Costa Rica

The Interior – Lake Arenal – Costa Rica Part III

I SOS’d my boyfriend by the end of January to say I had to get out of my kitchen situation. I felt no need to see out my 4-month commitment with the way the situation had devolved and the truths that had been revealed. They didn’t want me anyway. I wasn’t even able to enjoy Costa Rica very much on my days off. He had been planning to join me at the end of April anyway, so he said he could be there for Valentine’s Day; we’d spend a week in the Lake Arenal area.

Not being one to ask people for favours, I contacted a Westjet friend in desperation to see if I could take her up on her offer for a buddy pass. Since Westjet had just started flying in and out of Liberia, she was able to get me home for a really good price; I just had to get to the other side of the country.

My boyfriend booked a trip to San Jose. He said he got an awesome deal—about half what my ticket had cost. Hmm … San Jose, Costa Rica or San Jose, California? His mistake set him off … but, he changed his ticket and sucked up the cost and his attitude. By the time he arrived, we were both prepared to have a wonderful time in the highlands of Costa Rica.

I took the bus with the exiting yoga group to San Jose and then another to Grecia and a hostel. Who would have thought there’d be an Argentine restaurant in a city of only 17,000? I treated myself to Malbec, Lomo, empanadas—the whole works—and it took me right back to my days in Buenos Aires. Feeling nostalgic, I went into the Templo Nuestra Senoras de las Mercedes and sat back in the huge cathedral watching the small wedding take place. I could no longer hold back my tears.

The next day I went to Alajuela and checked into our BnB and waited for my boyfriend. We walked around town, visited the famous ox cart and the cathedral in the main square. The next day we took a car to La Fortuna, stopping at a butterfly farm and a woodworking factory.

La Fortuna had a nice calm atmosphere and clean, moderately active main square. Our motel was across the street. It had a lush inner courtyard, pool and outdoor bar. They made a feeble attempt to raise their star rating by placing towel elephants on the bed.

On Valentine’s Day we had a sweaty walk to meet a group for a half-day tour of the Volcan Arenal area. Thankfully, the hike was through the trees. We enjoyed a lovely dinner a block from our motel.

My thwarted attempt to spend the winter in Costa Rica ended when we took the bus to Liberia and separate planes home. I liked the interior very much, and the Caribbean side does have elements of charm, but I never saw the Pacific side of Paradise. Another time.