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Costa Rica Recap: Tamarindo

November 5, 2010

After three days near the Arenal volcano, we headed to the Pacific coast.  I’d heard that Tamarindo was actually a fairly big city, laden with crime, and nothing exciting to check out.  But the nearby Playa Grande was supposed to be one of the best places to spot giant leatherback turtles.  And, since he worked at an aquarium in college, Jason was particularly interested in checking out some turtles during our Costa Rican adventure.  So I found a small resort, just outside Tamarindo & Playa Grande that we could spend a few days at.

On our way to the coast, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand, where I awkwardly motioned for fruit (I don’t speak spanish).  I was really charmed by the roadside fruit stands, especially by the awesome (and awesomely fresh) tropical fruits displayed there.

We also stopped by Leo’s Souvenirs, at the suggestion of the Treehouse Hotel manager.  After we had a minute to look around Leo’s store, he took us out back to show us his 8 pet birds.  And we got to hold the birds.  And then, Leo took us on a tour of his wood-carving shop, where most of the things in Leo’s store are made.  In fact, Leo’s wife paints many of his wood pieces to sell in his shop.  It was a pretty interesting experience, especially since Leo didn’t speak english and we don’t speak spanish.  Definitely one of those super-random but memorable parts of the vacay.

We finally arrived at the resort late in the afternoon.  (And we totally stopped at McDonald’s for bathrooms & fries on the way.  I’m embarrassed, but sometimes you just need fries and reliable toilets.  And, if it counts for anything, the chicken snack wrap that I ate had Costa Rican flair.)

Anyways, the resort.  We arrived in time to watch the sun set over the ocean from the infinity pool.  The rooms were clean & comfortable, the staff was amazingly friendly & helpful.  I instantly felt pampered.  Dinner was delish – made of fresh local foods.  We ate at a large table with the other guests at the hotel… communal dining with strangers always makes me a little nervous (and Jason flat out HATES them) but we actually both had a really great time.  The other guests at the hotel were our age (the hotel only has 10 guests at a time), and it was interesting to hear all of the different stories at the table.

The following day, we decided to take a morning hike through the jungle & nearby town.

And the hotel driver was sweet enough to pick us up on the trail just as it started pouring (which, fortunately, was after I had taken a few pics!).

After the brief rainstorm and a delish Costa Rican lunch, the sun came out and we sat by the pool, Jason with a beer, and myself with an amazing fresh fruit smoothie.  A family of howler monkeys traveled through the trees just outside the resort doors, and we stood outside for a while, watching them & taking photos.  The monkeys are so cool (kind of wish I had a tail now), and they make the strangest noises.  It was pretty awesome to observe them just doing their thing so close to us!

That night, we had another great meal with the others at the resort.  As mentioned earlier, we wanted to go see the leatherbacks, but we were told that the tour wouldn’t happen because JT and I were the only people that had inquired about the tour, and they wouldn’t take us unless 4 others were interested.  Bummer.  But we had a great time at dinner anyways… until something really creepy happened.

The owner, who had been very friendly, popping in and out and chatting with the guests, made an after dinner appearance.  And offered everyone after dinner liquors (not the creepy part).  And then told some very sexist & slightly offensive jokes (a little creepy).  And then told other stories about one time when he & his friend had prostitutes at the resort, he slipped and had to get 9 stitches (very creepy; also, he is married).  And this devolved into a whole stream of badness, including admission that he’s evading taxes, that he’d love an excuse to shoot someone (including explicit mention of gun type & shot position), and further inappropriate comments that I’d prefer forgetting.  We finally managed to escape to our room, and let me just tell you that despite the niceness of the rest of the staff, despite the cleanliness of the resort, despite the fabulous food & drinks, and despite the infinity pool, we will absolutely not be staying there ever again.  (Note that I’m intentionally not linking to the place, but if you have questions, email me and I’ll be happy to tell all).

Actually, we’ll probably not stay at an all-inclusive place again – and not because of the owner’s bad behavior, but because we’ve decided that we’re just not resort people.

The next day, after getting massages (Jason’s first!) we were excited to head to our third & final destination: Nosara.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 11:57 am

    O god! How creepy, indeed! What was that guy thinking? At least you have some funny memories and stories that not everyone has.

  2. Debbie permalink
    November 5, 2010 5:01 pm

    OOOO! I don’t think J told me the creepy part. I think I would have been afraid to go to sleep. That place looked so nice on the web.
    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  3. mom permalink
    November 6, 2010 12:22 am

    Yikes! Creepy owner! What is he thinking??? Be sure to post to the travel websites so others don’t get stuck with this guy…he should be out of business…

    • November 6, 2010 9:50 am

      Super-creepy! The odd thing is that it gets the BEST ratings on Trip Advisor & no one else mentioned ANYTHING about the owner. Although there was one bad rating on the site and the owner came in and wrote a response totally bashing the guy who wrote the bad rating – talking about him and his newly-married wife fighting all the time & sharing other personal details about the guy. So I have to figure out what I’ll write to warn people but not get bashed in return…

  4. November 6, 2010 6:32 pm

    I think you and I might be vacation twins. First Ireland and now I’m looking at Costa Rica. Can you email me what resort you’re talking about so that I can make sure to remove it from my list. The infinity pool looks a bit familiar but I want to confirm. Thanks!

  5. November 9, 2010 3:41 pm

    Hope you tipped Leo.

    And isn’t it interesting what people will tell other people that they don’t even know…I’m not sure I’d be creeped out (however, not being there – I guess I don’t know), but my eye-brows would have been raised.


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