We arrive in Montezuma

Trip Start Dec 21, 2008
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Trip End Jan 02, 2009


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Sunday, December 21, 2008

We arrived in Miami with a 3 hour layover and then another flight to San Jose, Costa Rica with a 2 hour layover.  Without the layovers, it's actually only about a 6 hour flight.  In San Jose we went through Customs, which seemed more a formality as he collected our forms and said, "Buenos Dias" and off we went.  I think the real reason is for statistics and marketing.  Costa Rica, for the first time ever reached 2 Million tourists in one year.  The closest country to that in this region is Panama at 1.3 Million.  After leaving Customs, we headed out to SANSA, the regional airline.  Here is our boarding gate  





Flying SANSA is like flying a plane from the Flintstones...everyone has to pedal real fast and put their feet down to stop!  OH...and landing in Tambor, just north of Montezuma is an experience.  As we came in over the Gulf, we saw a dark brown strip amidst the space that used to be jungle...that would be our landing strip.  Still, it was a great experience and Alex, one of our hosts for the 2 weeks, was waiting for us when we came in.  Some pics of our flight over to Tambor:

The flight from San Jose to Tambor was only 30 minutes and costs $75 each way.  The other options are to drive 2-2.5 hours to Puntarenas and then get in line to get on a ferry that will take another hour to Paquera and then continue your drive to Montezuma.  The other option is a private shuttle that will pick you up in San Jose and drive you to Montezuma, that is only $45 but can take 5 hours.

We rented a casita (a small house) on a beautiful piece of land called Agua Vista, for those not up on their Spanish, it means "Water View" and that's exactly what we have.  This...is our view:
    







In addition to a view of the water we have howler monkeys, white-throated Capuchin monkeys, and lots of different birds.  The casita, is very nice with WiFi, a full kitchen, bathroom with shower, our own deck and "plunge pool".  The plunge pool is very nice after the beach or just after driving around.  The water doesn't get too warm, so it's very refreshing.  Alex and his wife Khalida are great hosts.  In fact, they had a nice welcome basket with fresh fruit, some breakfast foods, guides to the area, and samples from a local vendor who makes skin care products. What you DON'T get at Agua Vista is a TV, Radio or Phone.  For some people that can be very difficult, but to sit on the deck and hear the birds talking, the monkey's howling and the breeze blowing through the trees is sooooo relaxing.  If you're a 5-Star hotel type person who likes to be catered and doesn't want to "rough it", the Nicoya Penninsula is probably not for you.

On the way to the property, Alex subtley asked us why we didn't rent a car.  Since we don't own one back in Chelsea, and walk a lot anyway we didn't see a need, though the initial email did mention that it's a 2.2 km (about 1.4 miles) walk to downtown Montezuma.  After settling in, we headed downtown to check it out and Alex suggested we take a flashlight with us.  After about 5 minutes, we had checked out ALL of downtown Montezuma and decided to have a few drinks.  We were lucky enough to get the bus back up to the entrance of the property, because of that 2.2km, the majority is loosely packed gravel, so you can end up on your butt in a second; try that with a flashlight.

Some things to know if you plan to come to the Nicoya Penninsula...Banks are only in the major cities, but there are ATMs in some of the towns including Montezuma.  However, they're not very reliable.  The ATM here in Montezuma is out of service; let's see how long it remains out of service.  So, if you want to do any banking it's a 15 minute drive up to Cobano or longer to Mal Pais.  Secondly, the exchange rate for Dollars to Colones at the restaurants, etc. is horrible.  We used Oanda, a currency site to purchase our Colones before we left.  The fee was only $5 and they FedEx'd the money directly to the house, very cool.  One example is that when we left the exchange rate was 565.67 Colones to the Dollar, but a restaurant here is only changing at 485!  Another cool tool is the Big Mac Index.  It shows that in the US, the average cost of a Big Mac is $3.57 while in Costa Rica, the US equivalent is $3.1945 so the Dollar is doing fairly well here. 
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Where I stayed
Cabinas Agua Vista

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