You know the problem with a central hotel? It’s central and has traffic all night long. We did not get a restful night of sleep unfortunately, so we headed down to breakfast at around 7:30. But before we did, we managed to spot some birds getting colourful berries out of a tree just outside of our window.
Breakfast was nice, but the itching on Manjas sand-flea-bites had gotten a lot worse. So after breakfast we went straight to a Pharmacy, but when we got there it was closed… Even though google and the concierge had said it should be open. Nearing tears from having her legs covered in super-itchy spots, Manja none the less kept her cool and walked all the way back to the hotel. I asked the concierge again, and he pointed us to another one, which was a bit further away. We walked all the way back into town (a 10-minute walk) to this other pharmacy. At one point I may have taken a wrong turn, and Manja got a little testy for some reason…. but we found the place a short time later. They gave us a cream which was supposed to help. It didn’t help immediately and we headed back to the hotel in double step. As we packed Manja tried to keep mostly still, because movement seemed to aggravate everything. Eventually the gel started to work and changed the itch level from “OMG I want to cry” to “bearable” – not gone, not good, only “bearable”. I’m so proud of her for resisting to scratch her legs open!
With our luggage packed and Manjas itching remaining at a level of “bearable”, we stored our bags and went for a walk through town, hitting a couple of souvenir shops, leaving them disappointed while aiming at the San Jose Municipal Craft Market. We expected to see a variety of hand-made crafts, but instead got overwhelmed by mini souvenir stores all selling identical items at prices too low to not be mass produced. The good news was that we could now identify things which were mass-produced because everyone was selling them, and walked away without wasting our money.
Eventually we headed over to a cafe which was recommended to us. There we had a smoothie and iced coffee, re-applied the anti-itch cream and decided on a route back. As we were about to leave we got a message telling us our plane was going to be delayed – from 22:00 to 23:00. Given that we were going to return the car around 17:00 we already knew we would be spending more time at the little airport than we really wanted. Ah well, could not be changed… We did upgrade our seats to allow us to leave the plane early so we would hopefully not miss the connecting flight.
We walked on, and one of the places we visited was the National park which had this great statue, I just could not resist a photo.
We temporarily debated visiting another Museum, but decided that we really wanted to spend the last few hours in the sun, even if we were walking around town. As the anti-itch cream was not really doing a fantastic job, we decided to visit another couple of pharmacies to see if anyone had a better remedy. Turns out they all sell stuff with the same ingredients, which made trying them pointless. The oral medication is supposed to be better, but Manja decided against this, arguing that any sort of reaction she may have to medication would be bad on the plane… Fair point!
By around 3 pm we went back to the hotel to pick up our car and bags, and hit our final destination – a little cafe we wanted to visit on Day 1. When we tried it back then, it was closed and it happend to be on our way back to the airport. When we got there we had some light lunch and spent a bit of time chatting.
As we talked, Manja noticed that she had lost the anti itch cream. Only one thing to do: head to another pharmacy. By now it was around 16:30, which was apparently the start of rush-hours, which seem to start at 16:00 and go to about 19:00. The pharmacy right around the corner had no option for me to safely park nearby, so we opted for the Walmart pharmacy a 10 minute drive away, figuring they would have parking. And they did, and they also had the cream we were after. Shortly later we drove to a nearby petrol station and already noticed the traffic getting intense. By the time we left the petrol station I had to drive through the most mad traffic, through the weirdest intersections, during dusk. It was only a 15 minute drive, but I was soaked with sweat and super stressed by the half way point. Manja kept a cool navigators head and got us to where we needed to go.
I have to give a quick shout-out to Alamo Car rentals – they made it super easy, which it is not always in Costa Rica. 10/10, would use again. Within 10 minutes we were in the shuttle bus, driving us back to the airport. At normal times, this would be a 5-10 minute drive, which took 20 minutes through the traffic of the hour. When we got to the airport everything went smoothly and we killed a few hours looking through the souvenir shops and updating my blog.
Pro tip if you ever travel to Costa Rica: If you want souvenirs, buy them on-site where they are made or just wait to buy anything else at the airport. The best souvenir shops around were all present here, with no significant price difference we could tell. Just be early, they don’t open late and are past the security gates. By the time our plane was ready, we were ready to fly too.
Thanks for joining us on our little trip!