From Manuel Antonio, which is a few hours from the Panama border, we had to make it to Mal Pais on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. In order to get over there we had to hop on a ferry (our 3rd of the trip) and drive across the peninsula. We have to be out of Costa Rica by June 26th because of our little time crunch in Nicaragua, when we booked the house in Mal Pais we were planning to be there for a full month, checking out on June 31st. Obviously we weren’t going to be able to make that work so I had emailed the landlord a few weeks before to see if we could move in a few days early. She said no and that someone was moving in for the couple weeks before we were due. Even though we couldn’t move into the house we still arrived in Mal Pais a couple days early and set up camp just down the beach from our rental house.
On June 30th I took a walk down to the house to scope it out. It looked pretty sweet and I noticed that there wasn’t anybody there so I sent an email to the caretaker to see if we could move in a day early. She got back to me promptly with a yes and that we could check in at noon. We were so excited because it had been raining and we were tired of hanging out under our little umbrella all day. We walked down to the house at noon and got the full tour.
After the caretaker left we took a good look at the house and much to our dismay it was a mess, having been blinded by the beautiful views we hadn’t noticed it during the tour. There was mold and food left in the fridge, food splatter on the wall next to the stove and the dishes hadn’t been washed thoroughly enough so there was mold and food on them too. That was just in the kitchen so you can imagine how the rest of the house looked. I thought that because of the short notice the cleaning lady hadn’t arrived yet and maybe the caretaker forgot to mention that she would be coming by later. So, I sent an email to the owner with the caretaker CC’d explaining the mess, the fact that we were a little disappointed because we had family coming and that we were wondering when the cleaning lady was going to come by. Well, the owner didn’t seem too concerned by my email, she sent a reply basically stating that it was our fault for coming early and that if we wanted the house cleaned by someone we could pay a lady to come out. I think it goes without saying that we were a little bothered by this response and sent one back explaining that we were told it was move-in ready otherwise we would have been more than happy to stay at the campsite for one more day. We’ve yet to hear back from her a month later. Watch out Tripadvisor! Now, being the resourceful overlanders that we are, we made due with what we had and after hours of cleaning and decorating (with palm frawns, shells and sun bleached drift wood) the house was looking like the vacation rental that it should.
A couple days after we moved in we walked into town and decided to rent a quad for the month. The quad worked out perfectly because the roads are so bad that taking the Burro into town was a hassle, plus Jamie built a board rack on it so he could take it to all the surf spots. We took the quad out to Montezuma for the day and took a trip out onto an island that is accessible only during low tide. There is a cemetary on the island, both Jamie and I decided that we wouldn’t mind spending the rest of our lives out there.
We had family from both sides coming and first up were my mom and niece. We spent 11 awesome days with them. They rented another quad and we drove over to Montezuma to hike to the waterfalls and swim around. We’re from San Diego and we LOVE taking walks on the beach; it was so fun to be able to do that with my mom again. We also took a trip to San Jose a couple nights before their flight and went white water rafting down the Paquare River. Over on the gulf side in Montezuma there is an awesome beach with great waves for beginners. My niece had mentioned her interest in surfing but we could only get her onto the paddleboard while they were down. I got up on the surfboard though! Woohoo! It was nice spending all that time with my mom and niece. We relaxed a ton; I think they both read two books and we played so many rounds of Hand and Foot (a card game) that we lost count. Of how many games we played that is, not who the winner was (me).
Jamie’s dad and stepmom arrived a couple days after my mom and niece left. They were only here for 5 days so we really had to pack it all in and everyday we were moving. We did a few of the same things with them and also got a chance to check out a few new sites. We took the rental car over to Cabo Blanco National Park and hiked around while taking pictures of the wildlife. There is an old run down hotel at the end of the road in Mal Pais and it’s a beautiful spot to take pictures and explore the bat caves.
While both sets of family members were here we enjoyed many a meals out in town. I think we may have each gained about 10 lbs with all the steak, lobster tacos, pineapple jalapeno margaritas and cheesecake. Don’t worry we also showed our families just how good we are at cooking up an RQ (restaurant quality according to Jamie’s dad) meal at home. We made grilled fish, chicken and veggie soup, veggie burritos and steak salad just to name a few.
All in all the time spent with family has really been good to us and I’m sure to them as well. It was great to be able to hang with them for solid amounts of time without all the distractions of home. Our three months here in Costa Rica is up and from here we are making our way back up to Nicaragua in hopes of meeting up with Jamie’s good friend who just so happens to be in the middle of his grand adventure as well.