Day 11, and we were collected by our driver Oscar, who spoke just a few words of English and who (thankfully) turned out to be a more considerate drive than Christian.
After a trip lasting about three hours westwards heading across country we spotted the Pacific Ocean. Our destination was the Papagayo Gulf and the El Mangroove Hotel.
This was very, very different to previous hotels – modern, large and very square. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this initially. Inside the room, we could have been anywhere – very unlike previous places where we’d been in the midst of nature. Once we had explored a little, the public areas of the hotel had a far more relaxed feel about them and once we spotted the beach – well, the hotel grew in my estimation.
We found our way to the open and thatched Matiss beach bar where we enjoyed lunch and an Imperial beer (a local Costa Rican beer which we really liked). We were rather shocked by the lack of reaction from other guests when a 3ft long iguana strolled across the sandy floor the bar. No, this isn’t the start of a joke and there is no punch line…. Once we had been at the hotel longer, we realised that the local iguana are plentiful, quite tame and enjoy human contact (or at least, seem unpeturbed by it).
The final four days of our holiday involved plenty of relaxation and a boat trip. We hired a twin engine boat and crew to take us on a morning trip out of the cove and to try snorkelling. Getting into the boat proved somewhat of a challenge – we were taken out to the boat which was anchored about 20 metres off shore in a dingy. Getting from the dingy (which was about 4ft lower than the boat) involved Andy lifting me to stand on top of the bouncy rubber side. The dingy was safely tied to the boat, but this did not prevent a sideways movement, causing me to slide sideways and Andy to almost topple into the bottom of the dingy. I was caught just in time by a member of the crew who hauled me aboard. I only wish I could have seen the expression on his face, as I am sure he was somewhat shocked at how such a little person could be quite as heavy! But I made been making the most of the lovely Costa Rican cuisine and had managed to work my way through most of the cocktail menu.