The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Barcelo Playa Tambor

Thursday, July 4, 2002

Today we had to leave paradise to move on to ournext destination.  We’d been having misgivings about this last part of our trip the whole time–we’d stayed in such nice hotels that we were concerned that the all-inclusive we’d thought would be a nice end to our trip would instead seem claustrophobic.  As Mark finished his packing I stared out the windows to fix the view in my mind.  Good thing too, because what should I see but scarlet-billed acararis, more commonly known as tucans!  Score!

On that note, we left Tulemar and Manuel Antonio and headed for Puntarenas to take the ferry to Tambor where we would be staying at the Barcelo Playa Tambor (no link because I don’t inadvertently want to give them more business!).  The drive was fine, the road seemed much smoother when it wasn’t raining buckets and we could see where we were going.  We hit Puntarenas at about 1:00, and the ferry left at 2:00 and there was enough room for our car so that was good.  It was hotter than heck in the car line and there’s nothing to do there, but fortunately the woman in back of us had purchased a pet bunny so Genevieve got to look at that.

Genevieve made lots of friends on the ferry, in particular Jorge, who is the vice-minister in charge of Costa Rican planning!  Genevieve liked all of the Costa Ricans very much.  She won’t let other Americans touch her or hold her but she would let any of the Costa Ricans carry her or whatever.  I’m not really sure why.

Once we got to Paquera and recovered our car, Genevieve was worn out so she fell right to sleep.  We got to Barceló Playa Tambor about 45 minutes later and had to get her out of the car and she was very fussy and weepy.  Which is not good because they were sooooo bad at the check-in!  I guess nobody has ever booked a reservation directly with the hotel over the internet before (most people go through travel agents) and they were so confused that they had to bring my confirmation slip into the back.  Literally 20 minutes later the supervisor comes out, and apparently the problem is that the rate that I was quoted is too low.  They fool around for another five minutes (Genevieve is screaming “our room, our room, crib, crib” at this point) and then decide to let us check in after all.  I ask what the rate is that it’s such a big deal–get this, we were quoted $79.00 per person when the rate is $81.00!!  For $2.00 they made us wait a half hour?!  And never once did they ask if we would just pay the $81.00 (we would have) they just assumed we had cheated or were cheap or I don’t know what.  As we’re leaving I say we need a crib. They say, well, that will be $15.00 a day.  Fine, just bring the darn crib you stupid people!!

We see our room and it’s a nice enough normal hotel room but after where we’ve been…..  We read the rules and regulations of the place, and they are copious.  Don’t hang your clothes on the balcony railings to dry.  Don’t walk on the grass.  Pool towels are only given from 8:00 to 4:30, if you lose your pool towel ticket it’s $15.00.  They counted the towels in the room, if you take one they’ll charge you. Etc. etc. etc.  We were wondering what their typical guest was like that they would have all of this so prominently displayed.  And it’s hardly a “five star” attitude to treat your guests like this!  We could already tell this wasn’t going to work for us, so we figured out what we wanted to see in the area (Cabo Blanco reserve, and the Curu wildlife refuge) and decided we could check out one day early and go back to Xandari and see the Volcano Poas we hadn’t seen earlier.  We called Xandari to make the reservation, a whole other headache because they hadn’t turned our phone on because we had to leave a deposit for them to do so.  Finally got everything straightened out, made one reservation and canceled the other.

After all of this hassle we were worn out, so we decided to make the best of it and head to the pool.  Of course it was way past the time we could get a towel, so we had to drip dry.  The pool was nice enough–one of those really big ones with all of the little cubbies and a swim-up bar (not that that was possible with Genevieve).  After we cleaned up we went to dinner–a buffet which always works well.  The food was just okay, Costa Rican dorm food as Mark called it.

And then to bed, although this place had HBO so Mark got sucked into watching Madonna videos…..

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