The picture above is a view of the Arenal Lake from our backdoor.
Our plane landed safely in San Jose, Costa Rica at 12:50 Costa Rica time! We gained an hour upon entering the country which was nice. It took about 3 1/2 hours of driving to reach the town of Nuevo Arenal where my mom, siblings, and I are staying. Our van shuttle service was Eagle Tours La Fortuna San Carlos firstname.lastname@example.org . They picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at the house we are renting. A shuttle service was necessary to haul the four of us, our 4 rolling back packs, and 5 LARGE suitcases.
Here, my mom and I are off to our first shopping experience in Nuevo Arenal. We set off prepared in our rubber boots, rain coats, and polka dotted shopping bag which has wheels! On our daily excursions to the supermarket, we always carry along our rain jackets in a backpack since the rain storms here are unpredictable and occur randomly during rainy season.
This rainbow appeared amidst one of our daily rain storms.
The location at which we are staying has a lot of humidity which provides the perfect opportunity for mold to grow. Our first day in Arenal was spent cleaning up our rental home. After purchasing rubber gloves and cleaner, we were prepared to tackle what lay ahead. To keep us going and provide inspiration, we played a Josh Groban music CD that we had brought along with us. It took about eight hours of us all working to make our rental livable. We had to do a thorough floor sweeping, mopping, and wipe out the mold covered refrigerator which was quite an adventure! To make the task of cleaning the refrigerator bearable, I turned my sleeping mask into a nose cover. Black spots lined the walls and shelves so it took elbow grease from my mom, sister, and me to get the job done. It was a relief to get it cleaned to a usable condition.
Walking to the grocery store has become our daily form of exercise. The photos above are of the “largest” supermarket that is in Nuevo Arenal. It is quite an adjustment from the grocery stores we have in the US and the selection is more limited. This is a bit challenging since my brother and I our on special diets, but we put our creativity to use by preparing a variety of vegetable dishes, chicken, beans, rice, and corn tortillas. We are looking forward to the Wal-mart grocery store that will be arriving in two weeks.
To compensate for the lack of an operating stove, we purchased an electric skillet for fifty dollars. It has become one of our survival tools for preparing our daily meals. It works great for cooking eggs in the morning and sautéing our vegetables & meat for dinner. My mom uses a skillet often at our home in the Florida, so when we arrived to Costa Rica and were in need of a way to prepare food she knew what we could use! The photo to the right depicts the contraption we found for cooking rice in the microwave. It works wonders and gets the job done without having to use a stove. We are so thankful the microwave works!
Here is my Costa Rican dinner we prepared by using our electric skillet and microwavable rice cooker. The corn tortillas, vegetables, and rice were delicious!
Elizabeth’s Traveling Tips: In Lake Arenal, you can use American money for purchases.