One Man’s Perspective – Costa Rica

Costa Rica, a beautiful tropical paradise in Central America bordered by the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other with national parks and volcanoes between them.

Three couples decided this is where we were going on our vacation. One couple had connections with a nice motel, another with the airline and I said I would rent a van for our stay there. I didn’t realize that I would be doing all the driving. I also didn’t realize that the van would be a VW bus, but it all worked out, kind of.

We landed at San Jose and got our VW van, loaded it with our group and luggage and took a trip to see the town, buy some staples and try to find the motel we had rented. We didn’t know it was in the middle of the jungle. The motel was nice, but the location was unbelievable. We were in the jungle with exotic birds, wildlife and plants – some of which I had never seen before. And, it was warm; I like it warm, and the average temperature was in the high 70s to mid 80s – perfect for sightseeing.

About half of Costa Rica is rainforest so that was first on our to-do list, and rainforest means that you should always have a light rain jacket handy. You don’t walk through the rainforest; it is too thick. We took a cable chair built for two. It went into the forest at ground level and came out at treetop level. It was great, and we saw things we had never seen before.

Our next stop was the butterfly farm. We had been in some butterfly houses here in the states, but we were in Costa Rica. They had a huge building with the perfect environment and plants designed to attract butterflies. As we entered the two-door entrance, it didn’t take long for the butterflies to find us. They were everywhere and as curious about us as we were about them. It was wonderful. The varieties and colors were brilliant. We were impressed.

I mentioned volcanoes earlier. There are more than 20 named volcanoes in Costa Rica, and five are active. To be considered active they must have erupted in the last 10,000 years. Interesting, but let me say that there is nothing like seeing the glow of active volcanoes in the night while swimming in waters warmed by them. Breathtaking.

Next up is sailfishing in the Pacific Ocean. We had chartered a captain and his mate for a day. Good thing, too, because we didn’t get a nibble for the first few hours, and part of our crew was starting to get seasick. Just trolling along is tough on the stomach. We had the outriggers and two lines trolling over the stern. Wham, a fish hit the bait on one of the lines. A sailfish was jumping out of the water, and the reel was screaming as the sailfish tried to throw the hook while the rest of us were trying to get the other lines out of the water while the person on the reel was working the sailfish in. We got him after a tough fight. It was catch and release. When we had landed him, we took his picture with the person who landed him. Then we released him. This was exciting, and nobody thought any more about seasickness. We literally caught a total of nine sailfish. In the middle of all of this, the port (left) engine started to act up. The captain went down below to the engine compartment and yelled to shut the engine off. Then, a moment later, he asks, “Is there a captain on board?” I immediately volunteered and soon had two fish on the lines, each going in their own direction. The best news is everyone got their chance to fight the sailfish.

Our day of departure arrived, and we planned to drive to San Jose for one last fling at shopping. The city was crowded, and we had trouble finding a parking spot. We figured we would arrive at the airport early to make sure everything was okay. One small problem arose. We couldn’t find the van. We knew where we left it, and it wasn’t there. Somebody stole the van! What were we going to do now? We got our luggage and told the rental office our problem. They suggested we board the plane and leave the contract open. Scary stuff. No van to return, open contract and foreign country, and no other alternative. A few weeks later, a bill and the contract arrived in the mail. The police had towed the van and returned it to the rental company. Thank you, Lord.



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