January 28-Jan 31
1/28/12 - 1/31/12 82 °F
My good friend Christel from California and I had a great trip ahead of us. Next to Tony, she is my favorite travel buddy and I have known her for years. We headed off to Costa Rica but not without a quick stop at Miami International airport for conch fritters! On the flight down we watched the sun set over the ocean and looked forward to the bliss of being away and just enjoying the moment.
We landed closer to the Pacific side of Costa Rica. At the Liberia airport we quickly met our driver who about an hour later dropped us off at our hotel Hotel Zullymar in downtown Tamarindo. As he drove, he mentioned that the "fiestas" were going this weekend on in a town nearby and that we may want to come back and celebrate with the locals. After checking in and dropping off our bags we were ready to hit the beach. It was already night so we had a very romantic lobster dinner (where's Tony when you need him?) on the beach. As we leisurely ate and drank out cocktails we noticed that over the course of a couple of hours we had inadvertently watched our first moonset!?! The moon was half-full and high up in the sky when we first started eating and we watched it set on the horizon around 11pm---it looked like an orange boat out there on the water and we watched in disbelief as it slowly disappeared beneath the horizon. Pretty amazing. . we didn't even know Moonsets existed! Did you? Afterwards we went to a bar and relaxed for a little bit before heading to bed.
We were awoken by the sound of tropical bird calls just outside our window that first morning in Costa Rica---aaaahh so nice to be away. We ate brunch while watching a pair of parakeets playing in the trees on the beach. Afterwards we went for a walk along the water’s edge, carefully stepping over tide pools until we arrived at Playa Langosta. This is the place to go if you want to have a romantic getaway without the craziness of Tamarindo which is a party and surf town. On our walk back we spotted so many pretty birds, it was difficult to count them all. That night we caught the local bus to a town called Jaucas for the Fiestas de Santa Cruz. We enjoyed some of the local cuisine. It was everything we hoped for and then some—bullfights, rodeo, folk dancing and marimba music. The night ended with one of the nicest fireworks shows ever—they seemed to go on forever! That night we went out to a locals spot (Pacifico) and made some new friends including Christian, and many Ticos (local Costa Ricans) who wanted to teach us to surf. . it was a late night of dancing and chatting it up. . I think we got home at about 4am!? That night we learned a saying in Costa Rica: Pura Vida which translates to "Pure Life" but really means something along the lines of "full of life, or this is living"!
When we woke up the next morning it was almost noon! We knew we wanted to go check out some of the snorkeling and other beaches today. We opted to take a tour on a catamaran out to the other beaches. We went with a company called The Lazy Lizard—boy are we glad that we did. It wasn’t cheap, about $75 but it would be about 5-6 hours and included unlimited alcohol, lunch and snorkeling and kayaking gear. Totally worth it! The crew was amazing—super nice, and helpful; we loved everyone, especially Ryan with his silly mustache. We both went snorkeling first; it was Christel’s first time in about 20 years so she was nervous but got the hang of it pretty quick. I got to go sea kayaking and our guide had found a baby octopus. He brought it back to the boat and Christel and I both were feeling adventurous. . probably from all the delicious rum punch and decided to try and hold this live octopus. Just look at our faces. . yes it is just as creepy as it sounds. In terms of what it felt like. . . the inspiration for suction cups must have been octopus tentacles! On the ride back we got the gorgeous view at sunset with the sky changing too many colors to count. That night we had to celebrate because it would be our last night in Tamarindo. We met up with Christian and went to Aqua for another late night of dancing.
The next morning we were very sad to be leaving Tamarindo because it had been an absolute blast. We wish we had a couple more days of beach time but we were moving on to a different kind of fun. The lunch we had that day was amazing—the nachos were seriously the best I’ve ever had, everything was made from scratch. We relaxed and enjoyed our last day at the beach while watching paddle surfers on the water. Our ride picked us up at 1pm and we were off to Monteverde.
We didn’t know what we were in store for . . . the ride was long, bumpy and dusty. . almost 5 hours even with air conditioning it wasn’t exactly comfortable. It was worth it for the views as we went over mountain passes and appreciated panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. At around 6pm that night we arrived at Poco a Poco hotel in the Monteverde region. What a great hotel! Had all the amenities one could want including free WiFi and super close to everything.
We were pretty exhausted but I really wanted to check out the tree frogs so Christel and I walked out in the WINDY, cold weather, just a block or so to the frog exhibit and saw some of the most beautiful frogs ever. Night time is the best time to go because most of the frogs are nocturnal and sleeping during the day. I finally saw a glass frog which was elusive in the Ecuadorian Amazon, their bellies are translucent so you can see their internal organs!
We ate dinner at Amigos (a local recommendation), delicious garlic tilapia and tortilla soup was perfect. We were exhausted and headed back to the hotel. We were on the top floor and that night was a little difficult to sleep because the wind was blowing so hard it felt like the roof was about to fly off. Apparently, it is always cold with really strong winds in the Monteverde area—be sure to bring a warm, waterproof coat =)