Let me tell you something- sometimes, because we fly by the seat of our pants, we get some pretty interesting housing situations. I don't know why it is, but Tyler and I don't love to have hotels or campsites booked ahead of time. I think it makes us feel cagey. Also, when we arrive in certain destinations, i.e. Costa Rica, we have absolutely no itinerary. Which is why sometimes we turn to you for advice, and sometimes we're downloading books about a certain place as we board the plane.
It's just our way.
The other day we found ourselves finished with our wonderful trip to Lake Arenal and in the car, ready for a 3-4 hour ride to Tamarindo. We had no hotel reservations, nor internet access or phone with which to make them, but we weren't worried because again, this is usual.
So we drive the hours, occasionally needing to field a question or two from the little lillies in the back who are sometimes wondering where we are headed. We drive the entire way not finding any internet access, so there we are, in the streets of Tamarindo, trying to hop onto a random wifi connection.
Tyler and I simultaneously log onto some of the booking sites that we've had really great luck with in the past for last minute bookings. We find a steal of a deal on a nice condo for two nights. We'd beach camped and stayed in cabinas for the last 3 nights and really need a nice hot shower.
Hotels.com helps us find a condo, 2 bedrooms, super nice, at a really low rate. So we book 2 nights and head off in that direction- it's about 10 miles off from where we are. We are constantly thanking the heavens that we ended up with a 4WD rental car because the road to get there? Should be named Death Avenue.
When we arrive at the place (did you know Costa Rica uses no addresses? See picture below:
Yes, the address of San Jose's Ministry of Health has the "address" of 50 meters from the Hotel Holiday and across from some restaurant. Does this strike you as.... well I won't say.)
The hotel, at first glance, looks pretty good but as we drive up the steep, windy drive, we notice more and more that the place is really, really run down. The "villas" we are passing have windows that have had rocks thrown through them, there are sheets hanging down in front of the windows, or whole panes are missing completely. There is furniture discarded by the front doors, and the parking spaces have cement that is broken up and left unrepaired.
We go further up the driveway and pass two large Condominium buildings and one large hotel. The hotel is in about the same shape as the villas. Completely ghosty looking. I get out of the car to check in but I can't see anyone at the condos, and the signs point to the hotel to check in.
I work my way over to the hotel and hear some loud, whining, 1920's type music coming from within. After I enter i can see a reception desk on my right- completely abandoned.
"Hola?" I say quietly. I know nobody can hear me over that creepy music. I keep walking.
The hallway gives way into a big, cavernous dining room, half indoor, half outdoor. The music is really loud now, and I spot two figures at a table on the opposite side. I see one super old man, on the brink of death, rubbing a woman's (his lover?) feet. She is ancient as well.
The two of them spot me, but keep on with their.... affection?
I swear, they are ghosts. They look dusty and bony and totally gaunt.
I work up the courage to go talk to them. "Where can I check in?" I ask in Spanish (are you impressed?). They answer, "You aren't a guest here. You aren't a guest at this hotel."
No freaking duh.
I beeline it out of there. I don't even know what to think. Am I asleep? Am I dead? Are they dead? Is this the twilight zone?
When I make it back into the sunlight the music has become softer and I see a figure ahead of me in the hallway of the condos. After a brief converstaion I figure out how to check in to the actual condo, and not the hotel of ghosties.
But unfortunately for me, the tone has been set. For the next two nights, I'll be sleeping, quite literally, at death's door.
Early morning over Monteverde, Costa Rica.
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah