Costa Rica: In Which We Meet Our Rental Car's Deductible Twenty Minutes After Driving Off The Lot


Saturday, July 14, 2012. 6:01 AM

Backpacks loaded in the trunk, cruising to San Jose, George Michael on the radio. Pura vida, baby.

Saturday, July 14, 2012. 6:09AM

Our brakes give out and we coast to a stop . . . into the back of a bus. Here we are waiting for cops and an insurance man to come to fill out paperwork. Goodbye, $1200 deductible.

To say that our Costa Rica trip did not get out to the best start would be an understatement. The best part? After this accident, the brakes started working again. (Do I happen to have any car-savvy blog readers who could explain this? A mechanic from the rental company looked at the car afterward--brake fluid was fine.) When we explained what happened to Hertz, everyone there looked at us like we were total liars. And really, who could blame them? We have no proof. Now that we're back home, we're ready to put up our dukes and fight. I know I have a few friends taking the bar exam soon. Pro bono work, anyone?! :)

We almost let this spoil the vacation. As in, thought about catching the next flight back home. But we decided to stick it out and continued our journey in a now-banged-up Daihatsu Bego. Yep. We drove that same car around. Getting a new one would've meant another $1200 hold on our credit card. Plus, why rent a new car when you've already met your deductible on an old one?! Any ensuing accident would be "free!" FREE CAR WRECKS FOR ALL!!!!!!!

We made our way to the port town of Puntarenas to catch the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya. You know that website People of Walmart? I'm pretty sure its Costa Rican equivalent is People of Puntarenas. Seriously. We arrived at this hot, dirty, dingy city and really started wondering if this whole Costa Rica thing was all it was cracked up to be...

After waiting a sweltering  two hours for the next ferry over, we boarded the boat and made our way to Paquera. I'm pretty sure I cried the whole way over. Both Brock and I were going on very little sleep (about seven hours total in the previous two days), I was PMSing, overwhelmed with the rental car situation, etc. During the ride, we chatted with a nice man from Canada who one-upped our car story with a Costa Rican nightmare he'd lived through the previous year. It involved him, a motorcycle, a terrible accident, and a five-hour painkiller-less ordeal to the nearest hospital. It 50% put things in perspective, 50% annoyed me. (I'm usually cool with brushing off one-upmanship, but not when I'm having, like, the shittiest day ever.)

Our destination, Montezuma, was still another hour away from Paquera. Luckily most of the road was paved so it didn't take too long to get there. Montezuma is a super small town (two streets that form a T, that's it), but it has an awesome vibe. Very bohemian. Dreadlocks everywhere. (Locals call it "Montefuma" because of all the Mary Jane.) We grabbed some Italian food for dinner, which I KNOW is lame because we were in Costa Rica, but whatever. After a day like that, all I wanted was a chilled Coke and some pizza. Sue me. (Unless you're Hertz Rental Car, in which case I SUE YOU.)

After a quick splash in the ocean, we set up camp--right on the beach! I cried some more. Brock and I had officially deemed it a Day of Mourning, so I guess I was trying to meet my tear deductible. But then the coolest thing happened. As we turned off our lantern to go to sleep, we saw tinkling lights. Everywhere.

Fireflies. It was so beautiful watching them that any thought of deductibles or insurance or battles with Hertz faded away. Kind of like those fireflies--flickering on, off, on, off, until daylight came and they disappeared completely.

That night's sleep was just what we needed to recharge our batteries. It was a testament to our exhaustion that we slept at all--it was so unbearably hot! But it's easy to fall asleep to an ocean lullaby. I loved hearing the tide roll in at around 2AM, with the waves crashing closer and closer.

Hard to say you've had a bad day when it ends like that.

Finally in Montezuma!

Awesome signs on a bathroom door.

Mormon wine.

Not a bad view.

To the left of our campsite.

To the right.


  1. I have missed your blogging more than you could ever know.

  2. AnonymousJuly 25, 2012

    What a colonic discharge start for a trip.

  3. Liked the part about meeting "tear deductible." Clever.


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