The Trip To Manuel Antonio

Sansa Flight To Quepos

The flight from San Jose to Quepos (Manuel Antonio) was really short; just about 30 minutes. I think it was the first time I took such a small plane. The take off was a little sketchy and we felt like the pilot (a woman) was gonna crash the plane before even taking off.

flight to manuel antonio

Landing in Quepos was so trippy. We landed in the middle of palm trees. The aeropuerto of Quepos was so small that you could never tell it was an aeropuerto. At best, it looks like your Dad’s garage. Not bigger.

Looking for a place to stay

We then took a $5 each ride to Manuel Antonio. We didn’t really know where to go so we asked the driver if he knew of a cheap place. He dropped a few names and Tina recognized the name Piscis, a place where she stayed before. So we asked the driver to take us there. There was a room available for $40/night. We took it and went surfing right away.

First day in Manuel Antonio

Our first surf session was fun. There were a few local boogieboarders and a couple surfers. The level wasn’t high at all so I felt confident. The water is really really warm: about 84 degrees.

We surfed for a while and went to have lunch at an overpriced place on the beach. I didn’t like it much but that filled us up.

A little later we went back for another surf session but the tide was too low and it wasn’t as fun as it was earlier that day.

We could see a bunch of guys with surfboards walking a few hundred yards north of where we were surfing. It looked like there was a good spot over there but we didn’t check it out until the next day.

That night, we went in town to have dinner at what I guess is a nice place here. The service was great, and the food was pretty good too. We ate for $17 which to me was more than reasonable given the quality of the food and of the service. Turns out they forgot to count some of the stuff we ordered. I asked Tina if we should say something. She said no so I didn’t say anything and paid, then we left.

We bought a couple large cans of Imperial, a bottle of water and we hang out on the patio of our place. I was a little tipsy 😉

Our second day in town

We had a good night sleep and although Tina got up a little before me, I got up around 9am. We went to town to get some water and inquire about the boat rides to Montezuma. We also had a nice breakfast and then we went home to grab the boards and go surf.

I asked the hotel guy what was the good spot and he confirmed that the spot where we saw a bunch of surfers walk to the day before was actually the place to be. It’s called Bajos. We went there but we didn’t have much fun. I actually didn’t have fun at all. the nose of my board kept digging in the water, making me fall like some beginner. The wave was really fast and closing out a bit. It was about 4 to 5 feet with overhead sets. Everytime I tried to catch a wave, something went wrong: either my nose digging in, my hands slipping on the board, the leach wrapping around my toes, etc…

I got out of the water really pissed. It was one of these sessions where I should have stayed on the shore looking at others surfing. Nobody didn’t really get good waves, except this one guy. I’m amazed that we haven’t seen good surfers yet. I thought that this place would be packed with top notch surfers, but nope. I totally fit in this place.

After this failed session, we went and have lunch, then we went back to the cabin and took a nap. We woke up around 5.30pm and went for a late session. The tide was low and it was crap but it felt really good to be in the water for the sunset.

That night, we had planned to go have dinner at El Avion, a restaurant built around an old plane that looks like a B-52 (I’m probably wrong on the model of the plane) but the girl of the hotel told us that her sister was making spaghetti if we wanted to. We decided to have dinner at the hotel instead of going to El Avion.

The food was very basic but it was good. I assume it was cheap too (we’ll only see the bill tomorrow). Tina didn’t feel great which is probably due to dehydration and the bad wine she had for dinner (which I am finishing as I am writing this). She went lay down and I am having one more drink while telling our stories.

Cabinas Piscis

The hotel Piscis is ok. We have our own bathroom which might sound a given one, but no, it’s not in latin american countries for that price. The few people that work this place are really nice. I think it’s a family owned business. The cabins are a few steps away from the beach, which is our main concern.

We have a couple noisy guys next to our cabin tonight. I’m not sure but I think they are Argentinians. They are listening to bad music and singing along: terrible!

Tomorrow, we’re gonna be traveling (traveling puffins!) a bit to Mal Pais. Definitely not looking forward the boat ride as I am sea sick but it will be nice to see other places.

Misc. thoughts about Manuel Antonio

Before coming here, Tina had told me of Manuel Antonio as the La Jolla of Costa Rica. She was right. There are a bunch of wealthy people here; well, wealthy for Costa Rica… I still haven’t seen any of them show up to the beach in a Porsche…. A lot of women have fake boobs and look somewhat superficial.

The gay population is huge here. My friend guy would feel like a fish in water in this place. All these guys are walking around in there Speedos or tights little shorts. It’s funny.

This place is too touristic. It doesn’t feel authentic and I’m definitely looking forward to going to Mal Pais where the Costa Rican feel is supposed to be more preserved.

First Night In San Jose

We landed in San Jose around 9pm last night and waited for our friends Ann and Kirk who were on a different flight. As usual, we were a little worried about the surfboard but they got here in one piece.

After going through the formalities of immigration and customs, we went out of the airport and started being harassed by fake taxi drivers. We randomly chose one who soon called up his friends and took care of our bags. We jumped in the van, me on the passenger seat, and the driver put my Spanish to the test right away…

After a 20 minute ride, we arrived at our hotel, los volcanes, and checked in. After being set up in the room, we booked a flight online with Sansa Airlines, the domestic Costa Rican airline, to go to Quepos (Manuel Antonio) the next day. Flights are pretty cheap: $75 each way. The flight is about 30 minutes, compared to a 4 hour bus ride should you decide to go the cheap way… We went straight to bed after booking the tickets as as it was already 11pm.

These are some pictures of los volcanes hotel. It was a convenient, clean, nice little place in San Jose. I recommend it!

We didn’t sleep really well. I guess we were just too excited. We were cold, and then there was this stupid bird singing at 5am.

Around 6am, I heard my friend Corry talking to the hotel clerk. Corry just got here and he was supposed to meet Ann and Kirk as they have a bungalow together in Santa Teresa. I got up and went see Corry.

It was definitely time to get ready for the day. We cleaned up a bit, had un desayuno (breakfast) and took a cab back to the airport, to fly to Quepos, which is the closest airport to Manuel Antonio.

Los volcanes had a very cute little open air nook to comidan desayuno. Here is Sebastien hablando con Cory.

The Sansa terminal is pretty much as big as your garage… We checked in and we had to take our boards out of the bag, which was kinda odd. Then we folded the boardbag so it gets smaller. On this tiny airplanes, every inch counts…

They gave us our boarding passes and they are the strangest boarding passes I’ve seen so far. I think they are “reusable” passes. It’s just a laminated piece of paper that I believe you have to give when you board the plane. Not sure yet…

We went then through what you may call security. The security check was very quick and I’m pretty sure we could have had a pound of cocaine with us that they wouldn’t have noticed.

We’re now waiting for our plane. We have an hour to kill. Tina is a little anxious because of the boards and because of the size of the plane we’re gonna take. “I hope we don’t die” are the words she just said to me. It will be fine. What can happen, right? Worst case scenario, we do an emergency landing in the jungle and we will have great stories to tell our kids.

Anne, Kirk, and Corey also took a Sansa flight but they went directly to Santa Teresa. Anne was bummed because their American flight had messed up the tail and nose of her board. But Kirk brought a ding repair shop with them so it will be ok.

We don’t have a place to stay at in Manuel Antonio but we’re very confident that we’ll find something, even though this week is the semana santa (the holy week), which is the week preceding Easter. Our travel guide says that hotels are usually booked month ahead for this week but whatever, we’ll find something.

30 more minutes before boarding. I can’t wait to find a place and go surf. The surf report says that water is 84 degrees in Manuel Antonio and waves are supposed to be 3 to 4 feet high…

Waiting At The Airport – Thank God For Technology

waiting in houston

We accomplished the first leg of our trip to Costa Rica and we are now in Houston, TX, waiting for our flight to San Jose. We have 3 hours to kill and I am already online. Yes, I’m addicted.

I brought my little Lenovo netbook and of course, my iPhone… I use an illegal application (well, not approved is the right word) called PDAnet that allows me to tether my iPhone. This means I connect my iPhone to the 3G network and set up a local connection on my laptop that allows me to connect to this 3G network.

This app is absolutely amazing. I wrote about it on my iPhone blog and you may want to check it out if you have an iPhone and travel a bit.

The Night Before

It is the night before our trip and we are all packed and ready to go.  We bought a DAKINE surfboard that we packed with towels, a yoga matt, and our bathing suites and board shorts.  Then we have a 2 1/2 by 1 foot suite case that carries the rest.  That is it.  I’ll post pictures soon.  We are still not sure where we will be going the first week but that will be part of the adventure.  Pavones sounds good but it takes another plane and a taxi to get there.  Manuel Antonio is also an option as going straight to Mal Pais area.

Seb is pretty drunk right now.  He drank a lot of wine during dinner and then came out with me to visit with some south siders and he continued to drink.  We went to Winston’s in OB for some OB KERIOKE and he put his name in to sing some Sublime song but we ended up coming home before he sang.  Now he is worried about having a headache tomorrow. With that being said, its time for bed. I just hope that Skip pulls through and picks us up on time tomorrow. Adios!

April Fools

Sebastien almost lost his life yesterday.  Sebastien’s friend, Arnaud, is visiting from France and they went to Vegas Monday.  Sebastien leaves me a few text messages about getting a tattoo.  Finally at 4 am I start to wonder if he is serious and call him.  Of course they are still up and Sebastien tells me that he got my name tattooed on his arm.  He tells me that it took an hour and at first he didn’t find one that he liked but the artist created a really cool one and that was really “bad ass”.  He went on to say that it Read More

One more week!

I have four more days of waking up and having to go to work and 7 more days till we board the plane to Costa Rica!  I can hardly wait!  Warm water, no work, 24 hours a day with Sebastien!  That is what I am looking forward to the most!  We still don’t have a board bag and my guess is that we are just going to have to buy one from one of the surf stores.  We also still don’t know where we are going to go for the first week but I am looking forward to deciding when we get there.

Two Weeks!!!

Hello everyone!!!  Tina here and I am counting the days till we board the plane to San Jose, Costa Rica!!!  This will be Sebastien and my first vacation together!!!  So far we have a place reserved for the first night and then for 5 days in Mal Pais at Beija Flor Resort and four days in Playa Hermosa.  We will be attending the McVay wedding at Playa Hermosa on April 18th.   Here is where we will be staying for the wedding..  Yes… as Sebastien has noted earlier, I have been planning.


I will tell you that we got screwed with our flights.  It will be spring break the first week which caused the flights to go up… HOWEVER— many months ago I did see flights for more than half of what we ended up paying.  I won’t tell you why we didn’t get them then but I will say we should have…

Regardless of how much we paid for our flights I think that it will be one of the most memorable trips I have ever had…  Mostly because I am going with another puffin..  To say the least I am excited…  I have been to Costa Rica a couple of times but have yet to visit the Mal Pais area…  I would also like to see Arenal but that will depend on the surf…  Warm water here I come!!!  What I am really looking forward to is spending time with Sebastien and watching him organize the rest of our trip as we go…

(Not) Preparing Our Trip To Costa Rica

costa rica flag

Tina and I are going to Costa Rica from 4/6/09 to 4/19/09, for our friend Michael McVay’s wedding, but most importantly for surfing. I’m really excited because it’s going to be my first time in Costa Rica. Tina knows the country pretty well as she went there twice already.

We are about 2 weeks away from departing and we still haven’t found a travel bag for our surfboards. I’ve been looking on Craigslist and eBay but I haven’t found anything. Since I’m one of these guys always looking for a good deal, I’ll be looking online till the last minute and worst case scenario, I’ll buy a surfboard bad at a local surfshop here in San Diego.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I’m completely unprepared for this trip. Tina, as usual, has her shit together and is on top of it! She gets all the props for preparing this trip. I’m the type of person who don’t need to make plans. She’s the complete opposite, so I guess we balance out…

Some of my friends are asking me where we’re staying and I can’t even give them the name of a town where we will stay… I figure that I’ll learn the places once we get there. I have to shamelessly admit that when we went to El Salvador last year, I didn’t really know exactly where we were going but once we got there, I looked at the maps, talked to locals, and learned about the place on site.