Costa Rica: Getting There

It's funny because in a way Costa Rica seems like a distant memory. But if I think really hard, I can remember it. And let me tell you what; it was an amazing experience. I've never taken a trip like that by myself and it was transformative. The journey there was a long one but it was well worth the hours and the exhaustion. I stayed in Malpais which is a tiny town in the south west part of the country. I flew to Miami and then to San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica from there I switched to a small regional airline called Sensa. The Sensa airport was nothing more than a waiting room with a TV playing Law & Order and about twenty plastic chairs. As I sat there for my two hour layover I stared at each of my fellow waiters wondering who might also be on my trip. I knew, at this point, there were only three other people coming so I scanned the crowd for ladies about my age who looked like they might be the surfing type. I had a few contenders picked out and this at least filled the time before my flight was called.

In my head I was picturing a thirty seater plane, no big deal. Well. It was much smaller than that, my friends. In total, the plane held 14 people. And wouldn't you know it, I ended up in the front row RIGHT behind the pilots. I could see all of the navigational tools and maps and it was truly terrifying. (see visual reference)

CR_pilot_cu
CR_pilot_cu
CR_tiny_plane
CR_tiny_plane

Once I got over the initial fear of plummeting to my watery grave in this tiny death trap of a plane, I relaxed and decided it was probably okay to go ahead and look out the window. Good thing I did because the view was quite spectacular.

CR_view_from_plane
CR_view_from_plane

The tiniest airplane ever flew for about forty minutes taking us from San Jose (the capitol) to Tambor. We landed on what was just a dirt road in the middle of a big clearing (once I spotted the dirt-road-runway from the air I definitely saw my life flash before me eyes). But we landed and I was (shockingly) still alive. Hooray. The airport on the other side consisted of two long benches and a coke machine.

There was a man with a Pura Vida Adventures (the name of the company hosting my trip) sign so I stepped forward and greeted him. One of the girls I had pegged as a fellow surf learner followed me. But then, I saw a couple step forward and they had a kid a with them. Um. What? I was immediately confused and I figured I had the wrong trip name. But I confirmed and I did not. In a surprise twist that no one saw coming not only was one half of the trip a couple. But they also had brought their toddler in tow.

Oh goodness this was not at all what I had pictured.

So we all climbed in the taxi for the 1 hour ride to Malpais and I silently freaked out about how awful this entire trip would be. And I prayed to the surf camp gods that I got along well with the lone other single traveler or else this was going to be a very, very long week. And can you believe that all this was before we even got there. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.