Our meandering through Costa Rica continues as we head from the beaches of the Pacific to the cloud forests and rain forests of the central mountains. The diversity of tiny Costa Rica is pretty amazing.From the beach town of Tamarindo we flew to San Jose, the capital, to get a car for the rest of our journey. Of course, we hate cars, but we want to go to some relatively out-of-the-way places so we figured we’d give it another shot. So far, the jury is out on whether the convenience is worth the hassle. The freedom is good, but cars are just a pain. In this case, the pain included a flat tire discovered while we were at a lodge in the mountains. But we can’t complain too much. The staff at our lodge discovered the problem and then suggested they just take the tire into town and get it fixed for us. Bill from the garage? Something under $4.00. So OK, not that much pain. So far.
Our first stop was a cloud forest lodge near Bajos del Toro, a tiny town high in the mountains of central Costa Rica. When we left San Jose it was sunny and in the low 80s; 90 minutes later it was rainy and in the upper 50s. “Well,” I thought, “it’ll probably clear up at some point.”
Wrong. Apparently all that beautiful green scenery we saw as we were driving into the mountains requires vast amounts of rain to stay, well, green. Vast amounts. To be sure, the weather varied during our stay. Sometimes it rained a lot and sometimes it merely misted heavily. On rare occasions there was no precipitation at all, but that would last for only a few minutes. Then something would start again.
Still, we had a great time. El Silencio Lodge, where we were staying, is really beautiful and – as the flat tire experience suggests – provides pretty great service. (You want good service? While we were at dinner, they provided turn-down service in the room. And since the nights are pretty cool up there, the turn-down service includes putting hot-water bottles under your sheets. Now that’s service.) The food was outstanding; the local rivers are apparently full of trout that looked and tasted more like salmon, while most of the produce came from their own organic garden. In other words, all very local and very fresh. We went horseback riding one morning and hiked to three pretty impressive waterfalls another morning. The afternoons were about sleeping, reading, and enjoying the private hot tub that came with the room.
All in all, beautiful and relaxing. And wet and muddy, but beautiful and relaxing.