Day One of our Family Immersion Trip to Costa Rica!
Click on the video above to watch the first leg of our trip to Costa Rica in June/July of 2021! Or read below for the nitty gritty details and fun!
Thursday, June 24, 2021 (Part 1)
Traveling to a new destination is always a thrill for me. When you take that first step out of the airport will you be hit by a wave of wet heat that curls the fine hairs around your neck, or will the dry heat crack your parched lips? When you breathe in that first breath of air from a new place will the smell remind you of places you have visited? Will it be so unique that you won’t be able to place it? Will the noises be those of people shouting for your attention for a taxi or of cars honking their horns out of impatience? You don’t know until you get there, and you may not appreciate those as thrills because the anxiety of not fully knowing what comes next may get in the way.
When traveling to a place you have been before there can be a feeling of relief. It is the relief of knowing what comes next and how to make that next part happen smoothly. You step out of the airport, and you know to expect that rush of hair curling heat and you welcome it because you have already shed your sweatshirt and are ready for it. You walk past the line of shouting people with confidence and a sigh of familiarity because you know where you are going, and it feels good to know you don’t look lost. You take in the first smell outside of the airport doors and you smell memories you have made. It feels easier and more relaxed, and you can enjoy those little things when you travel to a familiar place. That is of course unless you are traveling with your children. It doesn’t have to be to a new place, an old place, their favorite place. Traveling with children always equals some kind of anxiety.
Before we get into the details of where we are and what we are doing, let’s take a break and talk a little about airplane etiquette. This was my third trip traveling by air this year and I feel like masks went on and common sense went away. This wasn’t my experience my first two travels of the year, but for some reason on this trip, people felt they were entitled to do whatever they wanted. Maybe it is part of being less afraid, feeling like they have been told what to do and how to do it for too long, or part of the phrase “revenge travel” I have been hearing. Whatever the reason – just STOP! Go back to acting kind and considerate. Mandatory masks do not make you invisible. I can still see you and see what you are doing. And let me point out that I wasn’t the only one with these thoughts. I know this because a flight attendant gave me multiple eye rolls as I patiently waited while my row forgot that you find your seat and sit in it when you get on the plane. You don’t hold up the entire plane while you play out all scenarios of which seat to sit in or fight with your partner about if you remembered to ask Jim to get your mail. Not the time or place people. Sit. And really. Do you have to be told that if you don’t know the person you are sitting next to you should keep the armrest down? Why would you put it back up after I just put it down? (and no I was not putting my arm on it, I just didn’t want her on top of me which was the end result) I realize that many airlines are not doing things the same way they were when Covid first happened, but when has it ever been ok to jump out of your seat and barrel down the aisle not letting the rows in front of you get out? Come on! One woman who had not lost her common sense but who had lost her patience actually got out of her seat, yelled at the people, made a human barrier and began to teach them all how to leave the plane. Sigh. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you she was doing exactly what I wanted to do five minutes before she actually did it but thought better of it…. So thank you lady in row 22 for not losing your common sense through your mask!
As you may have already guessed, we are on a new adventure. Ryan and I have been to this country earlier this year for his business which would normally mean that we would not return so soon to the same location. However, I have had on my bucket list of travels (I’m sure you are not surprised that I have an actual list of places and events that I want to experience) to have the kids go to a language learning school since Jackson was a wee one. Our original trip for the summer was canceled because of the havoc Covid put on the airlines so I decided it was time to cross this one off our list. The school I found happened to be in the same country Ry and I had just been in, Costa Rica, but that helped with having familiarity with things, planning, and the fact that we had both loved it there.
Once we landed in Liberia, Costa Rica, it was a smooth process of going through immigration and customs. Everything we needed to enter the country can be done online ahead of time which makes things very efficient. We walked out the airport doors to a line of people waving signs with names. Once we identified our names, we greeted our driver and made the familiar trek to the small parking lot. Our driver took us into Liberia to a small supermarket where we picked out some drinks and had lunch in their small cafeteria. It was inexpensive and perfect!
Our drive to our hotel was about an hour long. It was a bit of a bumpy one with a lot of twists and turns, but that didn’t stop the kids from falling fast asleep within minutes of getting comfortable. Don’t get the wrong idea. Roads in Guanacaste (a province in Costa Rica) are paved and smooth. They are better than some Michigan roads I have been on. The terrain is such that it requires a lot of twists and turns which can cause some turbulence while being a backseat passenger.
I would highly recommend staying at Hacienda Guachipelin. We had to reserve two rooms (villas) because of our large family, but that is nothing new for us. Our rooms were next to each other and shared the porch with hammocks strung between posts. Each room had two king beds, a desk, a table with chairs, and a bathroom with a shower. They also each had their own air conditioning unit which is super important when you are in Costa Rica! The floors are tile and the curtains do a great job of blocking out the early morning light. Only one of our rooms was ready when we arrived so we put everything in one room, changed into our suits, and went to the pool.
By this time, we had washed our hands no less than a dozen times and that did not include washing them after using the bathroom. Each building structure whether it is enclosed, or open-air requires that you wash your hands with soap and water and then get a squirt of hand sanitizer dosed out by a machine that also takes your temperature and announces you are normal in Spanish. While at the pool it began to sprinkle, but that didn’t stop Sylvia and Tyce from taking a dip while we all enjoyed a special pineapple welcome drink.