I’m finally taking the time to finish this up after almost a month has passed.

I boarded the bus from Playa Manzanillo to San Jose, Costa Rica at 7am on a soggy dripping morning and kicked back for the 4 hour trip. I thought of the years of bouncing in and out of Costa Rica, of the wonderful fishing trips, the magnificent countryside, the diversity, the friends I’d made and the chances at love I had encountered over the years and realized that, for me, Costa Rica  needed to be retired to my memory box.

It has gotten stupidly expensive unless you live like a backpacker/road bum. In many cases it’s worse than the U.S.

I arrived in San Jose and paid more for the cab ride to Alajuela, where Juan Santamaria Airport is located, than for my room at Casa Eukaria (24 hour stop-over).

Casa Eukaria: Nice private home converted to hostel by Steven and Natalia, a cool and very smart young couple working to make the place pay off. The house belongs to his mom. It should happen for them as it’s only ten minutes from the airport. If the cabbie who took me to it had known the right way to get there (and maybe he did) my cab ride would have been $20 less. 

None the less, other than the noise from a birthday party next door, I truly enjoyed my stay while waiting to depart Costa Rica.

Steven is a computer whiz and helped me with some stuff and then Natalia cooked one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten .

I took my leave eventually and was deposited at the airport where I was treated rudely by the Avianca counter personnel, had a rotten flight with an unscheduled layover and had a brand new collapsible baggage cart totally destroyed by Aviacas baggage handlers. Avianca/ Taca sucks! Will avoid them like the plague. Left Costa Rica and my life there and since I’ve posted CR photos for years, only added the pertinent ones here. Adios Costa Rica and Buena Suerte!

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Booked Avianca but it was TACA who was the carrier and what a passenger rape I experienced. Was a multi-city flight, first stop San Jose, Costa Rica with a plane change in San Salvador. That went ok. Then it fell apart. Was supposed to have a direct flight from San Jose to Quito, Ecuador but it got rerouted through Bogota, Columbia with a 2 hour delay. Plane was delayed on departure from Dallas for 40 minutes and delayed in San Jose for 40 minutes due to mechanical issues which were resolved by an onboard passenger who mechanics for another airline.

Airline DESTROYED my new backpack cart…..TS ! Caused me a 12 hour delay in the rerouting. Lost my hotel room in Quito since we arrived a day late. And then when I needed to cut my trip short due to an aging fathers health, kept me on hold or bouncing from agent to agent for 5 1/2 hours over a three day period and THEN besides the $175 change fee wanted to charge me an additional $875 to fly home early. THEN, told me they would try to work something out and would call me within 72 hours and I NEVER heard from them again so I booked a fight home on American for $411. Stay away……far, far, away from Taca Airlines !  They are no good from my experience!

Don't  FLY TACA ! They don't  do well !

Don’t FLY TACA! They don’t do well!

palm ocean sky

Peaceful and pretty !

Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica in Limon Province isn’t the prettiest beach in the country. In my opinion it isn’t even the prettiest beach on the Caribbean. I like Playa Manzanillo better but Chiquita is nice and it’s just a few kilometers south of Puerto Viejo and accessed by good road. There are several fairly decent places to stay and the prices aren’t too terribly expensive. For the budget minded, there are some good deals if you don’t mind not being right on the beach.

The best thing about Playa Chiquita is Bruce Walker and his Playa Chiquita Riding Stables. Bruce loves what he’s doing and he loves people AND he loves his horses. Periodically a person falls into his or her niche and with some luck, faith, and hard work make their mark doing something they love. Bruce Walker has succeeded in being what all of us strive to be….HAPPY ! I respect the enthusiasm and sacrifice that Bruce has brought to his efforts to become a part of his Costa Rican community and I admire the lengths he has gone to so that he may realize his dream of living in Costa Rica but more than all that, I am proud to have such a wonderful man for a friend. Bruce is kind, gentle, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient, and giving. He thanks God for his good fortune and never, to my knowledge, has been anything but a blessing to those who come into contact with him.  Playa Chiquita Riding Stables is a great place to experience the jungle and  Caribbean shoreline from horseback in the company of a man who is excited to share what he has and what he knows. I highly recommend Playa Chiquita Riding Adventures to anyone headed to the area of Puerto Viejo. Tell my dear friend Bruce that I said hello ! See his happy face below. Check out his website at http://www.playachiquitaridingadventures.com.

Bruce Walker from Playa Chiquita, Costa Rica

I was looking forward to revisiting my old love affair with Costa Rica. She was the beginning of my wanderlust and had been a kind mistress for many years. I loved her and she repaid my adoration with whispered promises of things yet to come.

I arrived on the 10th of July and took a cab ride to the unique little boutique hotel of my dear and beloved friend William Rodriguez. Casa Marta and her staff were old favorites of mine and it was like showing up at your Aunts’ house on Thanksgiving. The arrival and welcome were warm and sincere and it brought smiles to my face and a song to my heart.001 1024x768 0261 1024x768 024 1024x768

William was the same wonderful amigo I had said goodbye to a couple of years before and his staff were the same sweet pair of accommodating ladies who had always helped make my stays so memorable.

I went to Maritza’s (top photo) for some of her wonderful Empanadas and it was so flattering to see that they not only remembered me but seemed to do so with genuine affection.

I hooked up with my good buddy Mauricio (Mau) and he treated me to a great Italian sandwich made with bread which he bakes fresh daily. I shared it with William that evening and it was yummy!

I walked to El Regalon, a small clothing store and bought an umbrella from the lovely Nerlyn and saw that she was as lovely as ever…..and still way too young for old dogs! LOL! The umbrella she sold me for about $5 was defective and tore the first time I used it….but such is Costa Rica.

I stopped by to see my old doctor friend, Girish Sony Soni, and had a wonderful chat with Evyllen, his new nurse and receptionist while we waited on Girish to appear for his scheduled appointments and walk-ins. He was overjoyed to see me and the sincerity of his welcome brought a lump to my throat. for as with all my friends, I hold them seriously in high regard.

Costa Rica has gotten increasingly expensive and some of my old haunts are no longer in business, falling victim to decline in business opportunity. It saddened me but I did enjoy my three day stay though it will be a long time before Palmares sees me again, I’m afraid 002 1024x768.

This is the first in a three part posting on my return visit to Coata Rica. Stay tuned for more.

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Playa Carrillo, just south of the surfer and tourist village of Samara is without a doubt one of the prettiest beaches in Costa Rica and one of the most swim friendly. The sheltered bay is usually very smoot and current free. The water is warm and the beach itself is sparkling white sand backed by palm trees. There are concrete tables and benches scattered among the palms which are not naturally occurring but were planted by a fan of the beach some 30 or so years ago. Samara, only 3.5 miles away to the north is a lively little town with shops and a few beachfront eating and drinking establishments of note. I’ve looked at several hotels in the area but El Sueno Tropical wins my two thumbs up award for friendliness, value, and service. Even though it’s about 3 km from the beach, it’s easily accessible by car in 5 minutes and also 10 minutes to Samara. Playa Carrillo is romantic and the sea is just beautiful. I am looking forward someday to another visit to the area and Playa Carrillo will definitely be a must do destination for me.