Friday, March 20, 2015

Bienvenidos Costa Rica

Initial Impressions

Every year my firm holds a retreat for shareholders. I typically suggest wonderful cities with great architecture (go figure). But this year the shareholders from Chicago and the East were adamant that the locale had to be "warm".  Since we've all been to many of the "warm" venues within the US, we  opted on a visit to Costa Rica.

Getting There:
Currently San Jose Costa Rica is currently available as a non-stop flight from Phoenix.

It is doubtful it will remain that way much longer once the "New" American Airlines completes its slow and fairly obvious goal of de-hubbing Sky Harbor in favor of (YUK!) LAX. In fact I'm not holding my breath that many of our wonderful non-stops will survive. Roadboy predicts most future trips will soon first include the horrors of either a stop in DFW or LAX.

On our flight yesterday the on-board crew was nothing short of exceptional.

The flight attendant in first was one of the best in the air. With a career spanning 28 years and beginning with America West Airlines (AWA), she worked hard making the journey perfect. Phoenicians love our veteran AWA crews. They lack the "us against the passengers" attitude perfected by many of the crews who joined from the original US Air and (worse yet) there recent American merger(s). 

The People:
In the two days we've now been here we've confirmed everything we'd heard about the kindness and hospitality of the people of Costa Rica. They are wonderful. 

Getting Around:
Our rental car turned out to be a brand new fuel-sipping diesel Toyota "Fortuner" (Local translation of the Forerunner, me thinks...). We added a Samsung EZ Go tablet GPS to the deal and quickly realized it to be a great benefit. For an Additional $4 a day it provides us a GPS and a 4 device rolling Wi-Fi hotspot! It also offers a constant reminder of speed limits.  

The Roads:
Most roads are unnamed so you simply identify the place you want to go by name and the GPS magically gets you there. The roads are frequently narrow and lined with DEEP concrete lined storm channels on each side. One little drift and you'll be up to your axle in trouble, so drive with extreme care.

Many of the larger roads are toll roads so be sure to get some local money at the airport. Conversion is $1 = to about 538 colones.  For simplicity sake, just assume $10 = 5000 colones etc. That makes it a pretty easy conversion.

Our first evening was at the new Airport Courtyard where we waited for all shareholders from all corners of the US.

Heading to the Jaco:
Before leaving for the beach we went grocery shopping for medicinal fluids (Imperial Beer) and snacks. That complete we pointed the Fortuner to the beachfront Marriott Los Suenos Hotel.

The setting of the Los Suenos is truly spectacular and the weather has been full-on tropical. Warm, humid and sunny.

Quite by coincidence we came to realize that Jaco is celebrating its annual "Jungle Jam" (beach concert series) while we are here.

I am pleased to report that all of the college spring break and its accompanying pukefest are nowhere in evidence anywhere near our hotel (precisely why we ruled out Cancun and anywhere in Florida as a retreat venue).

The Northerly View From The Marriott Los Suenos

The Southerly View From The Marriott Los Suenos

A Resident Iguana By The Pool

Perfect Location for Weddings

Saturday will be day two of our retreat. Sunday we'll take off early in the morning for the drive south to the Manual Antonio National Park. The park is known for its double beach and abundant wildlife.

Now I'm off to dream.

Roadboy's Travels © 2015

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