Posted by Amanda
Costa Rica has a great customs and immigration process. Basically we didn't have to do anything. We were cleared early even with a Holland American ship arriving right before us.
I was trip leader for our Cloud Forest and Poas Volcano trip. Our group was small at 18 with mostly faculty, staff, and some good kids who decided to learn a bit in Costa Rica rather than get a hotel at a beach for an end of the semester party. Our guide spoke perfect English and gave us a lot of information about Costa Rica during the 2 1/2 hour drive to the park. The park and volcano are at a high altitude so it was quite chilly. It was also, as you could imagine from the name Cloud Forest, quite cloudy. It hardly rains in this park but the clouds provide moisture to all of the plants. Unfortunately we didn't really see the volcano because it was too cloudy. It looked like a wall of grey. For a brief moment we saw a glimpse to the bottom with the hazy lake. The lake is 100 degrees and very acidic. I t was all a bit of a let down but I guess that is to be expected in a cloud forest.
We had a nice lunch at a place that had a Swiss village feel to it. They had hummingbirds all over which was weird to see since we've been out of the hummingbird hemisphere for so long.
From lunch we drove by the metal church which would have been nice for a stop. We were supposed to go to Sarchi and the oxcart factory. Apparently oxcarts are a big thing here. There was an accident that prevented us from visiting which was okay wth me since I'm pretty sick of factory stores with tourist prices. We did stop at one store but Noah and I restrained ourselves.
Back at the ship we discovered we still didn't have a shower curtain so were glad that we hadn't gotten sweaty. We got ready for dinner with Mario and Rachel.
We found a cute place with good food and prices and many SAS crew, faculty, and staff. After dinner we wandered around a bit then back to the ship.
The ship is at the end of a long pier right on a beach. Lots of locals use this beach. I can't think of any place we've docked where I'd want to swim that close to the ship. The water is always gross with garbage and a greasy film on it. Plus, this beach had gross litter on it. Sure it was hot as he11, but that beach was gross.