Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Day 6, June 4
After several early mornings and a long day on the bus yesterday, it was nice to have a free day to sleep in. Breakfast was amazing with made-to-order omlets and an array of breakfast breads. A walk around the hotel was impressive. We are right on the Pacific Ocean. This Marriott reminds me of the one in Palm Desert, CA, including the extensive pool area and villas and time shares. It even has an 18 hole golf course.  But we are way out in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest town, a beach resort, about 20 minutes away.  The vegetation is very different than what we have experienced before - drier and more brush-like, even though it still rains every afternoon.
My room is extremely spacious and well appointed with a view of the grounds and pools. This hotel is known for having the largest infinity pool in Central America and it goes to where the beach begins. However, the beach is somewhat rocky and the hotel advises not to swim in it. It is also small, closed in by the rocks, and it is not possible to walk to any other hotels along the beach (and I think they are far away anyway).
Some of my friends decided to go zip lining this morning, but I passed.  I read about several walks around the complex and decided to explore. Once again I was joined by 6 other people looking for an activity. I ended up with the map and off we went. We passed the villas, time shares and golf course, went to the horse stables and walked through quite a bit of wide open terrain that must be for future development.  There's a lot of it! Along the way we were treated to the occasional wildlife including several interesting birds and beautiful butterflies. I've included some here -- a couple of iguanas and a colorful crab. Also some beautiful plants including the Flamboyant tree with its orange flowers. At the end of our journey, we were surprised to discover we had walked over 6-1/2 miles. I was very hot and wet, as were my friends, and we snapped this photo to show how hot and happy we were . That's Don and Diane from Sacramento on the left and Donna and Steve from Murfreesboro, TN.
Everyone on this trip has been so nice and so mellow, which is impressive with a group of about 40. Our guide has had to make several adjustments due to circumstances beyond his control, and no one has whined or complained. They are all very considerate of each other. We have a very mixed group of ages, which is fun. A set of 13-yr old boy and girl twins with their grandparents and a 12 yr old girl with her mom. There are 5 women in their early 20's, some of whom just met on the trip. Several couples are in their 30s or 40s and left the kids at home. And then there are the young retirees or the almost retired. Three couples are traveling together and prefer their time together, but they are friendly to all. 
We had a chance to bond some more with an open poolside bar in the afternoon sponsored by Caravan. We all hung around the pool for several hours. About 18 of us ended up playing several games of volleyball in the pool. I surprised myself to be doing this and it was a lot of fun. No one took it seriously and we were very loose on the score.
We ate our evening meal outside on the patio and it was beautiful. It will be hard to leave this place tomorrow.

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