Tampa Travels: 48 Hours in Costa Rica Part II

Last we left off, I had made the poor financial decision and excellent life decision to visit my little sister Kelli in her new Costa Rican townhouse over the first weekend in June. I left early on a Friday from Tampa International and although I was prepared for Spirit Airlines’ strict baggage policy, some of my fellow passengers were not so lucky, paying $100 at the gate for their carry-on-sized bag. Don’t start your trip off this way – make sure to read the fine print!

Another short delay after boarding my connecting flight in Ft. Lauderdale was due to a passenger who checked a bag for the trip but then never showed up to the plane. They look down on that behavior! I had my own share of embarrassment when I purchased three mini bottles of vodka on board – there was a deal – see ARFOMO description above – and my seatmate’s judgment was palpable through our squished shoulders. Then I sprayed my Sprite Zero I brought on board (again, read Spirit’s fine print – no free beverages!) all over our flight attendant, who was less than amused. Carbonated beverages react differently at 30,000 feet.

This trip sounds like it was a bust, but only one more small hurdle stood between Kelli and me: An hour and a half of waiting in line for Customs (it seemed as though about six planes arrived all at once). Pro tip: If you’re bringing just one bag to fit under the seat in front of you so you don’t pay extra money, make sure it’s one with wheels… my admittedly-weak shoulders were screaming after lugging my bag full of hand-me-down clothing for Kelli for 90 minutes.

After nervously making my way through dozens of taxi drivers offering rides, I found Kelli and my doggie nephew Juancho. They had come to get me in style, via Kell’s new car (a luxury for an expat like her in Costa Rica! Or at least that’s what she tells us so we feel sorry for her). We went to the townhouse she and her husband Oscar had recently moved into and promptly began Proper Sister Bonding: Taking dozens of useless photos, that only a mom can appreciate, on Snapchat.

Once we had thoroughly perfected all filters and sent several dozen pictures to our FOMO’d mom, we went shopping for our pool supplies the next day and Oscar came home from school. I’m not sure if it was the water or something I had before I arrived, but my stomach wasn’t feeling the greatest – off to an early bedtime in Kelli’s fantastic guest room.

Oscar eating, probably some kind of cream cheese and bread (the only things Kelli and I seemed to bring home from the store), and grading, along with Juancho begging, in their new office


We slept in on Saturday and while Oscar went for a training bike ride, we called for a ride of our own – via golf cart – compliments of the townhouse association. Off to the pool we went!

After a couple hours at the pool we decided the skies might be telling us it was time to head home – and sure enough, as we packed up our items, it started to pour. Luckily, the golf cart driver showed up and sped us home.

The next morning we fit in a quick visit to the mountain where Oscar grew up before heading to the airport. His entire family lives in this “neighborhood” – all next to each other. Kelli and Oscar are considering building a house up there someday.

Gorgeous views from their potential build site


Oh, and before we headed to SJO I begged for some Gallo Pinto, the traditional Costa Rican breakfast, which I had fallen in love with during our trip for Kelli and Oco’s wedding in 2015. YUM. I prefer mine with ketchup and extra cheese.

Gallo Pinto

Juancho bravely protected my lovely breakfast by barking ferociously at anyone who passed.

Fell in love with this little shopping area
According to my internationally-savvy iPhone, we ate breakfast at the Boulevard Alcidea Jimanez
Music nearby


Several quick hours later, I was back home in Tampa (after barely surviving another long Customs line, this time to enter the US). Another tip – even if you think your bladder will explode, don’t get out of line once off your plane – just hold it!

We had such a great time! Just kidding… this is a picture of the culturally-enlightening weekend Russell had with his brother in Phoenix during the same time I visited Kelli

Thanks for the fun weekend, Kell and Oco!

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