WOW!! What a whirling, twirling, month it has been for us!!
Costa Rica was amazing!! We had a lot of great adventures in the three weeks we were there. A few, of course, completely unplanned. One day, we set off early for a trip to Villa Vanilla. An hours drive south, and onto a tiny dirt road, to a Spice Farm. We had heard great things about the tour, and were excited to check it out. We left from our cabina with plenty of time to make the trip south. But as things go in this gorgeous little country, we became lost. Getting lost in Costa Rica has become a habit for us. And after the first time we were there, 4 years ago, we have become accustomed, to this ritual. At first it tried our patience, but since, has taught us a lot about “going with the flow” and to always see the good in situations, because you just never know what extraordinary things can come out of them.
So we are lost, but fortunately figure it out soon enough, to turn around, make it back to the road we missed, and get to the spice plantation RIGHT at the start of the tour at 9am, which proved to be another road block. We didn’t have a reservation??? And didn’t have quite enough colones for the tour, just shy. Which means we had to drive all the way back out to get to an ATM. The 1pm tour was full, as were the 2 the next day…BUST! (We will get to the tour next time, for sure) So…we left. Sad that we were not able to take in the spice plantation. Sooo, Greg mentions wanting to hike to a waterfall that the kids and I had hiked to in the past, when he had to leave to come back to the States, and the kids and I stayed an extra 3 weeks. O….K….this place, IF I can even remember how to get there, was just as far north as we had come south from our village. Off we went. I am scouring the road for the tiny, little, handwritten sign, that says “Waterfall” I am pretty sure I remember the general vicinity where the turn off was. ??? So when I see a tiny sign, we think it is it! Off the road we go, in search of the infamous waterfall.
**Side note: When the kids and I found this place, it was completely by chance. Took the dirt road, followed the sign that ended us at a tiny little house, in someone’s yard. A sweet Tico man approached us and I asked him if he knew where the waterfall was? “Aqui’! Bienvenidos!!” (Here…welcome!) So…my little troopers and I paid him a parking fee to park in the yard, and he pointed us in the direction of a footpath through his beautiful garden, and off we went. The trail was long, and a few times I felt like I was leading my kids into a sequel of the movie, Turistas! But, it worked out amazingly, and we found the most spectacular waterfall we had ever seen.
So, we are driving, and driving, and driving, down this rutted, rocky, dirt road, looking for this little house….which we never found, BUT, by some sort of miracle, did end up at a place, that a man stopped us to ask if we wanted to hike to
Off we went, onto the trail. We hiked through some of the most thick, dense, rainforest. It was so hot, and sticky. High humidity! Just the type of air that you could scoop into your hand. We made it to a few picinas, or swimming pools, but still could not see the falls….finally, about an hour and a half in, we hear it! Then as we round a bend, BAM there it is. This magnificent waterfall. About 600-700 feet high! We all just stood, and stared, just taken aback by this wonder. We hiked to the base, and was cooled by the mist coming from the bottom. It was like we had struck gold!
We swam in the pools, and the water felt like Heaven after being so hot and sticky. We laughed about how our day had started. Thinking, like anything in Costa Rica….plans change, but usually better ones fall into place. When we left, we had a long drive home, which was graced by one of the most beautiful sunsets we had seen on this trip. All sunsets to me are outstanding, but some more than others. The sun going down over the ocean, on this day, was remarkable. It is always an image that I burn into my mind. That I allow simmering there, for the day when I need to sit, quietly, in the cold, gray of winter, and bring it back to life in my head. This particular sunset was the one for me. So even though our original plans for the day fell through, I was grateful, for this moment. Had we been anywhere else, but right there, at that moment, we would’ve missed it. What a gift.
The rest of our time there, we traveled to Playa Dominical, Quepos, Manuel Antonio, did some surfing (well Greg did. This just wasn’t my surfing trip this time??!!??) Playa Blanca and San Isidro, which was a breathtaking drive.
** San Isidro de El General is a key transportation and farming center in the valley, and is the largest town in this region. Lying just a few minutes away from the Pan-American Highway on the slopes of the Talamanca Mountains. While traveling en route to San Isidro de El General on the Pan-American Highway, one has to pass the dangerous and treacherous Cerro de la Muerte or Mountain of Death. The highest point in Costa Rica at an altitude of over 3,300m (10,824-ft.), this mountain pass offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas and valley below.
We also had a lot of lazy days in the hammock, in the ocean, and on the beaches. Searched for shells, sea glass, and sand dollars. Greg surfed in Esterillos Este’ which is south of our village. Pristine cocoa powder beaches, without another soul to be seen!!
We had our fun nights at The Low Tide, for the Full Moon Party (the crazy moon night) which there…up against the ocean, with the moon so close, it looked like daytime!
Full moon!! (Greg looks like he is standing in the sunlight)
Me surfing at Manuel Antonio (HaHa)
Playa Esterillos Oeste
At "No Worries"
Happy Birthday, to my birthday boy!!
We toasted and danced our butts off with friends for Greg’s birthday….what a way to spend a birthday. I HIGHLY recommend it. We ate at a lot of fabulous restaurants, heard some amazing bands play, and tried various new fruits, that tasted like candy.
The whole trip was, as always, unforgettable.
We flew home after 3 weeks in Costa Rica, unpacked and packed again in 36 hours, and left for Las Vegas, for my birthday…also a HIGHLY recommended way to spend a birthday.
We met friends, who met us at the door of Caesars with HUGE drinks a yard long! What a way to start a Friday afternoon!
Heading to lounge by the pool!
Alica & I goofing on the mile-long escalator.
Looking pretty good at breakfast after a late night!
In the Mall
Dinner at Zeffirino
At The Venetian
Bellagio fountains were spectacular
New York, New York
Outside of the Wynn
We ate at sensational restaurants, saw Zumanity (speechless) danced until dawn one night with some of the Greenbay Packers…!!!! Broke shoes, people watched, lounged by the hot, sunny pools, SHOPPED, and SHOPPED, fed a wee amount of money into some loud, and unforgiving, and, might I add, unloving slot machines, did I mention, shopped?? Laughed our crazy, butts off with friends, drank copious amounts of margaritas, martinis, and wine, snuck for free into night clubs, trashed out feet with unrelenting high heels, and a few other precarious, debaucherous, scandalous, things that I won’t mention for fear of seizure or detainment at the border the next time we all try and leave the country! HAHA! Needless to say, the trip will be memorable. And when our flight took off Monday night to come home, I thought I had never tasted anything as sweet, as sleep…even on the airplane.
Now, back to life…back to reality. Back to running, and training, back to treating my body well, back to our peaceful home, and our routine.
There is always something about coming home, especially after being gone a month. There truly is no place like home!