Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hotel Villa Acacia Beach Resort, Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica




11:00 p.m.

This is a beautifully landscaped little villa a few hundred yards from the beach. I inquired about their rates. Normally $70 per night, they would let me have a room for $50, breakfast and taxes included. At my request, Tomei Mejia showed me a room.

High quality appointments and an artistic touch in the paintings and crafts generously displayed throughout the rooms and passageways. Boz Scaggs and Simon and Garfunkel playing on the stereo. Must be my kind of place.

The cost was still pretty steep for my budget. I asked if she could do any better on the price. Consulting the owner, Manrique Calvo, she offered $45, if I paid cash. "Great."

Unpacked, washed clothes, showered, then returned to the dining patio to relax a bit. No beer (it's available at the market 100 yards away), but Manrique talked me into buying some wine. I told him I need a friend to drink with, so he agreed to share a bit. (Tomei declined my offer.) The wine, a 2003 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchagua Valley, produced by Undurraga. $10 U.S. for the bottle was pretty good! Wine and a hamburger with fries, and I was quite satisfied.

Manrique, who seemed to spend most of his time shirtless and in shorts, started this business four years ago, after about forty years in the "commercial" world. In the last two years, Playa Hermosa has boomed, with many North Americans building here, and he pointed to all the homes on the hillsides. He said the "Ticos" (Costa Ricans) who sell are getting a high price for their properties, they then move on to another area.

Manrique helped me put together an itinerary for the next few days, to include Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, San Jose and the U.S. Embassy, and finally the Oso Peninsula.

We both agree George W. Bush is a disaster for the U.S. and the World! I saw a brief clip of former President (and Nobel Prize winner) Oscar Arias. Manrique says he’s running again in the February elections and stands a good chance of winning. If he loses here, we could use him in the States!

A brief glimpse of the local weather channel, shows a tropical storm moving north toward Baja California. I wonder if that's what's been driving all this rain the past few days?



Tomei Mejia, second in command at Villa Acacia


***

A bit of a dilemma this morning: I didn't want to stay another day at the expensive Hotel Sitio and the town of Liberia is not particularly attractive, but it was pouring rain.

At 11:30, I went back to the internet café, where I plugged in again. A perfect seat to watch my bike and monitor the weather, which seemed to be clearing. I was there for nearly three and a half hours. When I looked up again, it was raining heavily. Time to go, but now what? I walked across the street to get a coffee and ponder my next steps. As I sat in the café, I watched the street turn into a river.

I had to move. I would get soaked just accessing my rain gear, but I went for it. By the time I got everything on, it seemed to be clearing again, thinning clouds to the west. Drove a few blocks and I was steaming. At the big intersection, my glasses started fogging just from the steam rising out of my clothes and helmet. I needed to get moving! It’s a short drive from Liberia to the coast. I just picked a road to follow, heading to Playa Coco and some of the other little beaches out this way. An odd mix of impoverished “Tico” villages and new villas for the gringos. Anchorages are dotted with yachts and small boats.

Playa Hermosa felt a bit better. But climbing the hillsides, the foreigners' mansions are taking over. Soon this area will be unapproachable by the locals, unless they’re working for someone here.

I came upon this attractive villa as sunset approached.

1 comment:

Drew Kampion said...

Good to hear you're in Costa Rica. Say hi to all my friends. Hey, pay attention to that Mike Young guy when you get to Panama. He was a Canal Zone kid and a sailor and should everything there is to know about safe and cheap travel by water to the S. A.continent.