Manuel Antonio here we come…

I slept nearly 11hours waking to practically silence interspersed by the occasional birdsong. It seems that it’s only quiet from about 5am till 9, then the human cacophony kicks off.

The day was fresh and windy, beautiful clear blue skies. Up on the roof you could see various mountain ranges but it wasn’t clear what was volcanic and what wasn’t. Took a few photos anyway. I’ll add them later, wifi here is spotty and not working today.

Thought I’d get ahead of the pack and get to breakfast early, rocking up at 7am. This is practically unheard of for me anywhere else – this going to bed early is transforming my days…Turned out that the Costa Ricans ate early risers too as I was presently joined by another 7 people, 3 of whom where policemen built like ‘brick shithouses’, who squeezed around my table. Breakfast was a disappointment, a small sadness of refried beans, egg and rice, some plantain and that was it. Least there was coffee.

The service and staff at the place were brilliant and the fact that the bed was hugely sleepable in made up for the plate of food I received.

A super quick run to the airport meant that I was, yet again, mega early. No departure boards in the domestic part of the airport, coupled with the fact that NatureAir have one desk tucked away hidden behind AirMexico right at the end meant asking someone where the desk was. Even then I didn’t really believe them, the desk had no signage. TripAdvisor confirmed that it was them….and that it didn’t open for flights until an hour before departure, then closed 45mins before, so was open for 15minutes???

Seeing Mr & Mrs Rohan with large waterproof bags turn up there about 90mins before the flight and start waving passports I tagged on the end. No bother, till….The scales read 34, and thinking there was an error – no way my bag weighs 34kgs, even with some hand luggage now in it. Check-in man points it out, and that I’m over the allowed weight. ‘Can’t be, the bag doesn’t weigh that much’, ‘well it is’, ‘what, 34kilos?’, ‘Pounds, it’s pounds’, ‘Pounds!?’ (What airline weighs in pounds?…) ‘That’ll be $20’, ‘Per pound?’, ‘Total, credit or debit card only’, ‘Phew’ followed by panic as failed to locate wallet with cards in. My debris was strewn around the desk, probably left half of it there, however the relief of finding the wallet outweighs any loss tbh.

There were a few people at the gate, where they’d come from I’d no idea as I’d been eagle eyeing the check-in desk for a while before I went up. Then, about 30minutes before take off a family appears and the clerk ushers the through, so we all get a bit excited…ok, I do, so go up and show him my boarding pass, aka a slip of paper handwritten with my flight time, gate and name, and he says, ‘not your flight, sit down’. But there’s no other flights on the board?!? He vanishes with the family, then comes back for an American couple and then vanishes again. Our flight was due to go at 10:45, it ticks by, there’s no change to the board, 10:50, no one, 10:55…a bus pulls up and then a few minutes later our clerk reappears to put us on the bus. And there’s loads of us, far more than were in the gate. He’s like the Paul Daniels of airport trickery. Who are these people? Where did they come from? And more importantly it turns out, is where are they going? When we drove round the back of the airport to the lil’ plane area only 4 of us hopped off for Quepos, which was the only flight on the board?!

Our plane was a single propellor seating about 18, so us 4 were huddled at the front, whilst the co pilot did a briefing on the four exits and the seat belts. Reality was, if this went down we were dodos. It was a surreal 20 minutes initially bumping along the runaway behind a jet then bumping along to take off. I think sheer belief that it could fly is what got us up in the air.

It was beautiful once we were up, minimal evidence of dwellings, except around the city area, and then greenery everywhere, forests and canyons, mountains and, well, scenery.

 

The occasional beeping from the pilot’s dashboard and the whirr of the propellor was all we could hear. After coming through cloud we could see the sea and then we banked a sharp left over closely packed palm, and there opening up for us in amongst them was the runaway.

We parked next to the round by the wire fence and clambered out. Departure tax was $3 (?), and there was Inigo one half of my Airbnb hosts waiting for me – result.

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