The hotel itself is spread out over a number of different locations. My room is one of two overlooking the ocean beneath the El Avian restaurant. This restaurant's claim to fame is that there is a reconstructed C-123 cargo plane in the bar.
Actually, it's a bar in its own right.
|Normally, to find a plane with a bar I have to go Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic|
Our Fairchild C-123 was a part of one of the biggest scandals in the mid 1980s. During this time the Reagan administration had set up a bizarre network of arms sales to Iran designed to win release of US hostages being held in Lebanon and raise money to find the Nicaraguan, counter-revolutionary guerilla fighters, commonly referred to as the "Contras".
With the CIA's help, they purchased several items, including two C-123 cargo planes (one of which is our plane), two C-7 planes, a Maule aircraft, spare parts, and munitions. They also built a secret airstrip on an American-owned 30,000 acre ranch in northwest Costa Rica.
On October 5th 1986 a US cargo plane (the twin sister of El Avion's own Fairchild C-123) was shot down over southern Nicaragua.
As a result of this successful Sandanista strike on our Fairchild's sister plane the cargo operation was suspended and one of the C-123s was abandoned at the International Airport in San Jose.
In August 2000 we purchased the abandoned Fairchild for $3,000. We then disassembled and shipped the pieces of the Iran-Contra relic to Quepos. From San Jose the fuselage was shipped via ocean ferry (from Caldera to Quepos) because it was 10 inches too wide for the antiquated Chiquita Banana railroad bridges! After hauling all seven aircraft sections of the Manuel Antonio hill, the C-123 finally found its current cliff-side resting place.The room was large and clean, and equipped with its own local wildlife - I spotted at least two very small lizards scampering along the walls. They proved to be quite camera-shy, skittering away if I got too close.
Friday and Sunday were supposed to be free days with nothing planned, but I'm not really a "lie on the beach and soak up the sun" sort of person, so I took a look through the excursions that the hotel could arrange, and settled on joining a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park (highly recommended in the guides I'd seen) on Friday, and some time on a jet-ski tour on Sunday.
Booking these was marginally more difficult than it needed to be. You book them via the hotel, so I phoned up reception and was told that they could book them, but needed a deposit. In cash. Delivered then and there. By this point the afternoon thunderstorms had arrived, so I made the rather lengthy trek to the nearest ATM to withdraw some cash, and then the even lengthier trek to reception, ~ 10 minutes from my room. Why they couldn't just bill it to my account I don't know.