My life flashed before my eyes. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.
Hubby and I really craved some beach time during our recent trip to Costa Rica after all of the rain in La Fortuna. So we headed toward the pacific coast to Puntarenas to catch the ferry over to the Nicoya Peninsula. We arrived to the ferry location early which was great because it gave us a chance to walk along the beach and see the sunset.
When we went to the dock. A guy told us the ferry we were looking for didn’t leave until 8:30 p.m., but we could catch the 7:30 p.m. ferry to another city and it would be a shorter ferry ride and drive to Santa Teresa, our final destination.
“Dont’t worry. The roads are excellent.” He assured us. He was from Santa Teresa and seemed very familiar with the area so we listened to him.
We bought two adult tickets, Skye was free, and one ticket for the car. The total was about $22.
We boarded the ferry. Matt drove the car on board. And we immediately went to the top deck.
I love how clear the sky is when you’re in the ocean away from the shore. There were so many stars. I was proud to show Skye what the sky looked like without all of the fog and pollution. This sky came close to beating the Ghana sky I saw a few years ago.
When we arrived, we noticed the town was really dark. We looked at each other like, “oh shit.”
“I hope we can find a hotel,” I said. Matt just sighed. While on the boat, we found the only hotel in town online. There were no photos of the rooms, but it was three stars so we felt it was doable for a night.
When we got to the hotel, it was similar to hotel Ringle. The gate was closed. Locked and chained with no one in sight. Uh oh. So we started the drive toward Santa Teresa but the road quickly went from paved to unpaved. Matt said it was too much to drive an unpaved road in the pitch black darkness, because the were no street lights, tonight. He suggested taking the ferry back over to Puntarenas where there was civilization and coming back in the morning. We drove 15 minutes back to the dock. But it was closed. The last ferry left at 9 p.m. and it was now 9:15 p.m.
So we sat there. Looking at each other and wondering what to do next.
“Lets just drive it,” I said.
We didn’t have much of a choice. So we pulled up the navigation so we could keep track of our progress across the unpaved road and make sure we stayed on the right unpaved road. We experience earlier in our Costa Rica adventures that unpaved roads can quickly split and when you think you’ve gone the right way, you’re way off the main road headed toward the edge of a cliff.
We drove. It was dark. Eventually Skye fell asleep, which was awesome. Now we could concentrate. Although concentrate on what I don’t know. The roads were bumpy. We couldn’t see anything except what was right in front of us. There were no signs of civilization. We did see some cows who looked like they were chillin on the side of the road with no gate or anything separating them from us.
We continued driving and eventually saw a sign that said Paquera 30 kilometers. We felt some relief, hoping it would be a big town with a decent hotel we could crash in for the night.
We kept driving. And it seemed like we were ascending into a mountain. According to the GPS we were still headed in the right direction.
“This is certainly an adventure,” I laughed out loud. While I silently prayed, ” We are divinely safe and protected.”
Eventually we reached Pequera. There were people. Kids riding bikes. Houses with lights on. But no sign of hotels. We felt a little relief to see other life forms. lol. But knew the lack of hotels meant we had to keep driving for who knows how long.
We kept driving.
Eventually, we saw a sign pointing to lots of different cities and contemplated which way to go. Then suddenly, a tour bus followed by several SUVs drove right past us. “Follow that tour bus!” I proclaimed. Matt laughed thinking I was joking. I totally was not joking! It was full of people. It has to be going to some fancy resort or hotel. And if not, the SUVs would lead us somewhere we could stay for the night. Matt simultaneously saw a hotel on the map and decided to go there. I shook my head.
When we arrived to where the map said the hotel was, there was nothing but an empty lot. You can’t always trust GPS. So we turned around and attempted to find the tour bus but they were too far ahead. We couldn’t see them and had to guess which way to go next.
We turned right. Our nerves relaxed as our tires hit a paved road. It was nice being on a paved road again. We also saw lots of cars going in both directions. This relaxed us even more.
We caught up to an SUV and could see they were using a navigation system so we decided to follow them. We were entering into a national forest but having cars in sight eased any tension we would have felt about that.
As we drove, we saw a sign for a golf course and a bunch of flags. And then, a security gate. And sitting at the gate’s entrance was that big ol’ tour bus. Matt immediately turned. And could see a resort in the distance. This place looks upscale and there’s security. I sighed, “finally, somewhere to sleep.”
So in we drove. It was a high end resort in the middle of nowhere. We were so grateful! Before Matt even asked about availability and room rates, I knew we were staying here. We were so tired and had faced enough unknowns for the evening. We parked. Unpacked the car. And settled in for the night.
The resort, Barcelo Tambor Beach, was perfect. It was all inclusive and had a late night snack bar. It didn’t have free wifi. You had to pay $12 extra a day for wifi. We paid 1/3 for other hotels what we were paying per night for this room and got free wifi. WTF!?? But alas we had a room to stay in, food to eat, I could get over the wifi. There was even a show.
During the drive, there was a time when I thought we would have to sleep in our car. This was much better.
Note to self. Don’t drive unfamiliar roads in Costa Rica at night.