua
Cartago
Chachagua Rain Forest Hotel
El Castillo
San Jose
Mexico City
Visitor Centre Miraflores
Panama City
Laguna d' Apoyo
San Jorge
Ometepe Island
San Jorge
Matagalpa
San Jose
Tarcoles
Atenas
Poás Volcano N.P.
Los Chiles
Tilaran

El Castillo


26th of March 2016
Put a label on us, at least…

We woke up early in the morning and we left…



At 7 o’ clock in the morning we were at the reception, waiting for the car which was going to take us to the village Fortuna, for our daily excursion-activity. It was including transport to Los Chiles, near the borders with Nicaragua, and then boarding in a boat, so as to sail the river Frio (Rio Frio), at the extended area of Cano Negro Wildlife Refugee, The trip was arranged by the travel agency anywherecostarica.

A little van came and took us and within 20 minutes we were in the village Fortuna, in front of a closed agency with the name Arenal.



Our driver announced that we would have to wait about half an hour for the other van, which was collecting the rest of the people who would participate in the excursion-activity, from their hotels toο.
Then we would be able to start our excursion.
But what he meant was that we would have to wait there alone, since he was ready to leave.

«Where are you going, mate?» we asked him.
«You didn’t put a label on us with the destination on! How are they going to find out it is us?»

He seemed not to quite get it, until we explained:

«Since you are treating us as if we were… suitcases and not persons, since you… loaded us and then unloaded us and now you are on your way to leave, you may as well put a label on us, so as nobody will be too confused  to mix us up with other… suitcases!» 

He laughed sheepishly, as if he had just realized how bad that sounded for a country which invests on its tourism, and then he tried to apologize by saying:

«I am just the driver…»


Mmm… Very sparsely populated the clouds…

I demand that he telephones the agency Arenal, which was opening at 8 o’clock.
I speak to a lady and, after apologizing for having woken her up, I ask her why on earth is the agency closed, since it has customers, who have to be welcomed and be offered its services too.
She seemed completely astonished, not by my politeness of course, but by my demand.  
It was quite obvious to me that they had not even thought that a tourist agency should never be closed, when they had customers and a tour in progress. 

Very sparsely populated the… clouds in Costa Rica… 

Of course I never got an answer and the line was cut afterwards, while the driver was trying to persuade me that there was no problem at all for us to wait there alone…

ΤI asked him to make a call to the agency anywhere costarica which I had booked the excursion to, through Internet.

Quite surprised, I must say, I heard a voice to ask me in immaculate English what was my problem exactly. Well, it seems that people learn if something is continuously repeated to them…
While I was explaining myself once more and I was asking her if abandoning the customers was the policy of their agency, my belief that I was absolutely right was becoming stronger and stronger.
It is unacceptable for a country that tries to build a touristic consciousness not to give importance to the details.

The tourist agent admitted that she did not know anything about any policy, (strange enough since taking care of customers is a world wide known practice), and she apologized, as if everything could be fixed with just an apology.


From early in the morning the good day shows…

Meanwhile, half an hour had already passed and the van with the rest of the people who would participate in the excursion appeared, along with the guide in charge, to take us from there.
When we entered the vehicle, we found 8 people inside, (two young couples and a family with two adolescent children, all of them already seated comfortably and certainly not bothering for us)
Result: the only available places for us to sit were two miserable seats one behind the other.
Moreover, mine had a destroyed seat cushion too.  

If something goes wrong from the start, then everything goes wrong!

During the two hours of the journey, I was trying to keep my neck steady.
I tried to… chow it and cool down, though anytime I do that, when something similar happens, it stops right at my throat! And then I regret the fact that I didn’t open my mouth!

Luckily enough, this time, what followed compensated for everything.

The boat we embarked in, (at the village Los Chiles, located at the north eastern corner of Costa Rica), had at our disposal a local guide and drove us to the River Frio, which flows into the Nicaragua Lake.

While we were sailing slowly for about 3 hours and while stopping from time to time, we saw caimans, iguanas, many rare species of birds, bats and monkeys. 

 


When it was necessary, we were getting off the boat and were continuing our exploration to the shores on foot.

When our trip to the river was completed, a meal at a local restaurant followed.
We ate traditional dishes: bean puree, salad, yuka chips and rice with beans. Our desert was pineapple and at the end we were served the famous Costa Rican coffee.

 


Our return trip was slightly better, since the rest of our co-travellers composed themselves a bit and let us sit along with them on proper seats.

The positive thing out of the morning’s discomfort was that as soon as we arrived at Fortuna there was a vehicle waiting for us there to take us back to our hotel. So, we earned some more time and instead of arriving at the hotel at 16:30, we were there at 15:00.


The volcano!!!

The next coming hours of the day we had decided to devote them to the Volcano Arenal, one of the best sightseeing of Costa Rica.
There are very few other places in this particular country that can provoke such awe.
We had read that sometimes one may be able to see the lava moving, if Mother Nature allows it…
He may even be able to see the unique spectacle of an explosion…
But unfortunately, the top of the volcano is often hidden within a veil of mist.

With our hearts filled with longing, we started our trip to the village El Castillo at the Lake Arenal, where we were going to spend the night at.

The route was beautiful, through luscious vegetation.
But due to a car accident and to the delay that followed it, the night was about to fall when we arrived at our hotel,  Tropical Garden Arenal



We enjoyed the views of the lake from the veranda of our room and also an amazing sunset, but the volcano, unfortunately, was hidden behind clouds…

 

 

Country: Panama
Date: 2016
Route: Panama - Nicaragua - Costarica
Cities: Havana, Panama City, Managua, Granada, Leon, Managua, Cartago, Chachagua Rain Forest Hotel, El Castillo, San Jose, Mexico City, Thessaloniki
Duration: 10
Difficulty:
Population: 4.032.135
Rating:
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Country: Panama
Date: 2016
Route: Panama - Nicaragua - Costarica
Cities: Havana, Panama City, Managua, Granada, Leon, Managua, Cartago, Chachagua Rain Forest Hotel, El Castillo, San Jose, Mexico City, Thessaloniki
Duration: 10
Difficulty:
Population: 4.032.135
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Panama
Date: 2016
Route: Panama - Nicaragua - Costarica
Cities: Havana, Panama City, Managua, Granada, Leon, Managua, Cartago, Chachagua Rain Forest Hotel, El Castillo, San Jose, Mexico City, Thessaloniki
Duration: 10 days
Difficulty:
Population: 4.032.135
Rating:
comments
VIEW