I again left my camera in the car, so pictures tomorrow!
Things we've been enjoying so far:
1. Licuados -- fruit smoothies, usually some various options for the tropical fruit, mango and banana are usually best, also with milk
2. Popsicles -- they were all over Mexico, but I finally found another one tonight.
3. Chocolate Milk -- this is really only A, but he gets it everywhere we go.
4. The roads in Costa Rica -- they are so nice, mostly without topes!
5. Internet Everywhere -- Costa Rica again has internet in every hotel and almost every restaurant
6. Using Credit Cards - we thought we'd lost that ability when leaving Mexico, but here everyone takes credit cards and US dollars
7. Taking USD out of ATMs -- I had been freaking out about using our US dollars when exchanging money at the border, etc. Turns out we can take it out of ATMs again, this makes me feel much better
8. Wildlife - we are starting to appreciate birds and butterflies more since our Honduran adventure, but we still like lizards and pigs best
Our first night in Costa Rica we stayed pretty close to the border, in a city called Liberia. Turns out Liberia has an airport, so it is a one night stop-over for people flying in to do adventure tours and such. The city had not one, but two Best Westerns. You could tell it was much richer than Nicargua coming in, but the quality of the roads and seeing McDonalds and Burger Kings. This was the first place we have felt sort of safe driving at night (back from the super market).
Yesterday we tried to stay in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, hoping we'd enjoy some museums and some more city stuff that we hadn't done since Mexico. We stopped at a Burger King of all things to get some wifi to look up hotels. We starred four hotels that were close to the city center and went to look at them (even a best western), when we drove around the first neighborhood it was completely deserted. It seems like there are a lot of really fancy houses, but they are all behind barbed wire and gates, which did not give us a great feeling for walking alone at night. We then drove to the neighborhood (city center) where the Best Western was. Everything again seemed to be shutting down (around 5pm), but there were people everywhere, including a bunch of drug addicts and prostitutes. I had read on one of the hotels websites "no sex tourism," but I didn't really think too much about it until I realized why they had to state that. We decided to drive North and stay near the National Park and hike the next day. The national park had some of the nicest manicured trails I've ever seen (albeit only about 5km of trails), beat only by a set in Texas that no one had used.
Tonight we are staying in Cartago after failing to find a locksmith in San Jose to change the lock on our trunk in preparation for shipping the car across the Darien Gap. We found a hotel near the beautiful Basilica near the downtown, we can see it from the window of our very strange hotel.
Costa Rica also has Walmarts, which we have not seen since Guatemala. The nice thing about Walmart is the ability to buy large things of water and that they sell granola bars. Most granola bars down here are more candy than substantial snack, it is nice to be able to buy them somewhere. We generally end up eating granola bars for breakfast or lunch on the go. The funny thing about Walmart here is its a nice store, they play classical music and everything is meticulously organized. I'm not really sure why this is, but it's interesting.