This year we decided to do something bold, take a vacation over Christmas! I don’t know why we never did this before, both Mark’s and my company shut down over the break and the kids don’t have school, so we could get a two week vacation for four days of PTO. Deal!
12/21/2018 – 12/22 2018
Our original flight was cancelled back in October, and our new booking was less than ideal. We left San Jose at 12:40 and arrived in Phoenix two hours later. Our next flight would not depart until 11:00pm. So we headed out on the very convenient tram to light rail to downtown Phoenix. Had a very nice dinner at the Blue Hound. Downtown was pretty dead, but still it was way better than hanging out in the airport.
We finally got assigned seats 30 minutes before the plane departed, thanks American for your very weird policy. The flight to Costa Rica was pretty miserable. No service at all, young girl in front of me reclined her seat fully even before the plane took off, and the lights inexplicably kept going on and then off and then on and then off through the entire flight. But we did get to Costa Rica at 5am local time. At that time in the morning there’s nobody in the lines at customs so we breezed through. They never even took the forms I’d so painstakingly filled out on the airplane!
Caught a cab to the Double Tree Cariari where we had booked for the night before so we’d be able to immediately check in. Very good call. The hotel is nice, straight shot to the airport and it’s got a resort feel. Reasonably priced too. We showered, got breakfast, then took a nap (backwards I know), Charlotte and I went for a little walk around the hotel, then the whole family had lunch at the hotel and then headed out for our tour of the Doka Estate coffee plantation. I’d booked this trip on Viator the week before because the hotel didn’t offer this tour and we had limited time on the ground to organize. Obviously you could just take a cab to the plantation and then pay and it would have been a lot cheaper. But it was nice to have everything organized. I will mention of course you can rent a car and that would have worked too. Mark doesn’t like to drive on vacation so we didn’t do that. One advantage of having drivers and guides all the time is you get to talk to more of the locals. We learned a lot about regular stuff in Costa Rica that way.
The Doka tour was nice, we’ve done it before but the kids were really little. This time because it was dry harvest season the plant was actually working which was a lot more interesting. They also have a butterfly house and of course a gift shop where I bought a baseball hat because as usual I had forgotten to pack one. I used to always have to buy sunglasses, now it’s baseball hats…
For dinner we went to the Hard Rock Cafe Charlotte and I had passed earlier in the day. Not amazing but we weren’t expecting it to be either.