Back from trip #2 to CR

Jan 21st, 2008, 04:37 PM
  #81  
 
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Hi Cam, thanks a lot for taking the time to continue for all of us your grand adventure--what a trooper your mom!

This has turned out to be such a cool thread--like a novel that no one wants to end!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:12 AM
  #82  
 
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CM You have to finish BdC! I need to read the end before I leave for CR on the 26th! Only 3 days away!
4explore is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:59 AM
  #83  
 
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4explore, I'm right behind you on the 27th, see you at BDC!
owlwoman is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:04 AM
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Hi Pam,
We are so excited, my teens may fail exams! What was I thinking? This trip I am having a terrible time packing, too distracted I guess. See you at happy hour,
Beth
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Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:42 AM
  #85  
 
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You lucky ducks! Patos. . . . .
Have a great time!
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Jan 23rd, 2008, 04:42 PM
  #86  
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Hi guys,

4explore and owlwoman, I am so excited for you! I hope you both have wonderful adventures at BdC and wherever else your respective itineraries will be taking you.

Tully, the scorpion did take us by surprise, and it was a bit unnerving rounding him up in the drinking glass, but I'm glad we got to see him. I told him to stay away from the cabins as I released him back into the wild, so I'm sure he won't try to visit you when you're down there!

Alright 4explore, let's wrap up the BdC section! Actually, the entire trip report is finally drawing to a close (at long last...).

Chapter 8:

December 10th, 2007.

We forced ourselves to get up extra-early because we wanted to take one last stroll to the Tropical Garden before breakfast. We were heading back to Alajuela later that afternoon and wanted to savor every last minute of our time at BdC.

We meandered leisurely along the main trail, crossed the suspension bridge, and entered the wide expanse of green lawn that marks the boundaries of the garden.

A troop of howler monkeys started up their morning racket nearby and we eagerly followed the sound hoping to catch a glimpse of them. We had heard howlers each day at BdC, but hadn't had a single sighting. We were in luck this morning, and spent several minutes watching the group navigate the tree branches high above our heads. They were hanging out in a couple of really tall trees, which didn't make for the best photo ops, but we were very happy to see them. It sort of made the trip feel complete!

Our grumbling stomachs eventually forced us to tear ourselves away. We had a final delicious breakfast, sitting out on the deck gazing across those lovely grounds, and then sadly had to begin the check-out process. Believe me when I say that we did NOT want to leave!! Carlos got us all settled up and told us that we would have until just after lunch before we needed to head out for Puerto Jimenez.

The tidal conditions were right, so my brother and I decided to tackle the Pacific Trail. Mom assured us she would be perfectly content to wander around the main grounds and just relax.

I would have to say that the Pacific Trail was not quite as horrendous as I had feared it might be after reading some of the posts here. ;-) It is indeed steep and I had to stop to catch my breath and rest my legs a few times, but it's actually not a very long trail. The worst part of it is that last little section where you have to navigate the practically vertical bare rock to get down to the beach. Definitely not mom-friendly; and I'm not sure how friendly it was for me either! I did manage to make it to the bottom in one piece and boy, what a great payoff awaited! We enjoyed the Golfo Dulce beaches and thought they were pretty, but that rugged, rocky Pacific side with it's cool tide pools and pounding surf is quite spectacular.

We could have easily spent several hours down there, but had to content ourselves with one due to the timing of our departing flight that afternoon.

We spent the time engrossed in the various tide pools, and just admiring in the view and the sound of the waves crashing against the rocky outcrops.

The time flew by, and all too soon we had to make our ascent back to the lodge. We had one last spider monkey sighting along the way which was a really nice cap to the excursion. We found our mother dozing in one of the rocking chairs by our cabin. Her eyes flew open as we approached and she claimed she had just barely closed them seconds before our arrival. Right... Who can blame her for being lulled into a peaceful nap in such a pleasant, serene setting?
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:11 PM
  #87  
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Chapter 8, cont'd:

We enjoyed a nice lunch (if memory serves, I had the tuna melt once again; highly recommended!), and then it was time to leave. Frank arrived to drive us into town and within minutes we were wheeling down the BdC driveway. Frank turned out to be yet another personable BdC employee. Overall, we thought the whole staff was just excellent! There was one waitress who seemed a bit bummed out or disgruntled, but everyone else was nothing other than friendly, helpful and very pleasant. Many of them took the trouble to learn our names and would chat amiably with us in between their various tasks.

Our drive back to town was uneventful. We entered the Sansa "terminal" and got checked in for our flight. We took seats in the covered lobby area and gazed out at the cemetery across the street.

While we waited, a torrential downpour materialized out of nowhere. The intensity of the rain was impressive; a true tropical deluge! It continued unabated right up until it was time to board our flight. The sansa attendant threw a large tarp over the gurney that held our luggage and wheeled it out into the rain. A few minutes later, we were each handed a large umbrella and led to the airplane. I was a bit surprised they were going to fly in such conditions, but had to trust that they knew what they were doing. Needless to say, we arrived back at SJO unscathed although we had to deal with some fairly significant turbulence as we left the Osa. We felt very fortunate to have enjoyed such lovely weather for the balance of our time in the area.

I would definitely have to say that I have officially joined the list of BdC devotees here on the Fodors forum. The place is truly special; a welcome, tranquil oasis where monkeys scamper across the lawn in front of your cabin, and scarlett macaws fly past as you take your morning shower.

Which reminds me that I forgot to mention the macaws! We saw a bunch of them that basically lived at the animal sanctuary, but had not seen any at BdC. The Newfoundland family (who were staying in the next cabin over) said they had seen a pair fly past the cabins every day until the day we arrived. We kept a lookout, but there was no sign of them until our last morning. I was in the shower when they arrived. I heard some noisy squaking coming from the direction of our private porch area, and then heard my mother call to my brother to bring the video camera. I hurriedly finished my shower and headed out to the porch to see what was going on. There were 2 macaws in the trees right next to the porch, down low enough in the branches that we got a really good look at them. They were gorgeous! I had really hoped to see both macaws and toucans at BdC, and both had magically appeared.

Back in Alajuela, we were met by Luis Barrantes from Zamar Tours (the tour desk at Orquideas Inn). What an absolute sweetheart! He was right up there with the most personable people we met at BdC. He drove us back to Orquideas and asked us all about our travels through his country. He told us a bit about his family and his work as a tour guide as we drove along. He and his wife recently had their first child and you could tell he was quite the proud papa!

We were flying home the next afternoon and had no plans for our last morning in CR. Luis suggested a trip to the Doka Coffee Plantation, which sounded good to us so we arranged a time to meet him in the morning.

We settled into our room and wandered over to the Marilyn Monroe bar for dinner. I think we stayed up until almost 10:30 that night packing and watching tv; a late night record for us on the trip!
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:51 PM
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Luis sounds like a great guy. Did you tell him he is sort of a Fodor celeb?

The macaws are something to see, aren't they? In flight. . .there's nothing like it, that spectacular color!

Cam, you're describing BdC right on. I could even picture Frank driving you down the driveway. He's the one who always seems to pick us up and take us back. Pato, his nickname. Not sure why!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:05 PM
  #89  
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Hi Jill!

Frank did seem very nice, but quite a bit more reserved than Kevin.

It's hard not to get a bit carried away describing BdC, and yet I'm probably not really doing it any justice at all!

Have you ever met Luis? I know you don't stay at Orquideas these days, so maybe not. I bet you'd want to take him home with you! He was that personable.
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Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:29 PM
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Awww, Luis & wife had the baby?! I know when I saw him in May he mentioned she was pregnant but I'd forgotten how far along she was. Yes, he is a sweetheart and am planning to request him again on next trip.

It's funny about the macaws...maybe the time of year I go (May), and I hate to sound blase, but after a while I stopped looking at them, there were literally that many. What a pain, eh, to have too many macaws. Feast or famine I guess.

The scorpion...I hope you told him to stay away in Spanish, he's probably not bi-lingual ya know

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful trip and especially at BdC.
tully is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:23 PM
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Oh, the macaws - aren't they amazing? They flew by our cabin every afternoon almost on schedule. I made it my objective to get their picture in flight. We'd hear "raaawwwwk" and then run out of the cabin, and my husband would say, "Aim high" or "Down low" and that's where I'd point the camera. I finally got a great shot of them. I'm glad you got to see them. And mmmm, tuna melt - that brings back memories.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:35 PM
  #92  
 
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LOL! So true tully. And THAT'S why I need to brush up on my high school Spanish. I was calling all the kitties saying "heeeeere gato-gato"!

It's going to be real interesting to see the difference of wildlife at BDC compared to last visit. It seems like it varies sooo much. We saw Howlers fairly low in the trees around the cabinas on a couple of days, and a troop on the almond trees just shelling away. The Capuchins and Spiders we saw 4 out of the 5 days, and then the Titis 2 days. Macaws and Toucans every day! I hope their not all going to be hiding this trip! I'm spoiled now.

cm -- So glad you had such an amazing time. BTW, pics? Just teasin.

Oh yeah, Frank is nice, but quite. And, he's not as anxious to practice his English as Kevin. However, when you get to talking birds or animals with him that you see on the road, he gets real excited about it. I spotted a White Hawk and he was thrilled, said it was one of his favorites and hadn't seen one in a while.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 10:12 PM
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Oops! Scratch that, it was the Spiders munching on the almonds and the Capuchins cracking open the coconuts (and tossing them down right by the pool)! That was funny.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 07:00 AM
  #94  
 
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Thank you, thank you, thank you....two more days of work, a day to pack and off we go......

Great trip report, makes me even more excited our upcoming adventures!
owlwoman is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 06:00 PM
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LOL cam, I've met several Ticos I've wanted to bring home with me, but my husband always put his foot down!

I actually think I did meet Luis the very first time we stayed at Orquideas back in 2004. We had a conversation with him at the bar one night. He hadn't been feeling well and one of the guests had given him some pills (imagine that) and he'd taken them. They had rather knocked him for a loop and he was a bit out of it. Saw him the next day and he apologized! At least I thought it was Luis. How old is he?

The macaws still awe me. (Tully, you've been there too many times!) LOL

They always remind me of an old couple always bickering. They make SUCH an ugly noise!
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Jan 24th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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By the way, your mention of Frank reminds me of a funny story (although I've probably told it before). He picked me up last July when I arrived about 9:30 in the a.m. In honor of Tully (AND FOR NO OTHER REASON, LOL!), I bought an Imperial at Esquina for the drive to Bosque--and a little bag of chips. Now understand, I SELDOM have a beer or anything else, let alone that time of day.

I asked Frank if he wanted a beer (he's probably thinking: You Lush!) and he told me that he quit several years ago because he'd had a problem with it. So we just shared the chips on the way. He is quiet, but we did visit most of the way as I was wanting to practice my Spanish and he seemed inclined to visit a bit.

My purchase of a beer upon arrival in Puerto Jimenez (it is now a tradition) is in honor of Tully and the first time I "met" her on Fodor's. She'll remember the story--about arriving at SJO, then stepping outside to the little bar (that was there at the time) for a smoke and a beer and to get into her Pura Vida spirit before leaving the airport. That was always her way of saying hello to Costa Rica when she arrived!

Well, now I'm speaking of her as if she isn't with us anymore! Hey, Tully!

shillmac is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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Hola! Now c'mon a beer at 9:30! Even I waited til 11am Ok now to throw in my story...frank picked me up at the boat dock last trip and someone else got in back, I turned & realized it was Roy Toft (which was funny as we had arrived same time the previous year as well). Then we start driving thru PJ and stop at a little park and Frank starts yelling at someone, no idea but I got the impression he was saying "hurry up!". So then Heilyn gets in the car and we see each other and start screaming, on the way she tells me that she had recently seen shillmac. A little circle

Yeah well the macaws, well you know I'm not much on birds to begin with. And I always seem to have the 'macaw hang out tree' by my cabina, so never failed, drifting off in the hammock...squawk squawk squawk! On the other hand, the congos would have me up & 5am and I would be wandering about in my pj's marveling at them, so I guess I'm a little biased

cam. pics. soon?
tully is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 08:46 AM
  #98  
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Great stories everyone! As usual, I'm late to join the discussion, but it looks like things might finally be getting a little more under control at work so I'll try not to be such a stranger around here...

We loved Heilyn, tully! She was one of the BdC folks who attempted to remember our names, and would always chat a little bit with us while she worked. Such an adorable, petite little thing! I'm probably spelling her name wrong, but we also really liked Jenny at the restaurant.

I remember one afternoon, we had just returned from a hike and had plopped ourselves down on those couches in the reception area. Jenny came over and plopped down as well and chatted with us for several minutes; just as nice and sweet and friendly as can be.

Obviously, choosing the right staff goes a long way towards the guaranteed success of a place like BdC.

There is one thing we wondered about that maybe tully or shillmac can shed some light on. Jenny had told us that the staff (at least the restaurant staff...) typically works 6 days on and has one day off. They also work some really long days because the same people who would serve us breakfast would also sometimes be setting up for the dinner buffet.

We had also noticed this the year before at both Arenal Lodge and Hotel California; that the same folks running the breakfast buffet were also working as wait staff at lunch and dinner; making for some very long work shifts. We were wondering if this type of work schedule is typical year-round of if the hours taper off at all during the height of the slow/rainy season. If not, it seems like the employees would get burned out after a while. Most of the BdC employees seemed happy and cheerful, but I think it would be rough to have so little free time.

Any insight into the work schedules at BdC, tully or shillmac? I'm assuming that Phil and Kim must be good employers to work for. Maybe it's just a given that you'll be working a lot if you choose to work within the hotel industry. Maybe the money made during the long work weeks is the deciding factor for the employees... Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive to long working hours at the moment because I've been averaging 60 hours/week at work myself for the past 3 months, and I'm pretty much over it!!

At any rate, the staff at BdC is top-notch. We truly enjoyed associating with them.

I have one more short trip report chapter to complete for our final morning in CR. My photos are coming along. I'm almost finished getting them captioned and organized. I'll try to get them to the point where I can share the link with everyone this week.

I really appreciate you guys for hanging in there on this trip report with me! I've definitely enjoyed sharing the information.
cmerrell is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 10:15 AM
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cm -- I agree, Jenny's a real sweetie. Glad to see she's still there. If I remember her name right, there was also a girl named Jolanda, who was really nice too. Those long hours do seem to be common. I imagine the pay and hours are competitive with the market and if offered, they'll take it in order to afford a better quality of living. I'm with you though, long hours are no fun and I'm more of a wimp as I get older and crankier (I'm 40-ish, like you). Some of the employees live on site full or part time too.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jan 27th, 2008, 10:58 AM
  #100  
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I'm sure you're correct about the market and competitive wages, hip.

As I recall, you've mentioned you work within the realm of finance. Does that mean crazy work schedules for you at this time of year?

At least you've got a nice CR reward looming ever-closer to look forward to. Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

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