Taking the Cost-a outta Rica

<!–[if !mso]> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

Things have been percolating on the travel front, as well as the couchsurfing front, so expect to see a ramp up in posts.  I don’t want to blog about two unrelated topics in one post, so I’ve decided to hold off on my couchsurfing post for now.  While I’ve hosted my first couchsurfer (hint: it went well), my second arrives in about two weeks, so I’ll wait to blog about that until after he’s left.
This post is all about Costa Rica.  After much debating, googling, and price hunting, my friend Jason and I found a return flight to Liberia, Costa Rica for $850CND, tax included.  This is pretty phenomenal.  We leave Ottawa on December 27, and return on January 5.  I’m pretty stoked to ring in the 2012 somewhere in Costa Rica – maybe on a beach, maybe in a cloud forest, who knows?  All I do know is there won’t be snow involved.
We found the flights on the Travel Cuts website.  We have a bit of a circular route – we fly to Newark, then transfer to a flight to Houston, then a flight to Liberia.  On our way home, we fly Liberia-Houston-Chicago-Ottawa.  Our layovers are generally 2 to 3 hours, so all luggage should make the transfers as well; and we won’t get caught up in any border delays.
I know I said I wanted to go to the Canary Islands – and I do – but this price was just too good to pass up.  Assuming La Palma doesn’t slide into the ocean and cause a mega-tsunami, I can always go at a later date.  There were a few signs (or omens) that kept popping up for Costa Rica.  While looking at sleeping bags at MEC, there was a Costa Rica guide book left on a table.  Reading an online newspaper, I noticed the travel section was devoted to Costa Rica.  A friend mentioned that they were going to Costa Rica next year. Ok, so only three signs popped up, but it did seem a little serendipitous. 
Nothing besides the flight has been planned.  We do know that we’re going to be staying mostly in the north-western part of the country – hiking Arenal volcano, zipling in Monteverde and the cloud forest, scuba diving/snorkling/surfing/relaxing on the Pacific coast.  I’m also hoping to couchsurf at least one night in Costa Rica to experience it from the surfer end.  
The friend I’m travelling with is a scuba diver.  I’ve never been certified – I’ve never been anywhere where it was needed – and I’ve been looking into it here in Ottawa.  There’s one spot, within a half hour bus ride from my place, that offers an Open Water course starting in October, for $300.  The only problem right now is that the course is once a week, for 5 weeks, and ends at 11:30 pm.  I’m up at 5:30 am during the week for work.  That is not good math.  But I’ll continue to look into it.