Ok! Tales of Costa Rica!
We left the house at 4:45am (thanks to Dad for being a trooper and taking us that early!) and flew out of Austin to Houston at 7am. Houston to San José was 3:30 hours and we got there around noon local time. Some other Kathryn Beich people that had already been in San José for a couple of days came through with the van and we all took the 2 hour trip to Playa Herradura (Los Sueños). The drive was amazing. We went through the mountains on a two-lane road the whole way. We stopped at La Casita del café for a pit stop and to enjoy the view and stopped again at a little roadside market. We got to Los Sueños and checked in and went to the room and unpacked and settled in. We had our first cocktail hour at 6 where I got to meet everyone. It's nice to finally have faces to put with all the names of the people Dustin tells me about. His regional manager, Doug, and his wife Nola were both super nice. Also met the president of the company and the vice president, Herb, that just retired. We got to know Glen and Mike more (they were on the van with us). Glen's a rep in Detroit and Mike's his cousin that he brought on the trip with him (for the rest of the trip they were dubbed "Glen y Miguel" collectively). We ended up spending a lot of time with the two of them...they were a LOT of fun. D and I crashed pretty early Tuesday night because we were just so exhausted from traveling most of the day.
We got up and had breakfast with Kathy and Al in the hotel restaurant and decided to get a taxi into Jacó to go shopping. They has some really nice little shops and the beach there is beautiful. We picked up a few things, went into the local grocery store, Más X Menos, got some ice cream at Pops, and our taxi driver, Rodolpho, picked us up at noon and took us back to the hotel. That afternoon Dustin went with Glen, Mike, and 2 other guys on ATVs on the tiny mountain roads and on the beach in Jacó. He came back covered from head-to-toe in dirt but had a blast. He got cleaned up and we headed down to cocktail hour again. After that his regional manager, Doug, took us all out to eat at El Pelicano.
Got up, ate breakfast from room service, and went with the whole group to Turu Ba-Ri to see the rainforest. There were several things we could do there including horseback riding, zip line, aerial tram, and walking tour. We opted to start with the aerial tram down into the rainforest and the walking tour. About halfway through the tour Dustin broke off with a few other people and did the zip line while I stayed on the tour. He said it was amazing. It lasted about 60 seconds and he went up to 55mph. Mike got video of him doing it, and I'll post that when we get it. The groups met up for lunch after that...they had some really great local food for us. Dustin and I took the bus back to the hotel at that point, but some people stayed for a couple of more hours to do a few more activities. We went back and tried to go to the pool for a while, but we got rained out. We just hung out in the room for a bit until cocktail hour and dinner. We went with Mike and Glen to the marina restaurant, El Galeón. This was probably my favorite place that we ate. Dustin and I both had shrimp with herbs de provence in a lobster butter sauce and I had creme brulée for dessert.
Dustin went on the crocodile tour in the morning and I went with some of the others back to Jacó to pick up a few more things we had seen on Wednesday that we still wanted. We ended up down by the beach in front of El Hicaco restaurant sitting, enjoying the cool breeze coming in off of the water. We then went back to the hotel where Dustin and I had lunch with Glen and Mike and relaxed until it was time to leave for dinner at 4:30. Herb had arranged to take all of us to Villa Caletas for cocktails and dinner. You had to wind up this tiny moutain road to get to it. When you arrive, you walk up these stairs to the ampitheatre and dining room, and as you reach the top it opens up to the most spectacular view. I have been to the mountains before, but this was hands-down the prettiest places I have ever seen. The Pacific stretched out as far as we could see. We had a lovely dinner accompanied by a trio of classical guitarist, and then we returned to the balcony outside for a fireworks show Herb had arranged for us as a surprise. Once again, I have seen fireworks before, but being there in that place, with Dustin, it was just...breathtaking.
Dustin, Glen, and Mike went out on jet skis in the morning while I stayed and started packing and did some last minute shopping in the hotel's gift shop. When they got back we went down to the beach for a little bit and then hung out in the pool with some of the other people in our group. After that we walked around the hotel some and got ready for the last cocktail hour. We had dinner with 3 other couples back at the marina and then met Glen and Mike at the bar to visit a little bit more before we all started heading home Sunday. We did end uphaving breakfast with them on Sunday, though, and then we headed out from the hotel at 8 that morning.
I know this was a bit incoherent, but you get the idea. ;) The pictures are here, and more will be posted soon.