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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oceans of Fun!

Papaya con leche in Playa Jaco
Kai as "Tiger Woods"

Just coming up for air after a couple of very busy weeks -- preparing for the Atenas Charity Chili Cook-off, celebrating our 2nd place victory afterwards then quickly getting final plans in place for a visit from my son Damian and grandson Kai coming in from San Francisco. And of course, the week of their trip was hectic enough with outings to Playa Jaco, Sámara and Hacienda Pinilla in Guanacaste -- much of it in search of "the perfect wave" for Damian's surfing fun. We did find some good waves here and there but never quite as robust as he had hoped. Still it was a very good visit with lots of fun times playing Wii games, from bowling to tennis to Tiger Woods' golf. Like many teenagers, Kai is virtually an expert at most electronic games of skill and he took particular delight in "whuppin'" his grandma. But I didn't mind because it was such a joy to have them around. Kai is still the wonderful sweet child he has always been, loving to us and courteous to all. He even struck up a good friendship with our landlords' son Isaac next door, spending several hours playing soccer with him.

David, Damian, Marc and Eroca
Our first evening's entertainment was a big outdoor dinner party at Marcial and Saedi's house (I've been mis-spelling Saedi's name all this time!). The potluck food was great and Grandpa Layne, followed by the talented Daniel, serenaded the group on guitar. the next day we headed out for the Guanacaste beaches, taking the small Puntareñas - Playa Naranjo ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya, enjoying watching the seagulls flitting around the upper deck to catch crumbs thrown by passengers. Then we drove up the Nicoya Peninsula and across to beautiful Playa Sámara, where we stayed at a comfortable hotel with spectacular views, the Apartotel Mirador de Sámara. The Mirador is situated high up on a hillside and our spacious two-bedroom apartment faced the ocean, providing us some stunning sunset views from our balcony that afternoon. Although the Mirador is not as fancy as some places we have stayed, such as Hacienda Pinilla, it was a good value for the money and would really be an excellent choice for a longer-term stay. In fact, we met two young women from Poland who had stayed there a week earlier in their travels and had now returned for a three-week stint. That's long enough to stock up the kitchen and save money on meals by cooking in the apartment.

Mirador de Samara
Layne and I took a romantic sunset stroll that afternoon along the sweeping half-moon Playa Sámara since it was my birthday, then we all headed out for a festive birthday dinner: a really delicious pizza and red wine. Because we liked the small beach town feel of Sámara, with street vendors selling t-shirts, sundresses and wooden knickknacks and a delightful organic restaurant nearby, Layne and I are considering a return visit for a few nights at the Mirador de Sámara to allow more time to explore the beach and local area.

Birthday dinner
Then it was off to Hacienda Pinilla where we had high hopes for good waves since the Avellanes Beach in front of the elegant Beach Club has a reputation as "Little Hawai'i" and nearby Langosta Beach is likewise well known for surfing. Alas, it was not to be. Not that Damian didn't get in some pretty good surfing but with no Pacific "swell," the waves never got very big. With some lessons from his dad, Kai enjoyed boogie boarding on the smaller waves. Although we had been given a good discount on our suite, the food prices hit our pocketbooks pretty hard so after a couple of days, we were ready to head home for some of my own good cooking.
Nerf-ball in the pool 
Grandpa Layne at the Beach Club
Kai catches a wave!
The rest of the week seemed to whiz by as Damian made a day trip down to Jaco and Playa Hermosa and Kai played with his new friend next door. Before we knew it, the time had come to deliver them back to the airport and turn in the ridiculously overpriced and incredibly small Suzuki Jimmy to Payless Car Rental in Alajuela. A word to the wise: never rent from these guys because the hidden cost is in their daily insurance rate, which was easily twice what most places charge.

As any mother (or grandmother) knows, seeing your child is always a joy and getting to spend these fun days with our family was indeed a blessing which we will long remember and forever treasure. 

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the heads up about payless. I was about to jump on their cheap rate found by expedia but now i will stick with Solid Car Rental....thanks.....kerry