Sunday, 11 February 2018

Rincon de la Vieja - Hacienda Gualchipelin

Another day and another stop on my tour of Costa Rica. This time ti a drier hilly region largely used for cattle farming. The hotel itself, Hacienda Gualchpelin still keeps cattle, but its main source of income is from tourists. The estate covers a large area, so large that it requires a shuttle bus to get around most of it. And there was a bone of contention. Check-in was 2pm, we arrived off the bus at 1 pm, and the last hotel shuttle bus as at 2pm. So obviously we wanted to quickly drop our bags in our rooms, get changed and head out. The guy at reception said he would try and get our rooms ready early. So nothing much could be done than mooch around reception and the pool, and wait for the rooms to become available. Nice pool

But as it turned out "early" check-in was literally one minute before designated check-in of 2pm, so we missed the bus. Even a smiley elephant towel sculpture couldn't make up for that.

 So instead I and a Danish couple I had hooked up with walked to a nearby waterfall, about half an hour's walk through a pretty hot combination of grassland and woodland. Wouldn't have been worth it as a walk, but the destination was rather fine. A modest but attractive waterfall at which one could swim. If you don't mind the cold.

Managed to capture a little bit of wildlife on the walk back.

White-winged Dove

 Back at the hotel the rooms were in long rows of chalets surrounding central gardens. Simple but nice enough. But the problem with this place, as rapidly became clear, is that it is dealing with mass-market tourism. You get a wristband on arrival, and you are quickly made to feel like just a number - an article to be processed and dispatched as soon as possible. Food at the restaurant is pretty indifferent, but I was ached my room number by 4 different people, despite only ordering a pizza and a beer. And no one asked me anything about whether I was happy with the food. Staff seemed overworked and the atmosphere was of  a factory more than a restaurant.

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