Pura Vida from Costa Rica!


 The Costa Rican tourism website states:

“Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is an interactive sensory experience. The country is bestowed with an intense array of biodiversity and environmental attractions – majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Rica carries a fascinating ecological story, woven into the history of a peaceful and family-oriented culture.”

Done. Sign me up! Actually, we just returned from a week in Costa Rica, and it did not disappoint!

First, our accomodations. This path led to the main house and the pool which were shared by Jon, Ashley, Nate, Robyn, and us.   

 One of the first things I noticed about Costa Rica (besides the oppressive heat, which I was expecting, and the steep switchbacks, which felt like coming home!) was the butterflies. They were everwhere! They started fluttering the moment we opened the door to our house and flitted over our heads in the pool. Speaking of, look at that pool!   
 We rented the house on AirBnB, which Tony and I used all through Europe last summer. We did have a few issues with this particular rental, but the property manager handled things right away and the owner refunded some of our rental cost, so we were able to just enjoy our week away.

Now on to the adventurous stuff!! We trekked over some pretty rough road (It’s hard to tell here, but Jon dubbed them moguls – quite accurately!)…

  and took a short hike…

 to a beautiful waterfall…

where we played around for a bit!  Then the boys went around to climb to the top of the falls (like manly men do)…  

 and found a secluded little pool…  

  perfect for cliff jumping!  

 We spent another day on a jungle adventure up in the mountains at Buena Vista Adventure Park. It took about an hour and a half to reach our destination, much of which was spent on dirt/rock roads winding (sometimes) slowly upward. The first part of our adventure was ziplining!  

 We all made it safely, with the help of our guides, and we each even went upside down at least once!   

 
After a brief snack, provided by the resort, it was off to the water slide. Unfortunately none of our photos of the slide turned out. It was just too fast for the camera to catch! It was able to catch these howler monkeys though!   

 Lunch was typical Costa Rican fare – flavorful meat, rice, beans, and veggies. It was delicous!     

  After lunch it was time to relax! A ten minute tractor ride brought us to the outdoor “spa.” Step one was a cleansing trip to the volcanic gas heated sauna. Then it was mud-bath time!  

 After a cold shower/spray down, it was nice to just sit in the thermal pools and sip a beverage!  

  It was wonderful to be up in the hills and actually be cold for a little while before returning to the coast! And I was super impressed with Buena Vista. They anticipated everything – from providing the snacks to having towels available after the waterslide to having a truck pick us up within minutes of our tractor (the one that took us the to spa) breaking down! I had no need for the backpack I brought loaded with food, water, and towels. 

Another day was spent on a catamaran out in the Pacific. We even saw some dolphins! These guys swam all around us for about 5 minutes playing and jumping. This picture’s a little blurry, but you can see the dolphin just under the surface at the bow of the boat. 

 We also did some snorkeling and SUP boarding from the catamaran when we stopped for lunch.

 Our last big adventure was a scuba diving trip! Tony went off with some French tourists while Robyn and I stayed with the instructor for a discover dive (since we’re not certified). He snapped one good picture of himself before he busted our underwater camera by going too deep!  

 The highlight of the dive was the shark! I remember my friend, Gemma, going on a shark dive on St. Martin and saying they were too fascinating to be scary when you’re underwater. Now I know what she meant! 

Now, in case you’re worried that we spent too much time being adventurous and not enough time relaxing, don’t be! We built in several days at the beach and evenings in the pool at our rental house. I even got up and did some yoga on the deck a few times. I must say, that is the way to start a morning!   

 And we ate! Boy, did we eat well! Every place we went was delicious, from the fancy resort restaurant in the next bay over to the hole-in-the-wall soda serving traditional (typical) meals. I took pictures of some of the signs to help us rememberr the places we ate.  These are just a few of them:

1

 Costa Rica was a great trip. The people we met were all very friendly, and we always felt safe. It was nice to share this delightful place with friends!

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