We took the more expensive minibus to La Fortuna (9550c) because we wanted to be able to visit the volcano that evening and leave the following morning. However, it turned out the tour didn't leave until 5pm so we could have got the local bus for a fraction of the cost.
We checked into Cabinas Sissy for 2674c each and they sold us a tour to the volcano for 7640c. The idea is to view the volcano erupting and then visit the hot baths. Unfortunately when we got to the volcano the cloud was so thick that we couldn't even see it so we went to the hot baths early instead. There are seven pools of varying temperatures in a very nice setting around a bar. We relaxed there for a while before going back to La Fortuna for an expensive meal. La Fortuna is well named as it had cost a fortune.
The next day we waited until 5pm in case the clouds cleared but they didn't so we started our four bus journey to Playa Tamarindo. That is one problem with travelling in Costa Rica, the local buses don't go very far so you need to get three or four to go anywhere and the minibus shuttles are very expensive. Also, Costa Rica has some of the worst roads and buses we have seen.
While we were waiting for a bus we talked to a local man. He must be one of the unluckiest people we have met - he has a bite mark on his leg from a crocodile, one of his fingers is missing where an iguana bit it off and yesterday he had been wounded in the leg by a bull in the bullfight - with his luck you would think he would stay clear of bull fights. He also gave us some photos of the area and being cynical we thought at first he was selling them but it turned out he was just being nice.
The bus to Tilaran left half an hour late, the roads were awful but we somehow managed to get there an hour early at 8.30pm. The bus conductor showed us a hotel that wasn't in the guidebook (and the sign outside indicates a dentists rather than a hotel). We were the only guests (probably because no one knows it is a hotel) so they let us have the expensive room for the price of the cheap one (3000c).
The next morning we got the 10am bus from Tilaran to Canas. We were lucky to get on as it was so busy, although they probably could have squeezed someone else on somewhere. 40 minutes later we were in Canas where we got a nicer bus to Liberia. It took another hour to Liberia where we had a few hours to kill until the 2.30pm bus to Playa Tamarindo. A taxi driver came over to offer us a lift there every five minutes and although his price dropped dramatically after a while it was still ten times more than the bus.
We finally got to Playa Tamarindo about 5pm. We had heard that it was very expensive here but it turned out to be cheaper than La Fortuna. We found a room at Cabinas Roda Mar for 4584c.
The reason we were here was to see the turtles laying eggs at night. We went looking for a tour but ended up speaking to a guy who said that there was only one turtle and there were so many tourists each night that it went back into the sea without laying eggs. We didn't regret coming all the way here though when we saw the beach. It was wide and beautiful with palm trees and hardly any tourists. We decided to stay a couple of nights and relax on the beach. As we walked along the beach at sunset some people had caught a marlin that was at least seven feet long. They were trying unsuccessfully to drag it up the beach behind their 4x4.