The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Tamarindo

Saturday, July 23, 2005

We packed up our room and said goodbye to Tulemar and Manuel Antonio.  I still like the bungalows and the grounds are nice, but with the new buildings the entire ambience is changing.  I think next time we’ll stay at Si Como No.  It’s a green hotel, so they respect the environment a bit more, and it’s highly rated.  We were driving to Tamarindo, which promised to be a long trek.  Much of the highway past San Jose is a mess–the main Pan American highway and it was one lane in each direction, rough concrete and full of potholes.  We only made one wrong turn and made it to Capitan Suizo before dark.  This is a very highly recommended hotel, but my first impression was hardly favorable.  We had requested a bungalow, as that was what was advised to fit a family.  The bungalow we got (number 4) was right next to the pool–and I do mean right next to the pool.  Great for a pool cabana, but this was an entirely screen walled room–I felt like we were on display!  And then the only place to put clothes was in the bathroom (which we later figured made sense, as it was the only place you could change in secure privacy!), and it was shelves, not drawers, which are not kind to little kids clothes.  Top it off with the fact that it had one of those stupid little european handheld things instead of a true shower, and I was ranting!  But we settled in, made our reservations for dinner and went to the pool.  This they certainly got right–there is a wading section of the pool that is probably only two feet deep that is set aside from the rest of the pool, and the main pool has a slope like a beach.  And there was a rope swing for Genevieve.  Both of the kids were in pool heaven. Additionally, the other guests at Capitan Suizo are great–lots of Europeans as well as Americans, all very friendly.  Dinner was actually really good, and we were treated to music which thrilled the girls.  Once we got back to the bungalow we pulled the curtains for privacy and it actually wasn’t bad.  That night there was a huge lighting storm.  Thunder so loud it sounded like the sky was ripping and it made the bungalow walls shake.  It scared the heck out of me, but Mark and the kids slept right through…

Sunday, July 24, 2005

We’re at a beach resort, better go to the beach!  We hung out in front of the hotel all morning, and then switched to the swimming pool after a brief nap in the hammocks.  The kids were fascinated by this ctenosaur lizard that was hanging out in the pool’s drainage pipe. A fellow guest tipped us off that the tide was out and we could go explore the tide pools.  We waded into one and saw a couple of puffer (porcupine) fish and a moray eel.  Too cool! I’m beginning to get the hang of this place!  We showered and then headed into Tamarindo for lunch (Burger King, it’s the life, you know).  The kids were happy with their kids’ meals, but dang it was so hot!  Tamarindo is a strange mix of the US (Burger King, TCBY, tons of American college student surfers) and Costa Rica (nice shopping malls with dirt roads leading up to them.) We stopped for frozen yogurt, and then headed back to the room where Charlotte napped and Genevieve played.  We swam some more in the pool before dinner, and then drove into town where we found a nice pizza parlor.  They actually have pretty good Italian food in Costa Rica, it seems.  Back to the hotel and to bed–on the drive, we noticed that the Halloween crabs in the road would stop and face off the car with their claws in the air.  Uh, dude?  We’re still a lot bigger than you… As a side note, ceiling fans kick butt when it’s hot!  We’re going to have to get one for our room at home.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Tempted by the sightings of the exotic fish in the water, we decided to go to Playa Conchal nearby where they have snorkeling right from the beach, so Mark and I could take turns.  On the way we dropped off our laundry–in by 10:00 and out by 3:00 for the low price of $11.00–can’t beat that!  We drove to Brasilito and then onto the beach for a short stretch and then through a dirt road, up a ravine (thank goodness there were other cars in front of us, otherwise I don’t think we would have figured it out) and poof, we were at the most beautiful beach.  There is no sand, just crushed (and some not so crushed) shells.  The equipment rental guy arrived pretty soon after we did, and I was snorkeling in no time.  I saw three kinds of puffer fish, this eel grass fish, parrot fish, and lots of pretty fish that weren’t on our ID cards.  There is no shortage of fish, although the water, especially this time of year, is a bit murkier than the Caribbean or Hawaii.  The kids enjoyed playing with the shells and hermit crabs, and we even got Charlotte back into the water (her experience in Tulemar, while it didn’t seem to bother her at the time, did make her afraid of the ocean for a while.  She would say in all seriousness “Charlotte not swim in ocean, Charlotte swim in swimming pool”).  After our wonderful time, we went to the restaurant that Capitan Suizo recommended, El Cameron Dorado (the golden shrimp).  It was very nice, right on the beach.  They had a swing the girls could play with and a parrot eating kitchen scraps.  And a TV showing nature specials.  Unfortunately, Genevieve was really acting up so we couldn’t really enjoy the experience (they bring you scented water to wash your hands with before your meal, and scented colored water with flowers for after to get the fish smell off, and ladies get a flower for their hair).  But it was a good restaurant.  We went back to our hotel, the kids rested, we all went for a swim (nice fellow guest teenagers played with the kids thrilling them and me) and had a nice dinner at the restaurant.  All in all, I came to really like this place and would go back.

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