Costa Rica 1.2017

If you’ve seen any of my personal travel posts before you know I leave all my equipment at home. Total slacker. These are 90% from my phone, or my little Fuji that I love for travel. So, don’t be hatin’ on a photographer that leaves basically all my photography stuff behind. A girl needs a vaca, from all of it. :) Secondly – I blog this mostly for my Mom and Aunt Denise (shout out!) to see, and for myself to look at later when I’m in the middle of busy season and haven’t shaved my legs in awhile. I don’t expect too many to dig through all of this, but if you’re here – WELCOME – and I hope it inspires you, even just a little bit.

Costa Rica was  awesome, PURA VIDA! It was adventurous and rural for the most part, and just the way I like it.  (Nothing makes me more angry than to go on vacay and see a freakin’ Michael Kors on every corner – I mean – how I am suppose to become one with nature and meditate and shit with that foulness around.) This was my first vacation I booked on Groupon (gasps!) and I’ll most certainly be doing it again. We spent 1/2 our budget and did everything we wanted. WHY HAVEN’T I DONE THIS BEFORE?!

Things I loved: It was truly authentic. Wildlife was everywhere. Beyond gorgeous and diverse. They keep their country clean, the locals were amazingly friendly. Never once did I feel uncertain.
Things I recommend: brushing up on your Spanish or ready with a translator app, lots of comfy clothes, good day pack and supplies, good shoes for water/hike, lots of sunscreen. Get the wifi when you rent a car (wifi is iffy and limited in some places) It’s a comfy country that you need to just get out and explore.
Things I less than loved: The roads were well maintained everywhere we went, but the drivers are in a hurry. Beware. *cue Fast and the Furious or Grand Theft Auto*

We stayed in different parts of the country (it’s about 1/2 the size of Kentucky) and had a car the whole week so drove it all ourselves (by that I mean Kelly drove. God bless if that was me behind the wheel). The drives were long in between our locations (3-4ish hours) and GORGEOUS. They were also slightly terrifying. Hairpin curves on mountains, and Costa Rican drivers are in a hurry. They pass on the left and right and motorcycles are plentiful. They are the bravest people on earth, I’m sure of it. There was so much you couldn’t photograph, even with a phone. So, I did a lot of just ‘seeing it with my eyes’ and just soaking it all in. Favorites were seeing Macaws and Toucans flying over and landing in a tree close to a pool were we in. With drinks and no cameras. I stared hard so I’d remember after realizing it was real and I wasn’t drunk seeing things. ;)

We stayed in La Fortuna for 3 days, right at the base of a volcano and 15 minutes from this gorgeous waterfall. We toured this area on our own, and it was awesome. We got really lucky and had some clear skies to see the top of the volcano, which doesn’t happen very often. Yay for fortunate timing!

A grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus. A RAINBOW TREE GUYS.

Arenal Volcano – which heats hot springs all over. Awesome to sit it water heated by this big guy!

This area of the country has tons of farmland. Surprised to see as many cows as I do at home. But these were obviously exotic. Costa Rican Cow must be far more interesting than one in KY, right? Tons of coffee, pineapple, bananas, plantain mangroves everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Eye candy. Many off the side of the road you couldn’t stop at, again ‘seeing with your eyes only’ moment.

Me turning 35. Not going to complain about it. :) Day drinking and naps. Then we explored the town of La Fortuna. Not disappointing.

^^Passing on a curve. On the side of a mountain. #jesustakethewheel

Three hour drive to Manuel Antonio, on the Pacific Coast. We stayed here for 3 days in a treehouse. How fun is that! Walking to and from it have my calf muscles looking on point. Kelly’s first time touching this ocean!
Manuel Antonio National Park. WHERE I FINALLY SAW A SLOTH IN THE WILD. We parked, hired a guide outside of that park (for about 1/2 what the park costs). It was just Kelly and I with him and he spotted out so many things I’d never see on my own. Highly recommend doing this. We hired Crocodile Dundee (I seriously loved him so much) for the next morning as well for a boat ride down a river. Cue Monkey selfies. Also, yes. That is a photo of monkey balls.

See the guy fishing off the rock up there? We hiked and climbed a lot. Don’t come here without a good daypack and a pair of Keens.

I swear to god I’ve never seen this guy smile so big. Monkeys on heads will do that to ya, even on my darling bear of a husband. :)

This guy was a baby and so close. This was a big moment for me, obviously. ha!
I didn’t see the first chain or box store until we drove to San Jose. We only stayed in the city for one night, which was perfect. It went from jungle to fancy in about 2 hours. Crazy the difference. And while I enjoy the city, I’ll take the jungle any day of the week over it.

So, that’s it. It is definitely a place I’d go again and recommend to anyone that’s looking for something other than the same ole, same ole. The only place I’ve been I loved more than this is Belize, and I doubt that trip could ever be topped. Thumbs up from me, and if you’ve read this far (bless you!) I hope you’re inspired to go somewhere new. Even if it’s a street, or a part of town you haven’t driven down before. Burst outta the bubble.

Hugs and love to you, and until our next adventure, cheers!

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