Last weekend we made our way (via Tica bus) to Costa Rica. Part of the headache of us being here on tourist visas is that they are only good for 90 days. Then you can extend your tourist visa for another 90 days (for about $50 each), but at the end of that you have to leave the country. We have friends who live in San Jose, so we decided that rather than just hop the border we would see if they were around and we would go visit them.
Even though Adam and Landon grew up twenty minutes from one another, it wasn’t until Kelsey and Neil went to George Fox that the two met. And over the years Lando has become better friends with Adam, who 1) loves the Lord, 2) loves fishing in Oregon, and 3) serves in Central America as a camp director. When we reached out to him about coming to visit he said absolutely, and would love to talk with us about running the camp in Costa Rica.
Traveling by bus can always be interesting, as you’re never quite sure how thoughtful other riders will be, whether the bathroom will work, or what the driver will be like. On the way into Costa Rica there were some interesting moments. For example going pee on a moving bus is sort of like trying to pee into a coffee cup while riding a surf board. It just takes a lot of patience. Also, when we got to the border and handed the Tica bus employee our passports and money and he disappeared with them. I mean, he took everyone’s passports, but still. It was very unnerving, especially since then you just wait. You can buy a drink, and pay 5 Cordobas to use the bathroom, but otherwise you just wait. And then he comes back, calls out the names as he hands you back your passport, and you reboard the bus. Then you drive 200 yards, unboard again, and go through immigration in Costa Rica. More lines, your bags through an x-ray machine, and more waiting. Apparently there is no boarding the bus until everyone is through the line. (We just laugh and shake our heads now…) All the while you are being solicited to buy Coke, juice, or random snacks.
Our time in Costa Rica at Camp Roblealto was very refreshing. The camp has been around since the 1940’s, is seated at 4000 feet, and is a quiet reprieve from San Jose and Managua. Honestly, the climate reminded us of Oregon. At one point, while on a walk to the nearby little town, we looked up to see a dairy cow. The hillside behind her was completely green, and the grass was lush. If I didn’t know better I would have sworn I was on a back road in Tillamook county. Not only was our time at the camp refreshing, but our time with the Carlsen family was as well. We enjoyed a couple meals together, lots of laughter, and plenty of visiting with Jacob, Adam and Andrea’s six month old son. It was a beautiful time.
Though we don’t love the long bus rides, returning to Costa Rica will definitely be in our future. And maybe next time we’ll try our hands at fishing one of the many rivers there.