Central America

Costa Rica Day #8: Leaving Paradise

Friday, September 30 – Liberia, CR
We woke up this morning to blue skies, warm weather, and an ocean with areas of bright turquoise water. I said to Shannon, “You see all those turquoise spots in the ocean?”

“Yeah.”

“You know what those mean?”

“Nope.”

“Visibility. Those are spots of perfect underwater visibility. And I have to catch a $#*(@$ plane this afternoon.”

I couldn’t believe that the ocean cleaned up so quickly overnight and I couldn’t dive in it because of our afternoon plane ride. But the sun was shining and the air was warm, which meant that the beach called us and our books. (Shannon, btw, got through five books while we were in CR. I was still nursing the one JD Robb I’d procured from the airport.)

This is where the travel nightmare began. We left the resort at 1:00 for our 2:30 flight to San Jose. The Liberia airport was 30 minutes and a $35 cab ride away so we go there at 1:30 and then waited at the regional airline counter for someone to show up and check us in. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Not a soul showed up. Shannon wandered over and picked up a brochure.

“Hey.” She said, “This says their San Jose flight is at 3:30.”

*cringe* I knew right away what had happened. The airline itinerary was in military time format, and I miscalculated the 15:30 departure into a 2:30 departure. Doh! We were waaaaay too early. Of course it wasn’t worth it to go back to the resort – that would take too much time and cash, so instead we sat in the cafe, ordered milkshakes, and – you guessed it – read our books.

A little while later a man from the regional airline walked up to our table and informed us that San Jose was rained in and little regional planes were grounded. Dammit! We both had international flights scheduled the next day so we needed to get back to San Jose as soon as possible and, of course, there were no other flights into San Jose that night.

Loooooooong story short, I was able to switch to a Continental flight out of Liberia the next afternoon, though it wouldn’t get me back to NYC until midnight Saturday night. Shannon switched her regional flight to early Saturday morning, essentially sentencing herself to six hours in the San Jose Airport until her flight left at 2:00. Neither of us were very pleased, but such is the way of international travel. We found a Best Western Hotel in Liberia with questionably clean floors and a tempermental bathroom light. Shannon chuckled when she saw the bedspread, “I doubt these have been changed since the 1980s”. I had to agree with her.

We had dinner at a place in downtown Liberia where we sat on the second floor patio and became hypnotized by the rotating neon Pepsi sign near our heads. Not the most ideal way to end a lovely vacation, but not altogether miserable either.

All in all, I’d definitely go back!