Alright, so where were we? (Here's Part I if you missed it) Oh right...
So our friend Will called and told us they had just gotten back from Panama. They had found a town called Paso Canoas which is between Costa Rica and Panama. It's one of those strange boarder towns straight out of the movies. But the attractive part of this town was three fold. 1. We could drive our own vehicle, not ever really leaving Costa Rica, but still "leave" and 2. It might be possible to get a 90 day visa in just one day instead of 3. and 3. It was going to cost a lot less than actually flying to Miami!
Will said the trip down the coastal road was pretty, and really, what's a 5 hour road trip? That's just an hour longer than our trips from Barakel to my parents' house. And so, just like that on Thursday afternoon we decieded we were road tripping it to Panama the next day. And as the night went on, the Lord totally provided for the entire cost of the trip! Amazing!!
As I cleaned out the 4 Runner and packed the toy baskets and snack bags, it was a weird feeling. For the last 3 years we have spent so many hours on the road and I totally knew the drill, but here I was, getting us ready for a road trip in Costa Rica!
We took off the next day, armed with our GPS (Thank you Lord!!) and some good food. It was nice to be on the open roads that were relatively flat and be able to cruise along at 80 kph (that's a whopping 50 mph, but we usually go around 20 mph, so we felt like we were flying!) Our one stand by with road trips, though, is music. We hadn't figured out a system to hook up our ipod yet, so this was our solution. Pretty lame, right? Yeah, we have since fixed that! Now we have a cable that connects the ipod right to the stereo. Anyway, I digress.
The trip down was lovely, the boys did amazing. I think it was all the new things to look at, like the palm plantations, where all the palm oil comes from.
We made good time and were in Paso Canoas around 2 pm.
We found parking at the Costa Rican immigration building, and unloaded all the kids, the passports and all other important documents we were needing. And we were praying. We had planned to stay the three days if we needed, but were praying God would work it all out so we could be done with everything in one day. We headed to the line to leave Costa Rica. That was no problem. We then walked the block down the street to enter Panama. Entering Panama, no problem. Now we walked three lines down, and left Panama, and then walked the block back to Costa Rica and re entered the country. We were granted a 90 day visa, which means we can legally drive for another 90 days!
Really, the whole process only took about 2 hours and that was just because we were standing in lines. By this point, it was 4 pm and we had about two hours of day light left, so we decieded that instead of staying in Paso Canoas, which really has nothing, we might as well drive up the coast a bit and find some place a bit more fun for the night.
We ended up staying near Playa Tortuga (Turle Beach) and enjoyed a place with a pool and a restaurant right in the hotel.
Saturday we decided to just take our time getting home, enjoying the beach along the way. We stopped at a public beach near Dominical and enjoyed the water. It's so different weather wise down by the coast! It was in the low 90's and about 75% humidity, and the Pacific was like bath water. The boys all loved it. And it was strange, Quinn's first experience in a natural body of water was the ocean, not one of the Great Lakes.
We tried pipas for the first time, which are young coconuts kept in a cooler until you want to drink the milk out. Some of us liked them, some did not, but we tried them.
We also saw iguanas, alligators and ate lunch on the beach in Jacó. Overall, it was really a nice little mini vacation. And we can continue to drive, well for another 90 days at least. Pray with us that our cédulas will come before the next 90 days are up!