“Border Run” to Costa Rica

The river of clouds outside our bungalow this morning

The river of clouds outside our bungalow this morning

Doing the “border run” from Panama to Costa Rica is a common thing for expats in Boquete who don’t have their resident’s visa. The Panamanian tourist visa is good for 6 months, but a foreign driver’s license is only good for the first 3 months after you enter Panama, which means that, until the resident’s visa application gets approved, many expats end up going to Costa Rica every three months or so. But, Mark and I haven’t ever made that trip, because 1) we don’t drive in Panama (yay!!); and 2) we go back to visit family every 6 months.

So, when our friends Holly and Scott (www.hollycarter184.wordpress.com)  invited us to join them for the weekend during their “border run” through Rio Serrano, we thought — “Why not?” And so here we are, in a country that looks remarkably like Boquete, except that instead of being at 3500 feet looking up, we are at 3500 feet and looking down . And wow, is it beautiful.

The view of the valley from our balcony, in the afternoon

The view of the valley from our balcony, in the afternoon

The lush valley that is outside our balcony had disappeared when we woke up this morning. The clouds had filled it completely, making it look like a reservoir had been created overnight.  Quite a sight, and hard to believe, looking at it, that it wasn’t permanent, but before 7 am, the clouds had burned off and we could see the valley again.

The clouds filled the valley this morning

The clouds filled the valley this morning

We are staying at Casa Botania, a bed and breakfast (with excellent food!) outside of San Vito, Costa Rica . The owners, Pepe (Costa Rican) and Kathleen (Belgian)  have quite a romantic story, which you can read about on their website. (www.casabotania.com)  They designed and built the large house that they live in, which has one room to rent, and the 2 bungalows on the property, and live here now with their 21 month old son. It’s amazing to me to think that they created this from nothing – cleared the land, brought in electricity and water, landscaped, built and designed this lovely spot that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. They lived in a tent on the property the first few months, until  the basics were completed. If I’m remembering properly, they’ve been in business for 4 years now, and from what I can see, they are doing a top notch job. I’m terribly impressed with their efforts to create this lovely paradise.

Where we're staying -- an all around lovely place for a relaxing visit!

Where we’re staying — an all around lovely place for a relaxing visit!

Of course, even a trip to paradise (from paradise, I might add) can have a few bumps in the road. And when you’re wearing flip-flops on a bumpy road, as my friend and I were, problems can happen….poor Holly ended up sliding down a  rocky hill as we were crossing the border from Panama to Costa Rica, (on foot as is required at this border crossing) and has what looks to be a sprained ankle. What a horrible way to start a weekend vacation! Mark and I went into town with Scott today in search of some supplies for her. I feel so bad that she couldn’t join us, but with  her kindle, some ice for her ankle, and of course, the same positive attitude that shines through when she blogs, she’s making the most of the unexpected change in plans. 🙂

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