I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When life gives you lemons or a traffic jam....you may get to see a cool volcano!

We have been in Costa Rica now for 2 weeks. This is a place that never ceases to amaze me. I always look forward to being here. The perfect weather, sun, surf, and some of the nicest people anywhere. What more could I ask for? The pace here is so slow, and really speaks to my “hippie” spirit. My inner soul that loves a slow, casual, “don’t sweat the small stuff” kind of life. Our time here is mostly spent being in the ocean, surfing, boogie boarding, hiking some awesome rain forests, Yoga, barefoot running, and some fantastic meditation time. The last time we were here, we tried…..tried to make our way from the Central Pacific Coast of Esterillos Oeste, to the Caribbean Sea on the other side of the country. Looking at a map, this seems a very simple task, by our American standards. About a 5-6 hour drive, heading thru the capital city, out the other side, and onto the “highway” to Limon. The first time we tried this, we drove around the city of San Jose for 2 hours, before aborting mission. Roads we thought were on the map, were not, roads that showed up in front of us, were not on the map, and no street signs. Nada! We were determined this time to make our way. And again this country taught us a good lesson in patience. Even though I love the slow pace of this amazing country….this started to try even my wonderful patience. Luckily, a friend of ours here, gave us great directions to Limon. And even with those, we were looking at one another constantly, and saying, “Is this the right way?....Couldn’t be!” Crazy, tiny, narrow lanes to turn down, unreal traffic, into “unsavory” parts of town. Looking for this Highway. Well, we should know by now, “highway” here is not “highway” there. We finally knew we were on the right track, and the drive was GORGEOUS!! Through some of the most beautiful rainforest anywhere. Huge, amazing waterfalls everywhere. The only thing, we were sharing this tiny, barely 2 lane highway, with big semi drivers, crazy Tico’s that drive fast, and make passing one another a sport. They don’t have any problem, making one lane into three, so they can pass one another. They are not doing this in a mean-spirited way at all. And will often, honk and wave during passing. People walking or riding bicycles with sometimes 3 on a bike, Dad, Mom, son, and sometimes, baby. Also, darting over HUGE, deep potholes, that could have swallowed our miniature sized SUV Terios. It reminded me of Mister Toad’s Wild Ride. At one point, we were cruising along, and everyone started stopping and slowing down in front of us. Seems as though 4-5 semi drivers needed to relieve themselves. They stopped traffic, hopped out, had a good pee, a quick conversation, and hopped back into their trucks, and we were all off again. Could you imagine that happening in the States?
We finally made it to Limon, and then down to Puerto Viejo. What a great little Caribbean town. Completely different from the Pacific side. Like a whole other country. A very Rasta/Jamaican feel. A different dialect and different people. This town was full of fun, backpackers, and beatniks. We met a guy from MN that opened the coolest coffee shop, with some of the best coffee I have ever tasted. The first night, we found a little bungalow, near the beach, and just out of the downtown area. No glass windows just screened in to allow the Caribbean breeze to blow through. We ate amazing seafood (yes, even me the Vegan….I couldn’t resist) bought some very cool things, and just hung out with all the other happy, backpackers. The second night we found a great little hostel owned by a little, old, German couple. Same thing, full of pack packers, a shared kitchen, and bath. All outdoor eating, open windows, mosquito nets over the bed, and hammocks everywhere, which we really enjoyed. Especially Alli. =)Could we have stayed in a hotel and not a hostel, sure, but to me this is sometimes the best way to meet the coolest people, mix with some locals, and really see the true-ness of a country. Not being "locked down" into a resort. We did a fantastic hike in Cahuita National Rainforest, played in the ocean, and just enjoyed the vibe in this little part of Costa Rica. We saw Pizotes (Coatimundi's), monkeys, and Toucans. The day came for us to leave. We took off out of town, headed back towards San Jose. About 2 hours out of Limon, we could see lines of cars, trucks, motorcycles on the highway. Tico’s hangin’ out.. talking. We drove into the mass of cars, and sat. And sat. Finally Greg decided that we were going to drive to the front of the line where the policia were standing and blocking the traffic. Turns out, there was a huge mudslide somewhere on the road through the rainforest, THE DAY BEFORE. Had these people been waiting, hanging out and talking since yesterday? Some, possibly. The people here have no issue doing that. Everything is ok, and in no hurry. No one was angry, or honking, just sitting, smiling, talking…. We asked to drive up to the Areal Tram for the rainforest and they allowed us. We got up there, about another 10k, and found a great guy to help us maybe find another way through to the city. He took our map, showed us another way, and off we went. Turning on another road to take us around the rainforest, and back into San Jose. About an hour and ½ on this road….you guessed it, road is blocked. Big line of cars, trucks, everyone out of their cars chit chatting. We went up and talked to the guy ahead of us. Accident. Truck VS motorcycle, and they were waiting for the policia, which we knew, and he confirmed, “could take hours” He said, he knew a back way. Ok, now, I am very trustworthy, sometimes to a fault, but I kept thinking, “should we do this?” Of course we should!!! Why not?? Off we went, following a Tico and his wife out on a dirt, farm road for a good hour at least. I am having flashes of the movie Turista. These sweet, innocent, helpful, people are driving us out into the middle of NOWHERE, to what? I was very happy when we saw the main road, and were able to avoid hours sitting waiting for the polica. At this point the man told us he was only going so far, and was going to be turning off for his home destination, and he could point us in the right direction. Turns out, when we got to the turn in Aguas Zarcas, I looked at Greg and said, “I have been here before” We were close, about 2 hours from La Fortuna, and Volcano Arenal. The kids and I have hiked this active volcano before, but Greg hasn’t. Lets go!! So off to La Fortuna we went, spent the night, hiked the volcano, although unfortunately she would not show off her lava flowing top, because of clouds, it was still a beautiful hike. We left to drive home, fed some Pizotes on the way, which we had known were there, and stopped to get bread for. Stopped at our little German Bakery, that we love, and headed back to home in Esterillos. I laugh about this trip. (and every trip we have taken in this country) Patience is a fantastic virtue here and anywhere really. But you really learn good patience in another country. The ability to make the most out of every situation is a wonderful souvenir. When life gives you lemons or a traffic jam….you may get to see a cool volcano. To be able to adapt to everything, is a great gift. To take the road less traveled, head out on a limb… that is where the good, unexpected fruit is. You just never know what exciting adventure lies before you!! Pura Vida!


  1. A perfectly wonderful trip! Ah, pura vida! We have learned living here that if you make definite plans then they will definitely change. It's better to have ideas and just go with the flow. I am so glad you guys are having a great time!

  2. Paula, I want to go on vacation with your family. This sounds like my kind of vacation. So glad you all had a great time and thank you for sharing. I think this is going on my bucket list! It just sounds so wonderful!