Off to the land of Pura Vida.

Today was an early wake up call. I was at the airport at 3:45am. I didn’t sleep the night before but mostly because I was just so excited to be starting my journey again. That said, I wasn’t the least bit tired. Due to de-icing and low fuel levels our plane took off 60 minutes late. Oh yea, our. The first leg of the trip I’m not traveling solo, but with my dad! I’m excited to show him the place that opened my eyes to solo travel.

It was a bit ironic that our flight was so delayed because we had just dealt with cancelled flights a week before. The airline we were using from San Jose to the small airport near our lodging was shut down. Luckily, were able to get on a flight with the only other airline that makes that route.

We finally took off from Minneapolis and if all goes well, will land with 30 minutes to get to our next plane. If we miss this next flight, we will then miss our small plane and ultimately not arrive in Puntarenas until tomorrow. Since my dad is only staying 6 days, cutting it to 5 is a big deal, not to mention we just wanted to get there!

We landed in Atlanta with 25 minutes to spare. However, they couldn’t taxi to the gate due to construction so we waited for a tow. Once at the gate, with 20 minutes to go, they couldn’t get the gate door to connect. It opened and we exited and they almost routed us through customs, 15 minutes to go. Finally, with 12 minutes to go, I’m running through the airport ahead of my dad when I hear an announcement that our flights doors will close in 10 minutes. I finally get to the gate and it says Havana, Cuba. I start to panic, but notice the gate next to it says San Jose. I headed over there and called my dad, fortunately, he wasn’t far behind, nice work!

The gate agent (rudely) hurries us through the gate door, but to our delight there is still a long line of people waiting to board (thank goodness for slow boarders). The longer we take the better chance my bag has of making it! We settle into our seat and turn on our overhead air to cool off the sweat from our sprint. After refreshing my Delta app several times, my bag was loaded. I did pack a swimsuit, one change of clothes and a toothbrush in my carry-on either way.

Finally able to relax, I watched the movie Wonder, in other words, I cried for the first two hours of the trip. Please see that movie if you haven’t, it really puts many life moments in perspective. We landed, breezed through customs and checked in for our final flight. It was our lucky day, since we had arrived early we were able to get on an earlier direct flight to Tambor. The ride was only 30 minutes, although it’s a scary one in such a small plane. Once landed, we found our cab driver and took an hour ride to Shaka Beach Retreat. Our driver was great, he would stop and point things out along the way and even pulled over to let us pick and taste cashew fruit. We stopped at a market, passed some bulls on the road, saw lots of beautiful scenery, drove across a river and at last arrived!

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There is something nice about arriving somewhere you’ve already been. You feel more comfortable and all the old memories come back! We settled in, met some of the new staff and some of the guests, then I took my dad on a tour of the beach and the nearby market. After which, we settled down at the communal area for a beer and got to know the other guests. The group (12 of us) walked down to a bar on the beach and watched the sunset. It was then time for dinner. After dinner, I was the first to go to bed, I guess I was tired after all.

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