Destination: Costa Rica

Thank you to Stephanie of Squishy Couture for today’s blog post!  (click on photos to enlarge)
steph

Part 1: As I sat down to write this, I realized I’m far too passionate about this country to fit my whole trip into one post. Check back next month for the rest!

The day I got my passport was one of the most exciting of my life. It was my key to the world. I was fortunate enough to use it for the first time in beautiful Costa Rica. For 6 months we saved every single penny we could get our hands on. I learned everything I could about the place, and fell in love with the country’s motto, Pura Vida, which literally translates to Pure Life. It is used as a greeting and a way of life.

flight

When we left Charlotte it was about 40 degrees. We arrived in the beautiful capital city of San Jose where we promptly shed our winter clothes to accommodate the tropical weather.

We hopped in our tiny egg of a rental car and set off on what should have been a 4 hour drive through rainforest, past banana plantations, and finally to Punta Uva which is located just outside of Puerto Viejo. It is only because of my superior map skills and ability to spot covered road signs that we made it out of San Jose. After a whopping 8 hours of torrential downpours, pitch black roads with potholes as big as our car, and a questionable dinner of meat on a stick, we made it.

car

Waking up the next morning made it all worth it. The sounds of the tropics are like nothing I’ve experienced before, and the beach was a mere 50 feet from our doorstep. There is absolutely nothing that makes me happier than the ocean, and the next week was pure bliss. We were lucky enough to find an extremely affordable and awesome house on Craigslist. The woman who owns it is so kind (and lucky!) and could easily charge triple what she does. We enjoyed it immensely. We quickly learned that the water in the shower came from a tank heated by the sun. We shared a room with a couple feisty geckos, and I grew pretty fond of the little guys by the end. The corners of the house literally opened up to the ocean. Just stunning.

collage1

We explored the post card worthy beach, and found stunning seashells I thought could only be purchased in stores. I am never happier than when I have my toes in the sand. We spent hours exploring miles of beach, and laying around soaking up the sun and the view.

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Most nights we drove to nearby Puerto Viejo for dinner in one of the many open air restaurants. The food is amazing and cheap. Meals are slow and laid back. You can’t go in a hurry, but why would you want to? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, it’s all super fresh, organic and flavorful. You’ve never lived until you’ve had veggies freshly picked from the restaurant’s organic garden when you order. We came across the sweetest old man selling fresh fruit on the side of the road. He promptly picked up a coconut, hacked off the top with a giant machete, and handed it to me with a straw. I never wanted to leave. The bakery had the best fresh bread and muffins. We got a whole French loaf, and two muffins for $1. Amazing. To this day my favorite breakfast is something I had at a little open air restaurant. Fried eggs with a black bean puree (basically refried black beans) and chorizo. Pure heaven.

collage3

We paid a whopping $10 total to rent two bicycles for 3 days. About 10 minutes after we got them, I fell off of mine into a watery ditch that I’m sure was snake infested. Not sure what happened…just fell over! I laughed until I cried, and was teased for needing training wheels. We rode our bikes back and forth between Punta Uva and Puerto Viejo, and to our next excursion…the Jaguar Rescue center.

Don’t forget to check back next month for the rest of the trip. The best is yet to come!

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